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Kokonas: Next is 60 Percent Sold Out Through June

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There's no question the hype behind the opening of Next has caused quite a frenzy among eager foodies, but instead of forking over $1,000 for a two top on the black market, just breathe, take pause and hit refresh one more time.

Despite the website currently saying they're sold out, co-owner Nick Kokonas, who created the restaurant's ticketing system, told us that they've sold about 60 percent of the spots through June. They do plan to release more tickets to the general public so even if you weren't one of the nearly 20,000 people who signed up to be notified when tickets would become available, you still have a chance to dine at Next while its focus is Paris 1906.

The demand was so high that once hundreds of tables were already booked, they slowed down the process and began releasing tables one by one. "I released 61 tables at 10 a.m. [Thursday] and they were taken in 48 seconds, [and] by that I mean that they were grabbed pending payment ... crazy," Kokonas wrote in an email. "Then I released tables one by one and the average time that someone grabbed them to reserve was one second."

Reports claim Next sold about $150,000 worth of bookings in the first two hours. Kokonas told us that, with about 75 percent of the bookings also adding wine pairings, he said it was actually more than that. When we asked how much, he wouldn't divulge actual revenue but said, "It is more than Alinea takes in in a month and a half."

We can only imagine the demand to check out Aviary once it opens next door, which is reportedly happening on April 13, but you never know. Next was suppose to open last fall. You might want to just get in line now.
· Want to Dine at Next? Tix Going for Up To $3k on Craigslist [~EChi~]
· Next Restaurant's Paris 1906 Menu in Pictures [~EChi~]
· Grant Achatz's Aviary Set to Take Flight April 13 [~EChi~]

Nick Kokonas in the Next dining room [Photo: Bloomberg Businessweek]

Next Restaurant

953 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 312 226 0858 Visit Website

Next Restaurant

951 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL