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What’s “Next”? A Home In Sicily, According To Grant Achatz

Every few months, Grant Achatz’s restaurant NEXT destroys itself and builds itself anew as a completely different restaurant, sort of like Madonna.  Eater Chicago reveals its latest reinvention: a Sicilian country home.

Beyond that, few details are known: even though Eater’s Chicago editor Ari Bendersky sat in on a menu-planning meeting between the Michelin-starred chef of Alinea, NEXT chef Dave Beran, and sous chef Rene De Leon, their exactitude was such that they couldn’t refine the concept further.

“You have to make a philosophical decision if you want to make it authentic or your version of it, but you have to make that decision. Right now,” Achatz, who has spent time in Sicily, told Beran. “There’s no wrong answer, but if we frame it as authentic Sicilian rustic cuisine, that’s what we need to do. If we do Dave Beran’s interpretation, we do that. Either way we’re going to win because it’s going to be delicious.”

The thirteen course dinner is probably going to be very delicious, though, since it’s freakin’ Next.  Too bad that half of the available bookings are sold out: Partner Nick Kokonas noted that Next’s current concept, an homage to the recently-passed El Bulli, sold out so quickly that one of the only ways to get seats was to buy a season pass for the next three Next events. Sicily starts June 2nd, and will soon be followed by Kyoto. (Let’s just hope that the next concept isn’t “Tyrolian biergarten.” It would compile a weird, morally-awkward Axis of Tasty.)

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