If you thought season tickets for the Blackhawks or the Bulls were in demand, try season tickets for Next.
When Alinea’s Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas opened their tickets-only, theme-shifting restaurant Next last spring in the West Loop, Kokonas said that they intended to eventually offer season tickets. “Season [tickets] are a lump sum for three tables all on the same night of the week [for each menu],” Kokonas explained via e-mail. “They are paid up front just like a theater or sports team.”
Next opened last spring and for three months served a decadent French feast evoking the Ritz Hotel Paris in the time of legendary chef August Escoffier. After that, it closed and rebooted to serve dishes inspired by a tour through Thailand. The restaurant’s third menu was a whimsical childhood-inspired adventure.
Next’s three upcoming “acts” for 2012 include a recreation of El Bulli, the recently closed, ultra-famous restaurant in Spain’s Catalan region from chef Ferran Adria, where Achatz also interned in 2000.The 29-course meal will be served from Feb. 8-May 27. Pricing for past menus at Next were tiered according to day and time, but all Ell Bulli tickets will be $365 per person, plus tax and a service charge that covers gratuity.
After El Bulli, fans can look forward to menus inspired by Sicily (June 2-Sept. 9) and Kyoto (Sept. 15-Dec. 31). Season tickets will include tables to El Bulli, Sicily and Kyoto.
As for when exactly season tickets will be released, Kokonas would say only, “Sometime before El Bulli starts!” Tickets are sold on nextrestaurant.com, but the restaurant’s Facebook page continues to be ground zero for news, including more detailed pricing and procedure for ticket sales.
For fans with unlimited funds, a new auction option might be the way to go. The restaurant will auction one table of two each night to the highest bidder, with proceeds benefitting University of Chicago Cancer Center, the facility where Achatz was treated for tongue cancer.