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Mar 19, 2011 10:54 PM

I read the boards about Schwa and it happened to me...

My daughter and I had a little vacation planned to "eat" Chicago. I had reservations at both Alinea and Schwa for Friday the 18th of March and thought we'd enjoy Schwa more based on the atmosphere and what I've read about restaurant. So I canceled Alinea a couple weeks before. Schwa called to confirm the reservations the day before. Then 1 hour before our reservation on Friday they called and said they had to cancel because of "sewer" problems.

I was a little upset because I've heard on this forum it's happened to other people. Also if you have sewer problems wouldn't you think that you would know earlier in the day considering they'd need to start prepping before 4pm. When I told the guy who called to cancel that we had chosen Schwa over Alinea, I could hear Chef Carlson say in the background, "well Alinea is the best restaurant in the world... " They offered to call Alinea but I didn't bring a jacket because we didn't plan on eating there. Plus if I wanted to eat there I would of kept my reservation.

I was just glad I didn't waste money on the bottle of 15yr old Pappy Van Winkle I was going to buy for the Chefs before they canceled. I'm also glad the tasting menu at Graham Elliot's made me forget how pissed I was Schwa had "sewer" problems...

Graham Elliot's was da bomb... want to take family and friends back. Everthing was amazing

1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

Graham Elliot
217 W. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60654

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  1. You cancelled a reservation at Alinea??? Even AFTER reading about how Schwa does this a lot??? Wow. Sorry to hear about it...

    1. it looks like you might have been bumped for patton oswalt

      1 Reply
      1. re: PorkyBelly

        It appears from your link that he was there on Thursday and not Friday.

      2. I have reservations there on Saturday and will cry if they get cancelled. I don't know where I'm going to go if they do cancel.

        It's terrible that I actually have to worry about this but I'm hoping the food will be worth it.

        6 Replies
        1. re: klebb

          >> I have reservations there on Saturday and will cry if they get cancelled. I don't know where I'm going to go if they do cancel.

          Most of the high-end restaurants, with the notable exceptions of Alinea and Schwa, accept reservations on What's nice about the Opentable website is that you can make reservations even at the last minute, and with a few clicks of your computer keyboard, you can display all openings at 600+ restaurants in Chicagoland for whatever time you want.

          As of right now, availability is wide open for this Saturday night at Everest. Obviously this can change between now and then, but it's not a bad place for a fallback.

          1. re: nsxtasy

            Everest is such a different experience from Schwa. Hardly even in the same world. And while the food is wonderful, the service can be as iffy as Schwa.

            1. re: chicgail

              Everest looks great but I'm really looking for food that is unique/exciting that I can't get anywhere near me such as Schwa offers. I'm not sure what my back-up will be if they do cancel; maybe Bonsoirre.

              I really wish I had been able to talk my wife into Alinea, but I guess that will be an experience for another weekend.

              1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

              1. re: klebb

                Bonsoiree is a wonderful option. Small. Creative. Thoughtful food. But not nearly as quirky (and I mean that in both senses of the word) as Schwa. Personally, I think it's one of the most underrated restaurants on this board. Which is fine with me. Makes it easier to get in.

                2728 W Armitage, Chicago, IL 60647

                1. re: klebb

                  Well, if Schwa cancels on you and you still want a nice, interesting dinner that night, you will need to go elsewhere - somewhere that you can get in at the last minute. You probably aren't going to be able to pick and choose, especially if it's on a weekend. So it's not going to be someplace that's exactly like Schwa, and it's probably not going to be your second, third, or fourth choices. You will only be able to choose from whatever is still available at that point.

                  As I mentioned, Opentable is a good way to identify availability at lots of places in under a minute. If you're from out of town and staying at a nice hotel with a concierge, asking the concierge is another way to find what's available at the last minute. Sometimes a concierge can make a reservation at a place that tells the public they're full.

                  1. re: klebb

                    For interesting you might want to look at Grahm Elliot, Moto or Omar's new spot ING. Can't report on the food, but I think it falls under "unique/exciting."

                    Moto Restaurant
                    945 W Fulton, Chicago, IL 60607