April 28, 2011
The good news is that Next, the sequel restaurant by Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas, is living up to its sky-high expectations.
The bad is that it has been excruciatingly difficult to get into this restaurant in its first few weeks. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:
What's the number to call for reservations?
There isn't one. To dine at Next (953 W. Fulton Market), you have to buy tickets, which are sold at nextrestaurant.com.
So I just go online?
Well no. Early ticket sales have been restricted to those people who joined Next's "notify me" online list. If you signed up before March 31, you're in the system. If not, wait. Kokonas says the system will be open to all "sometime in the next two weeks."
I'm in the system, but it says everything's sold out. Now what?
Check back every morning at 10 a.m., when 15 or so additional tables (sized for two or four) are released. Same-night tables are available via Facebook as well (search "Next restaurant" on facebook.com).
How much are tickets?
They range, depending on the day, from $65 to $110; wine pairings are $48 or $98. Additionally, tax and tip are rolled into the final, prepaid price.
Have most seats been sold?
Kokonas says about 70 percent of the seats for the Paris 1906 menu (which runs about 12 weeks) are gone. But then there will be a new menu and a new three-month run. Those tickets will go on sale sometime in June.
Is it worth the trouble?
Read what I had to say about Next at chicagotribune.com/next. Then decide.
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