Nick Kokonas is a renowned entrepreneur, restaurateur, investor, and philanthropist best known for his involvement in the modern restaurant industry. He co-founded The Alinea Group, a hospitality company that includes the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Alinea, Next, and Roister in Chicago, Illinois.
Kokonas was born in Athens, Greece, in 1981 and moved to the United States with his family at a young age. After graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in economics, he had a successful career on Wall Street as a trader at Salomon Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch. However, he eventually decided to pursue his passion for the culinary arts and embarked on a career change.
In 2005, Kokonas founded the Alinea Group with his business partner, Chef Grant Achatz. The company opened its flagship restaurant, Alinea, in 2006. Alinea quickly gained international attention for its cutting-edge cuisine, inventive plating techniques, and culinary artistry. It was awarded three Michelin Stars in 2011, becoming the first restaurant in Chicago to receive this honor.
The Alinea Group has since opened several other restaurants, including Next, Roister, and The Aviary, a cocktail bar. It has also launched the Alinea Project, a culinary research and development laboratory. In addition, Kokonas was named an Outstanding Restaurateur by the James Beard Foundation in 2017.
Kokonas has also served as an advisor and investor in numerous other ventures, including the software company Tock and the meal delivery service Deliveroo. In addition, he is a strong advocate for hospitality startups and a public speaker and author of “The Tock Book,” a guide to restaurant ticketing systems.
Kokonas is an active philanthropist, donating to charities such as the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Children’s Memorial Hospital. He is also a passionate advocate for education reform and is currently working on projects to improve public school systems in the United States.
Nick Kokonas is a successful and inspiring entrepreneur, restaurateur, investor, and philanthropist. His dedication, creativity, and business acumen have helped shape the modern restaurant industry and have earned him numerous accolades, including the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Restaurateur Award.