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Moto Restaurant Is Closing; Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas Will Take Over the Space

It's the end of an era in Chicago.

Moto Restaurant/Facebook

Moto Restaurant, the acclaimed Chicago eatery that was helmed by the late chef Homaro Cantu, is closing its doors. Katie McGowan, Cantu's wife and business partner, announced the news Friday evening. Alinea owners Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas are in the process of purchasing the space and will open a new restaurant.

"This bittersweet decision comes after deep reflection of the lasting impact my husband, the late Chef Homaro Cantu, made with his first restaurant," McGowan wrote in a prepared statement. "Looking to the future, I am pleased to have come to an agreement with Nick Kokonas, Grant Achatz and the Alinea Group. I am inspired by their innovation and pioneering spirit, and wish them all the best with their new project. I can't wait to see their vision and thank them for taking over the space as I begin a new chapter."

Cantu died at the age of 38 in Chicago last April, and his death was ruled a suicide by a local medical examiner. He was facing a lawsuit brought by a Moto investor, who claimed the chef owed back profits from Moto and had been using the restaurant's bank account for personal items. When the suit was filed, Cantu told Eater Chicago is was without merit.

Achatz and Kokonas own Alinea in Chicago, and they've been planning pop-ups in Miami and Madrid. Kokonas is the founder of Tock, the new ticketing system that is changing the way some restaurants take reservations. Achatz and Kokonas released a statement on Facebook.

Special announcement from The Alinea Group:

Posted by Alinea on Friday, January 22, 2016

Moto will close for good after dinner service on February 14. See McGowan's full statement below.

Today, we came to an agreement to sell Moto Restaurant to the Alinea Group. This bittersweet decision comes after deep reflection of the lasting impact my husband, the late Chef Homaro Cantu, made with his first restaurant.

A true visionary, Homaro fused his love of food with his genius for science, and forever changed the landscape of modern dining when he opened Moto twelve years ago. Fervent about revolutionizing how, where and what we eat, he brought new possibilities to light in a way that challenged traditional thinking and inspired conversation worldwide about the future of food. Moto was the wellspring of this passion.

Homaro's enthusiasm was contagious, and there is nothing he enjoyed more than fostering talent and bringing the staff into his magnetic, creative fold. The team members that have graced us with their talent over the years championed and fostered Homaro's vision as fervently as though it were their own. They have become family, and I am forever grateful.

Moto wouldn't have thrived without our guests - many of whom traveled from around the world - to dine with us. Whether they joined us just once, or came back time and time again for a new journey, their hunger, curiosity and delight were the spark that always propelled Homaro. I am thankful to them for spending their precious time with us.

Looking to the future, I am pleased to have come to an agreement with Nick Kokonas, Grant Achatz and the Alinea Group. I am inspired by their innovation and pioneering spirit, and wish them all the best with their new project. I can't wait to see their vision and thank them for taking over the space as I begin a new chapter.

Moto's final day of service will be Sunday, February 14. Please join us for one last adventure.

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