Posts Tagged ‘Food as Theater’

Achatz “Next Restaurant” A New Meal Ticket Model?

Posted 04 May 2010 — by S.E.
Category Food Alert Trends


Last night while tracking the James Beard Awards I picked up a twitter from Grant Achatz (2010 winner for Outstanding Service) about his two newest ventures: Next Restaurant and Aviary. Achatz, in my opinion, is a culinary genius and a real survivor. His story is so compelling; one of great triumph in the face of potential tragedy. Any new venture he is involved with is destined for success. It appears, based solely on my experience viewing the website for Next that he isn’t going to disappoint us with these new ventures.

The concept behind Next is fascinating. Diners will buy tickets to “attend” a meal as if the experience is equivalent to going to the theater, a concert, or other event. Meal tickets? Yes, meal tickets. Achatz will offer four heavily researched and tested prix fixe menus per year featuring food from great moments in culinary history and the future (yes, the future).  This is going to be interesting. Prices for tickets will vary according to the date and time you attend. I wonder if Next Restaurant will usher in a global meal ticket based, food concert model. If anyone can pull this off, it’s Achatz and his creative team. Watch for Next sometime in the near future, it will open this year (2010).

I also want to mention Aviary, Achatz’s new bar concept. Aviary is a bar without bartenders. Chefs will prepare drinks from a kitchen. Like Alinea, it is likely that Aviary will feature a high degree of thought and refinement, from the food and beverage, to service ware, interior design and other details. A bar without bartenders featuring chefs who prepare both food and beverage from the kitchen, count me in.

One of the reasons I love tracking events like the James Beard Awards is the peripheral news that surfaces as a byproduct of the event itself. Achatz’s announcement of his two new concepts is an example. If you haven’t visited the Next Restaurant web site, go there. The website itself is an experience. Once both places are up and running, I will visit and follow with another post. Until then, keep an eye on Grant and his crew, once again they are on the verge of shaking up convention.