Suddenly, Alinea, what some consider the greatest restaurant ever to open in this corner of our galaxy, that place that launched a zillion philosophical discussions about the meaning of eating, that place is right now feeling... more like a place to be remembered fondly. It's still a magnificent restaurant, of course, yes, we know, but the hot love of Chicago diners is drifting elsewhere at the moment, and that seismic shift in dining sensibilities is measured by the 2012 Time Out Chicago Eat Out Awards. Who won? Let's see.
Of course, the Best New Restaurant is Next, and Best New Bar is Aviary, both of which are, as you no doubt know, productions of the brilliant duo of Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas. Not incidentally, the Breakout Chef of the Year is Dave Beran, the "toque behind Restaurant of the Year."
Yes, we are talking "new" places here, so it's not like Next "beat" Alinea, but when people talk about the places that really excite them, when they talk about the meaning of eating in 2012 (or even 2025), that talk is about Next.
2012 Eat Out Awards [TOC]