It's exciting enough to have the James Beard Foundation Awards here in Chicago for this year. But a deal was announced today to keep them in the city until 2017.

This year's edition of the nationwide restaurant recognition ceremony is the first time the event's taken place outside of New York in its 25-year history–the awards will be given out at the Civic Opera House on May 4. 

And the fact that they'll be in Chicago next year could prove fortuitous for Alinea (1723 N. Halsted St., Lincoln Park, 312-867-0110). As Kevin Pang pointed out on Twitter, 2016 is the first year Grant Achatz's showpiece will be eligible for what's thought of as the top prize, the Outstanding Restaurant award (an award that no Chicago spots are up for this year). A place is only eligible to be nominated for it after it's been around for 10 years, and Alinea reaches that milestone next month. 

Time to start rooting for the home team.