The upcoming closure of the Waldorf Astoria Chicago’s fine dining experience RIA will spark a new trend. On July 27, 2012 RIA will close their doors. A sad goodbye to Chicago’s only fine dining experience to make Food & Wine magazine’s list of the nation’s top 10 new chefs.

Peninsula Chicago closed its flagship restaurant Avenues, keeping three diverse dining offerings and starting construction on a junior ballroom; French-international NoMI at the Park Hyatt was reinvented as the less-formal, more American NoMI Kitchen; and the Four Seasons converted its elegant, wood-paneled Seasons into private event space with views of Lake Michigan and created Allium, with seasonal American fare.

Why this shift in luxury fine dining?

Nationwide, the hotel restaurant market’s growth lies with 25- to 35-year-old diners, whose interests are “more bistro, small plates and tapas bars,” said Dick Williams, president of HVS Food & Beverage Services. Meanwhile, the 45- to 55-year-old group is gravitating toward steakhouses, several observers said, with known chefs and brands proving to be big draws.

Nearly two-thirds of hotel visitors want a restaurant that’s “comfortable and relaxing,” according to a study by Technomic, a Chicago-based restaurant consulting and research firm.

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