[photo by Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times]
The idea, Kokonas says, is to enable companies to incorporate the software into their own websites and set their own parameters (such as "dynamic pricing," which is how Next will operate, where tickets will be pricier at peak times -- say, 7 p.m. on a Saturday), and to make it "far less expensive than competing systems like Open Table."
"So if you are a gallery, the event you have coming up can include the info right on your website, plus the ticket sales right there," Kokonas said via e-mail. "No need to click to another site, or pay any further fees or percentage of sales etc."
As far as Kokonas can tell, there isn't a software system like this out there. Of course, this is how Kokonas and Achatz roll. Doesn't exist? Create it.
* Kokonas, who has always wanted to write fiction, has written a few hundred pages of another book, a fictional story about "a guy who gets a unique second chance -- this has nothing to do with Grant -- and that second chance may not be quite the second chance you think it is. It's a mind warp-y thing."
* The chefs at Aviary and Next have been playing around with, in Achatz's words, "all kinds of new toys" from Polyscience, the Niles company that developed the Anti-Griddle and other tools for Achatz. One such toy: a sonifier, which "micro-emulsifies" substances by busting the cells apart (think immersion blender on crack). So an allspice tincture that you mix up and let steep for a few weeks -- "we can do it in 60 seconds," Achatz says.
* In addition to the ice-making room and glass-washing room in the basement of Aviary, there is a laundry room.
* And in addition to all of that, Next and Aviary will have shared bathrooms in the basement, just off that mysterious door marked "Office." So everyone who was lucky enough to get in the door at any of the above can talk amongst themselves.