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Report: #1513499

Complaint Review: The Aviary - Chicago Illinois

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  • Reported By: MJ — Chicago Illinois United States
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  • The Aviary 955 W Fulton Market Chicago, Illinois United States

The Aviary The Alinea Group, Alex Hayes Medicore, overpriced drinks which made me sick, ZERO customer service after the fact! Chicago Illinois

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I am a foodie and have been fortunate enough to eat and drink at some of the best restaurants in the world.  I'm taking the time to write this (out of principle) to warn people that The Aviary, based on how good I heard it used to be, seems to have devolved into a place that serves average drinks and overcharges for them based on now undeserved hype and tired, gimmicky presentations. What's worse is that one of their drinks made me sick, and their customer service after the fact was so abhorrent, that although I couldn't imagine making a situation like mine worse, they somehow managed it!

A brief description of what happened:

I went to the Aviary for the first time in October, 2021. I ordered some drinks and the quality in terms of taste was just flat average— nothing special whatsoever! The presentation, which is something they clearly pride themselves on was simple and tasteless, and you couldn't even hear the waiters explain the drinks when they served them because it was so loud in the room. So essentially you're paying around $25 (some less, some more) a drink for nothing except the hype that brought you there to begin with. NOT WORTH IT! Anyway, I did not drink a lot at all, and did not even feel intoxicated in anyway when I left, but after I left I began to feel ill. For the next 10 hours I had nausea and sweats until it finally subsided in the morning. 

I contacted the restaurant by phone the following week and no one picked up. And then emailed the restaurant and someone replied that they will have someone from the management team contact me. Three days passed and still no one reached out. I sent a follow up email and finally I got reply back, but the email was dismissive and essentially said it wasn't their fault, sorry I got sick, thanks for contacting them, case closed. I have included a copy of their email below, and I believe their response is what happens when you have so much business, you can just tell someone with a complaint to go 'jump in a lake.'

Their email:

"Dear Michael.

Thank you for checking in with us and for your patience in our delay. We are genuinely sorry for your discomfort. We hope you are feeling better.

Illness after an experience at an Alinea Group venue is a matter we take seriously. Our kitchen and bar staff are trained and certified in safe handling procedures and our kitchens are kept in strict compliance with safety guidelines.

It is often difficult or impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of feelings of sickness, but we are confident in this case that your experience at The Aviary was not at fault.

There are many items on any given beverage that were made in larger 'batches' before serving to your table. Additionally, no other guests that evening became ill to our knowledge. Our bar team tastes the ingredients throughout the evening in order to check for flavor as well, and none of our team members became ill.

Once again, thank you for contacting us regarding your experience.



I then replied back that it was “disappointing to get that type of response and that they didn’t even bother to speak to me about what happened.” I then got a response from someone name Alex Hayes who said they take customers concerns like mine seriously, and then apologized for my experience at  “THE OFFICE.” In case you don’t know, the office is an entirely separate experience from the The Aviary. So Alex claimed my experience was important to the Alinea Group, but he couldn’t even be bothered to make sure he knew exactly where I got sick that night!

After some back and fourth, and a written acknowledgment from Alex saying that the service experience even fell short of their own expectations, he offered me a $20 refund. Yes, you heard that right! A whopping $20 on a $85~ dollar bill! What any normal person would have done given the circumstances is refunded the entire check and ask the guest to come back for a better experience. But because the Alinea Group apparently doesn’t need anyone’s business, they can be extremely cheap/petty, have a guest get sick, and then essentially slap them in the face by offering an insulting $20 refund!

Alex’s email:

“Hi Michael,

Thank you for the feedback; it is appreciated. We will work to improve our service -- when the space is loud coach the staff to speak up. The menu changes frequently, so I shared your feedback on the drinks you ordered: What Would Honeydew, Thaipirihna, In the Rocks, Ford's Model Tea.

Your experience did not meet the standards we set for ourselves. I processed a refund for the 20% service charge applied to your bill, which equates to $20.00. It can take up to 5-7 business days.

Amelia accurately described our procedure for investigating issues of either food or beverage poisoning. All drinks are tasted before service; all guests receive cocktails from the same initial preparation. I do not believe this was an incident of improperly prepared cocktails because there have been no other incidents reported and all cocktails passed their checks.

Please let me know if you have either any additional questions or if I can be of any help.



Bottom line: if you’re like me and work hard for your money, I imagine you just want to get what you pay for when you go out, and if somehow you don’t, the hope would be that the business would be willing to make things right. Based on my experience at the Aviary, the Alinea group could care less about anyone else but themselves. And I say this reluctantly, because I remember when dining at some of their restaurants actually meant you were going to get an amazing experience instead of some diluted, overpriced garbage! I have no problem dropping 1k+ on meal or drinks, but at least give me what I pay for. And in this case we were only talking about a check of $85! So, if you’re looking for quality cocktails and good service experience, I’d really suggest avoiding The Aviary! My experience has taught me THEY DON’T CARE!

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/08/2021 05:38 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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