A Chicago restaurateur’s offer to treat the Clemson Tigers has divided Twitter, with some calling the gesture an ‘opportunistic stunt’.
But others, including a McDonald’s chef and a Clemson player, have come to Nick Kokonas’ defense after he reached out to the college football national champions.
Kokonas, co-owner of the Alinea Group, decided to invite the players for a feast at some of his acclaimed restaurants after Donald Trump fed them fast food.
The president proudly proclaimed he had spent thousands on Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonald’s, and Domino’s Pizza for the players on Monday because the White House’s caterers weren’t working during his ongoing government shutdown.
‘I could care less about college football. But I’m personally inviting the Clemson Tigers team and coaches to Chicago to experience what an actual celebration dinner should be,’ Kokonas tweeted on Tuesday night.
Chicago restaurateur Nick Kokonas’ offer to feed the Clemson Tigers has divided Twitter, with some calling the gesture an ‘opportunistic stunt’
Kokonas, co-owner of the Alinea Group, decided to invite the players for a meal at some of his acclaimed restaurants after Donald Trump fed them fast food
‘I’m not joking. Someone let them know what The Alinea Group does. It’ll be worth it @ClemsonTigers.’
The Alinea Group includes the restaurants Alinea, Next, Roister and The Aviary. Alinea has three Michelin stars, the most that can be awarded to a restaurant.
Alinea’s chef, Grant Achatz, has been called one of the world’s most influential and had an entire episode devoted to his career on the second season of Chef’s Table.
‘It’s not about football. It’s about dignity, honor, and example,’ Kokonas explained in a separate tweet.
‘This is about showing them how a proper celebration looks in adulthood. And fun too.’
But some were unimpressed with Kokonas’ offer, believing that the football players would have far preferred to eat $4 Big Macs.
The president proudly proclaimed he had spent thousands on Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonald’s, and Domino’s Pizza for the players due to the fact the White House caterers weren’t working during his ongoing government shutdown
A Clemson player carries fast food hamburgers as the 2018 national champions are welcomed in the State Dining Room of the White House on Monday
‘HA! Owner of @Alinea in Chicago (used to be a big deal fancy restaurant) thinks football players would have rather eaten there than Big Macs in the White House,’ tweeted Kevin DuJan, who describes himself as a ‘deplorable’ on his Twitter bio.
‘Clearly they have never met football players,’ he continued. ‘Those guys don’t want micro portion gastronomy.’
Erick Rivera claimed that Kokonas’ gesture was ‘opportunistic’.
‘Based off the pictures on @Aliena Twitter page the Clemson players ate better at the White House,’ he added.
‘Gross and opportunistic restaurant using those boys for free PR,’ one critic quipped.
‘Sure they would go to McDonald’s after to get real food,’ another added.
Some were unimpressed with Kokonas’ offer, believing that the Clemson Tigers – being football players – would have far preferred to eat $4 Big Macs
But others rose to Kokonas’ defense, including McDonald’s Chef Mike Haracz.
‘Whoa…my dinner at Alinea was one of the greatest dining experiences I have ever enjoyed,’ he tweeted.
‘This is the first time I’ve ever wanted to be on a football team,’ added Scott Heimendinger.
‘Hey guys – go! Go! GO!’ advised Logan Guleff, who won Masterchef Junior in 2014.
While Kokonas said he hasn’t received official word from the team on the offer, offensive lineman Justin Falcinelli revealed he was more than happy to accept.
‘Idk about anyone else but you let me know when and I’m there,’ he tweeted at Kokonas.
While Kokonas said he hasn’t received official word from the team on the offer, offensive lineman Justin Falcinelli revealed he was more than happy to accept
The restaurateur has since revealed more details about the feast he would like to serve the boys, and he promises it won’t include the small portions that many fine dining establishments are famous for serving.
Kokonas said the dinner would likely begin at Roister Restaurant, where menu items include a $58 22oz prime rib, an $88 duck platter, or a $115 7oz A-5 Japanese Wagyu.
‘I don’t think you need a 20-course sit-down formal meal for a celebration of a football team,’ Kokonas told the Chicago Tribune.
‘Some people on Twitter were saying “Oh, they’ll be hungry” and “It’ll be a hoity-toity meal” but no, it should be a celebration.’
And others rose to Kokonas’ defense, including McDonald’s Chef Mike Haracz and MasterChef Junior winner Logan Guleff
‘We know how to do it appropriately for the appropriate occasion,’ he continued. ‘Like maybe four or five suckling pigs roasted properly, and the Roister fried chicken.’
‘Then it would be nice to put them on all a bus and take them over to Alinea for a couple of signature desserts.’
Alinea has a number of desserts that have fueled its fame in the culinary world, including an edible work of art painted right on the dinner table and edible floating helium balloons that taste like green apple.
Kokonas said Clemson wouldn’t have to pay a dime for the meal, which he estimated would cost $3,000 just to pay for the vintage Champagne he would serve the coaches and players who were of age.
Kokonas said the dinner would likely begin at Roister Restaurant, where menu items include a $58 22oz prime rib, an $88 duck platter, or a $115 7oz A-5 Japanese Wagyu
Kokonas said one of the many dishes he would serve the team would be Roister’s famous fried chicken (pictured)
‘We’re not billionaires, but we can afford to do it the right way,’ he told the Tribune. ‘I’m trying to make it as nonpolitical as possible.’
‘For me, this isn’t about politics. It’s about something we can do to correct something I thought was just wrong. That’s it.’
Kokonas noted that he has no issue with fast food – he simply wanted to give the Clemson Tigers an experience they haven’t already had.
‘I like a burger as much as anyone else,’ he said. ‘At the end of the day, though, I’m betting they’ve had that, as football players, a thousand times.’
‘They already knew that pizza and McDonald’s and Wendy’s and Burger King existed. They probably have never experienced anything like what we could do for them.’
‘I just thought it would be fun. When you have a gift to give, the giving part is fun for us.’
Kokonas said he would then put the team on a bus to his restaurant Alinea, which has three Michelin stars, for ‘a couple of signature desserts’