Things are progressing smoothly at Next and Aviary, at least according to an email sent out by Grant Achatz and his business partner, Nick Kokonas, over the weekend. And with anything pulled together by the team behind the No. 1 restaurant in North America, the highly anticipated restaurant openings shouldn't disappoint.
Structurally, the kitchen is nearly complete and almost all the walls are up and in place. The next phase will see the design elements take shape to bring the aesthetic touches to the space.
Next won't simply have a kitchen; any old restaurant can do that. Rather, it will have a "cooking suite" comprising a full-basement prep kitchen, a polishing room for silver, a wine room, a space to wash and press linens and an open kitchen, where you can watch chef Dave Beran and his team prepare the dishes, which in the first augmentation of this quarterly-morphing restaurant will be circa Paris 1906.
Next door in Aviary, which will share the basement prep kitchen with Next, will have a unique bar that will have three cocktail-shaker dispensers. Each will hold up to 175 shakers, allowing chef Craig Schoettler (Aviary won't have traditional bartenders) and his team to continuously create drinks without worrying about cleaning the shakers each time.
Aviary will have an ice room, which we imagine is where they'll create various types of ice for the disparate cocktails, possibly like they do at Violet Hour. And they'll have something called the "Office" bar, which we can't wait to find out what that's all about. We just hope we won't have to work for our food and drinks.
While Achatz tells us they're on track for a late March opening, a specific date is still up in the air as the team continues the build out and gets the spaces ready for city inspections. And as we all know, when it comes to opening a restaurant, anything can happen. But, once build out is complete, they're going to start selling tickets to Next. If you signed up to get updates through the website, you'll be notified in the order you registered. The early bird clearly gets the worm here.
In related news, Achatz and Kokonas will embark on a speaking tour to promote the forthcoming autobiography, Life, on the Line, which they co-wrote. They'll hit Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Milwaukee in early March around the book's release on March 3.
· Achatz Hints Toward Paris 1906 for Next's Opening Menu [~EChi~]
· The Latest State of Grant Achatz's Projects Next & Aviary [~EChi~]
· A Look at Grant Achatz's Life on the Line [~EChi~]
· All Grant Achatz Coverage on Eater Chicago