CHICAGO – Following tweets by President Donald Trump about the celebratory dinner he hosted at the White House on January 14 for the 2019 College Football National Champion Clemson Tigers, Nick Kokonas, co-owner of Alinea, the top rated three-star Michelin restaurant, offered the team “an actual celebration dinner.”
Considered one of the best restaurants in the world, Alinea is the only restaurant in Chicago with the highest honor, three stars, in the Michelin Guide. Kokonas, posted his offer on Twitter on January 15 in response to tweets by President Trump about the White House dinner where fast food was served, reportedly due to the ongoing government shutdown. Trump paid for the fast food dinner himself, tweeting about the experience, “Great being with the National Champion Clemson Tigers last night at the White House. Because of the Shutdown I served them massive amounts of Fast Food (I paid), over 1000 hamburgers etc. Within one hour, it was all gone. Great guys and big eaters!”
Eater Chicago first reported Kokonas’ response. He tweeted, “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. I’m not joking. Someone let them know what The Alinea Group does. It’ll be worth it @ClemsonTigers.”
In response to the pro-fast food tweets which followed, Kokonas posted, “nothing wrong with fast food from time to time. But when you knock off a national championship, it’s time to teach our youth that there are experiences to strive for in life moving forward 🙂 Plus… in the white house? no.”
“These kids and coaches deserve better than cold fast food,” Kokonas wrote, Eater Chicago reported, adding that “Kokonas wasn’t the only one who’s offered Clemson another meal. Good Morning America host and former NFL player Michael Strahan and cookbook author Ayesha Curry, who’s also married to NBA all-star Steph Curry, made their own offers.”
After the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016, Kokonas noted that Alinea hosted a post-victory parade dinner for the team, Eater reported.
The Tigers might not actually be able to accept Kokonas’ offer due to the strict NCAA rules about student-athletes accepting gifts, Eater reported, adding that Kokonas is “aware of the NCAA’s authority and would seek its permission.”
At press time, the Clemson Tigers had not responded to Kokonas’ offer.
It should be noted that Alinea is also one of the most expensive restaurants in the United States with meals ranging in the hundreds of dollars per person while the White House fast food feast from McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Domino’s, according to the Washington Post’s estimate, likely cost Trump close to $3,000.