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Not-yet-opened restaurant makes 'mattered most' list

Grant Achatz's coming-soon dining experience Next ranks as 'the' restaurant of 2010 according to food website Epicurious's list of Top Restaurants 1995-2010 which highlights "the 16 spots that mattered most" worldwide.

Next restaurant, an "exploration of world cuisine," is coming real soon to Chicago, however the site explains, "we learned not to predict an opening date. Fall 2010 if all goes well."

Achatz tweeted on October 23, "Ok, it's hire time. If you are interested in kitchen positions (meaning drink and food) please send a CV to employment@theaviary.com." 

The Aviary, also by Achatz, is described as not a bar, not a lounge, per se, "or perhaps it is a bar without a bar or bartenders. Or a lounge without the attitude of a lounge." The Aviary is slated to have the "same opening as Next" restaurant.

Achatz also added on October 16: "Many people are thinking that Aviary will only serve edible cocktails. Not the case. They will be a part of the program in some way however."

So how did Next covet the spot for top restaurant that "mattered most" in 2010. The trailer undoubtedly helped: http://nextrestaurant.com/index.html

Epicurious based its decision on the fact that it "comes from the team behind Alinea" and they are "betting [that] the results will transcend the high-concept kitsch," with a quarterly changing menu "inspired by a culinary benchmark, past or future. Yes, you read that right: Next will channel not just, say, Paris in 1912 or Edo-period Tokyo, but also Hong Kong circa 2036."

Even better is the price. "Next's goal is to serve 4-star food at 3-star prices" with $40-75 for prix fixe menu and an additional $25+ for wine and beverage pairings.

If you want to experience Next it is probably best not to bank on getting one of the two walk-in tables available.

Instead of reservations you will need to purchase tickets "like [for] a theater or a sporting event. Your tickets will be fully inclusive of all charges, including service. Ticket price will depend on which seating you buy - Saturday at 8 PM will be more expensive than Wednesday at 9:30 PM. We will also offer an annual subscription to all four menus at a discount with preferred seating."

NextRestaurant.com promises the ticket purchasing system will "ensure the best customer experience. It will be simple to use, efficient, and familiar to anyone who has booked a show or travel online."

Given the buzz and all the accolades Achatz et al have received for Alinea it is likely the tickets will be sold out well in advance.

David Chang's Momofuku Ko in New York City implemented an online-only booking system that is often termed "reservation roulette" by foodies as the system leaves "hopeful diners log[ging] on to the restaurant's website each day when the system opens at 10 am. They see a series of time slots for that evening's seatings, with green check marks and red x's. If they click fast, they might get a reservation. More likely, they'll get a message reading: 'Sorry, someone just grabbed that spot.' After about two seconds, that day's reservations are gone," according to Wired magazine.

The other 15 restaurants from around the world that made the "mattered most" list in chronological order starting with 1995, are:

-  Nobu, New York City, USA
-  Pierre Gagnaire, Paris, France
-  Jean-Georges, New York City, USA
-  Mugaritz, Errenteria, Spain
-  Tru, Chicago, USA
-  71 Clinton Fresh Food, New York City, USA
-  Aureole Las Vegas, Las Vegas, USA
-  El Bulli, Roses, Spain
-  L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Paris, France
-  Per Se, New York City, USA
-  Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, New York, USA
-  Alinea, Chicago, USA
-  Cochon, New Orleans, USA
-  Maison Boulud, Beijing, China
-  The Bazaar, Los Angeles, USA