And you thought dining at Per Se was expensive. Well, Next, Grant Achatz’s new Chicago restaurant whose concept will change every three months, is already shaping up to be $500 a head. Minimum. That’s because reservations are sold as tickets, and these tickets have quickly gone black-market, selling for around $2,000 for a table for four.
When Achatz was in New York to promote his book earlier this spring, we directly asked him how Next would prevent scalping. “Scalping is actually illegal,” he had said. Which means even if there are scalpers, it’s not Next’s problem. However, the restaurant recognizes that shady business is going on, writing on its own website:
For our opening menu, with nearly 20,000 people signed up to buy tickets, we recognize that some people may try to resell tickets. Therefore we have capped sales for every user at 2 tables. Anyone purporting to have more tickets to sell is likely unscrupulous.
We will soon have an automated system in place to authenticate and transfer ticket ownership. In the meantime if you transfer, gift or sell your tickets you must email us at email@example.com, provide the name and email address for the recipient, and we will generate a new confirmation number for them. We will not honor any ticket holders without proper authentication.
The New York Times even notes that tickets have hit $3,000 in some cases. Yes, Achatz is an amazing chef, and Next is bound to be an extraordinary dining experience. But really, $400 to $500 person seems a tad steep. The man is cooking from Escoffier, after all — you might as well spend $18 on the book, The Escoffier Cookbook and Guide to the Fine Art of Cookery: For Connoisseurs, Chefs, Epicures, Complete With 2973 Recipes. Seems kinda like a better deal in the long run.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 9, 2011