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The Latest State of Grant Achatz's Projects Next & Aviary

Next's Basement Prep Kitchen
Next's Basement Prep Kitchen
Photo: Grant Achatz

When you think of the meticulous kitchen at Alinea it's hard to imagine that Grant Achatz's upcoming projects, Next and Aviary, could be in such a harsh state of rubble and construction. But with vision comes beauty and this picture shows us things need a lot of vision. But this being Grant Achatz's (and his partner, Nick Kokonas) restaurant, we can safely say the vision is undoubtedly there.

Achatz just emailed us this picture of the current state of the shared basement prep kitchen for both restaurants, so clearly plans to open anytime soon are not right around the corner. Everything is being ripped out and replaced with custom stainless steel that will rest atop cement curbs and "laid out piece by piece by myself and chef David Beran, who will be running Next," Achatz wrote.

He said that now things are rolling, including having the tables, chairs and banquettes being mocked up, that they have a much clearer vision of the spaces, but that "the project has grown in magnitude beyond what we originally thought. But really, none of us are surprised by that. I am very excited."

The prep area will comprise coolers, freezers and a butchering area. A custom Viking stove is on order and Achatz said most of the heavy equipment will be installed sometime in December, depending on all of the other work. But things are moving along.

"The construction has ramped up, today there were nearly 30 workers in the two spaces of all different trades," Achatz said. "The plumbers have the floors ripped up laying new pipes and drains, the electricians have started wiring the massive amounts of new fixtures and power sources, and the walls have started to be framed."

Unfortunately he's keeping mum on the opening menu. At least for now.

The Aviary

955 N. Morgan St & W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 Visit Website


1723 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 Visit Website


955 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL