Nick Kokonas of Alinea Group - Biography

Chicago, IL

September 2017

Nick Kokonas is co-founder and co-owner of groundbreaking Alinea, Next, and The Aviary (and it’s speakeasy The Office) in Chicago. Alinea, which opened in 2005, has been on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list since 2007, rising as high as seventh and twice being the “Best Restaurant in North America.” It has held three Michelin stars since 2010, and in 2016 received James Beard’s “Outstanding Restaurant” award. In 2012, equally as avant-garde Next won the James Beard Award for “Best New Restaurant.” Inside Next, The Aviary bar was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Bars” in 2011, and won Tales of the Cocktail’s “World’s Best Cocktail Menu” in 2014.      

Casual Roister, which merges kitchen with dining room, opened in 2016 and joined Bon Appetit’s “Best New Restaurants” list. And in summer 2017, outposts of The Aviary (and The Office) opened in New York’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. 

Kokonas, a Crain’s Chicago Business “40 Under 40” alum, is also the founder of Tock, a ticketing system that helps restaurants operate more efficiently. A pioneer in the use of ticketing, Kokonas’ Tock has processed more than $205-million pre-paid restaurant tickets, in addition to seating more than 1 million people in nine countries and 37 cities around the world.