Get ready because some of the world’s most coveted season tickets—which will take you on a journey through the Alps, South America, and Napa Valley—are about to go on sale.

By Amy McKeever
December 02, 2015
Next Chicago
Credit: Courtesy of Next

Chicago’s ever-evolving, innovative restaurant Next has announced the details for its 2016 menus. As in past years, the restaurant will transform into three completely different concepts over the course of the year, giving renowned chefs Grant Achatz and Dave Beran a chance to play around with new cuisines and face new culinary challenges. And one of those challenges this year happens to be time travel.

Most notably, for its final menu in 2016, Next will travel back in time to October 28, 1996: the day of the first meal Achatz ever had at Thomas Keller’s famous Napa Valley restaurant the French Laundry. As Next notes in its announcement, “Not only is Thomas Keller a mentor to chef Achatz, he is a friend of ours and our restaurants, a visionary restaurateur, and the proprietor of what we believe is the most important restaurant in America over the last 25 years.” To that end, the restaurant plans to fully recreate the meal Keller served Achatz that day 20 years ago—with Keller’s full approval.

Earlier in the year, though, Next’s menus rely less on time travel and nostalgia and more on exploration. They’ll start out in the Alps, matching Chicago’s snowy winters with blankets, warm drinks, and comfort food. There are no menu details available—it’s always best to go into Next with an element of surprise anyway—but they note that, “Alpine cuisine is about a lot more than fondue.”

Then in the summer months of 2016, Next will take a tour of South America with a menu featuring special dishes from countries throughout the region, which it describes as “a cultural cornucopia of fresh seafood, exotic fruits and spices, and some standby favorites that have traveled the world.” Of particular interest, keep an eye out for the Next Patio street food cart that’ll be offering some bites à la carte in addition to the restaurant’s usual tasting menu.

Considering that these are three very different menu concepts, they come at different price points as well. The Alps will be priced from $95-$125; South America will run from $85-$115; and the French Laundry dinner will cost anywhere from $255-$285. Next employs dynamic pricing, meaning the actual cost of your ticket will depend on the date and time of your reservation.

And, yes, ticket is right. Rather than your traditional reservations, Next and its sister restaurant Alinea (which T+L deemed one of the 17 restaurants in the world worth planning a trip around) sell tickets to each seating on their proprietary ticketing system Tock. And at Next, those tickets are booked seasonally, meaning you get one table at each of the three concepts with your purchase. Season tickets for 2016 will go on sale first to existing season ticket holders on December 9 at 10 a.m. CST. The rest of the tickets will open to the public on December 11 at 10 a.m. CST. So if you’re looking for a journey in 2016, start exercising that trigger finger.