The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

AAA Five Diamond Awards Fail To Surprise Anyone ... Again

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jan 21, 2013 7:20PM

A dish at Tru in 2012. Tru is one of the restaurants awarded "five diamond" status.

We're not sure who pays attention to the AAA dining awards. We don't generally think of people who spend hundreds of dollars on dinner at Alinea as devoted AAA members, but perhaps we underestimate their reach. In any case, they released this year's set of slightly irrelevant awards last Friday. Why is this slightly irrelevant? Because every restaurant that won top honors has won for the past seven years and there were no new additions.

The highest award AAA gives is their "Five Diamond" award. In Chicago, four places won: Alinea, Everest, Tru and Arun's. Interestingly, only Alinea has three Michelin stars, while Everest and Tru each have one and Arun's has been ignored by the big tire man since Chicago restaurants began receiving Michelin stars. All have been on the list for at least seven years. According to AAA, less than 1/3 of one percent of the restaurants they review receive this honor. Apparently, nothing has opened in the past seven years in Chicago that fits that criterion.

The only noteworthy addition to this year's list? Next got a "Four Diamond" award, one step down from the top. Looks like, for all that they are somewhat boring, at least AAA is willing to go out on a limb and recognize that Next is worth recognizing. For those who have forgotten, Michelin failed to award Next any stars for 2013.