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Grant Achatz Wonders Why People Steal Alinea's Napkins

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Photo: joh_0197 / Flickr

Everyone wants a piece of that Grant Achatz magic: it seems that his Chicago restaurant Alinea is losing an average of three custom embroidered napkins a night thanks to sticky fingered customers. Tweeted Achatz over the weekend: "Why do ppl steal our napkins? Three a night.... These are adults." (Babies may cause problems at Alinea, but thievery is not one of them, it seems.)

Achatz got his answer. One Alinea diner admitted: "I'm sorry but I have to admit I took one from the bathroom too. Had it framed along with the menu you signed." Another offered to pay for "the bathroom napkin I took. Where should I send the check to?" Several people suggested Achatz either sell or give away napkins as mementos.

But the restaurant has good reason for wanting to hang onto them: apparently they are tricky to acquire. Made of Irish linen, the custom orders "[take] 4-6 months to receive. Last time customs held it up 45 days. Cost $9 for the bathroom naps $14 for table naps," tweeted Achatz.

That said, the napkins are a steal compared to other things Achatz has said get stolen from the restaurant. Back in 2011, he told Eater Chicago that designer Martin Kastner's custom pieces for the restaurant have a tendency to go missing, "including cork presenters, 'eyes' and anti plates, glass tubes, and the grand daddy of them all—a very, very heavy marble candle holder." And then of course there's the infamous (and heavily contested) incident from Achatz's memoir Life on the Line that insists restaurant critic John Mariani took a wine list in "a hand-made, one-of-four stainless steel binder." All things considered, maybe a $9 napkin isn't so bad?

· @gachatz [Twitter]
· All Grant Achatz Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Shit People Steal Coverage on Eater [-E-]

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