Nick Kokonas and Grant Achatz Confirm New 'Drinks' Project

Staff Writer
Plus, Kokonas confirms that they are working on expanding The Aviary outside of Chicago

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Rumor has it the team behind The Aviary is looking to expand.

Nick Kokonas surprised blog Aviary Is Haunted by answering a couple of questions over email, but most interesting for the food world is the possible expansion of The Aviary beyond Chicago's boundaries.

"We are in negotiations with a high-end hotel group to open in several cities over the next few years. That said, I have no idea if it will come to fruition," Kokonas wrote in an email. "We are very careful about opening up far from home while maintaining quality and innovation standards," he continued, noting that they've turned down many deals because they didn't feel right about the "content," although it would've been lucrative.

This time around, Kokonas feels good, and says, "I think we’ve found the right situation and am hoping that we can iron out the details over the next month or two. These things do not move quickly with big international companies." So we assume The Aviary is going abroad.

Another interesting tidbit that popped up during the email: The Grant Achatz team is planning a "drinks-only" spot for Chicago, although "it won't be what you expect at all." No word on what to expect, but Kokonas is quick to correct when we drop the term "cocktail bar." "I never said anything about a cocktail bar in there..." Kokonas tells The Daily Meal in an email. "I don't wish to tip our cards just yet. But don't expect a cocktail bar."

They're aiming to open the new drinks-only concept by the end of 2014.

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