If you logged onto the Alinea website shortly after its first-ever ticket sale, this is what you would’ve seen, minus our highlighting. “Took about 18-minutes,” co-owner Nick Kokonas wrote in an email, referring to the initial crop of seats that were “reserved,” but not necessarily purchased.
"Definitely can’t answer phones that quickly!", he added.
It was a pretty generous time frame considering that tickets to Next Restaurant, the other ambitious Chicago eatery operated by Kokonas and chef Grant Achatz, have sold out much more quickly during its own sales. In fact, a full two hours after the Alinea release, there was still intermittent availability as tickets were re-released by those who didn’t complete their purchases, or whose credit cards were declined.
The two-tops went first, followed by tables for four and tables for six, according to our observations. Tickets typically ranged from $210-$265 under the new dynamic pricing system, which means dinner for two tops out at $704 after tax and a 20% service charge (beverages are purchased at the restaurant).
Previously, the 18-course tasting was fixed at $210. A few tables at $185 sold quickly as a “thank you” price point, though Kokonas wrote on Twitter that 7:30 premium tables sold before the $185s.
The new, higher prices were therefore a victory of sorts, and not just for the restaurant, but also for the guests. After all, some prospective diners found more value in choosing the pricier, prime-time menus over the cheaper, tickets. Many of the tables being re-released, incidentally, were for the lower $210 and $220 price points.
"This is def. the future of *some* restaurants," wrote Kokonas.
See The Price Hike’s previous coverage of Alinea’s new ticketing system.
Last Update: 7:26pm