Next to Sell Season Tickets
By Anthony Todd in Food on Dec 7, 2011 3:00PM
If you thought a restaurant selling tickets was far out, read no further. Next Restaurant, the biggest thing to hit Chicago food since the hot dog, is going to sell season tickets for next year.
In case you've missed the food news, Next, Grant Achatz's newest restaurant, doesn't take traditional reservations. It requires tickets. Often, in order to get those tickets, people have been staying up all night, clicking refresh hundreds of times on their web browser and crashing Next's servers. The hype has died down a little - and we've tried to tell people that you can often get same-night seatings through facebook if you're willing to be flexible - but it can still be kind of a pain in the neck.
Well, if you have a lot of cash and a lot of faith, you may be able to skip that process. The RedEye reported yesterday that Next's owner, Nick Kokonas, actually mentioned the possibility of season tickets last April, before the restaurant opened. Now, he's confirmed it. "At some point, likely this month, we will release season [tickets] for next year." The sale will still probably crash Next's server - but at least you'll only have to do it once!
A "season" at Next is three menus. This year, they did Paris 1906, Thai street food and "Childhood." Since dinner at Next runs several hundred dollars (with wine pairings) you can imagine that a season ticket may go for almost $1000. That's quite a commitment. On the other hand, sports arenas and opera houses demand that much money for great seats, and Next's menus have been met with near-universal swooning by critics and diners.
Menus have already been announced for 2012. They include El Bulli (Ferran Adria's temple to molecular gastronomy that closed earlier this year), Sicily and Kyoto. No word yet on how season tickets will be released - but we'd suggest keeping an eye on their Facebook page. You can watch the staff prepare for El Bulli (often very, very late at night) if you follow Chef David Beran on Twitter.