The next time you try to snag a table for two at your town's chic-est restaurant, be prepared for a new reply from the maître d': "Tickets, please."
NPR reports a growing number of fine dining establishments are eschewing traditional reservations for ticketing systems, employing all-inclusive prix-fixe meal passes to "sell out" dining rooms weeks or months in advance. The concept was originally devised by Chicago restauranteur Nick Kokonas, whose eatery Next specializes in theme menus that change three times a year; diners can buy season tickets to the entire year's worth of meals. In a few hours last December, Next sold $3 million worth of tickets.
Restaurants believe ticketing sharply reduces no-shows, which cost business and pressure establishments to raise prices for other diners. Then, of course, there's the cachet of being the "hottest ticket in town," a la rock concerts or hit Broadway shows. Kokonas anticipates ticketed eateries opening in several major cities, both in the U.S. and around the world, in the next couple of months. The ticket scalpers are sure to follow in short order.
Listen to the full NPR story on restaurant tickets below. --Mike Barry
Eugene "Gene" Cernan, the astronaut famous for being the last person to walk on the moon, died Monday in Houston. He was 82.
His family said in a statement he had ongoing health issues, but the exact cause of death is unknown. In 1963, Cernan, a Navy fighter pilot, was selected by NASA as one of 14 people to participate in the third astronaut class. He piloted the Gemini 9 mission, and was the second American to walk in space — he later called it the "spacewalk from hell," USA Today reports, because his equipment didn't work properly, he became overheated, and he almost didn't make it back to the spacecraft.
Cernan was one of two astronauts to fly to the moon twice, and as he left for the last time on Dec. 14, 1972, declared, "American's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow. As we leave the moon and Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, we shall return with peace and hope for all mankind." He later said he didn't want to climb the ladder up to the spacecraft, because he "wanted to stay a while." He was hopeful that astronauts would return to the moon, and in a statement, his family said, "Even at the age of 82, Gene was passionate about sharing his desire to see the continued human exploration of space and encouraged our nation's leaders and young people to not let him remain the last man to walk on the moon."
After retiring from the space program in 1976, Cernan served as an executive vice president of Coral Petroleum Inc., and went on to start the Cernan Corp. Survivors include his wife, Jan Nanna Cernan; daughter Tracy Cernan Woolie; stepdaughters Kelly Nanna Taff and Danielle Nanna Ellis; and nine grandchildren. Catherine Garcia
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, two of his children participated in two very different events.
Speaking at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where her father once preached, Bernice King, his youngest daughter, told the crowd not to be "afraid of who sits in the White House," adding, "God can triumph over [Donald] Trump." She received a standing ovation and thunderous applause. At the same time, Trump, who received eight percent of the black vote, was in New York meeting with her brother, Martin Luther King III. As he left Trump Tower, King said he believes the U.S. voting system is broken, and he spoke with Trump about how to improve it.
On Saturday, Trump was blasted for attacking 1960s civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) on Twitter. In an interview with NBC News, Lewis said that because of evidence of Russia meddling in the election to help Trump win, "I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president." Trump accused Lewis, whose skull was fractured when he was beat by a state trooper on a day that became known as Bloody Sunday, of being "all talk, talk, talk ‚ no action or results." King did not comment on whether he was offended by what Trump said about a man who worked side by side with his father, saying, "First of all, I think that in the heat of emotion a lot of things get said on both sides. I think at some point, I bridge build. The goal is to bring America together." Catherine Garcia
Several Turkish media outlets are reporting that a man suspected of killing 39 people during a New Year's Day attack at a nightclub in Istanbul has been caught.
The NTV television channel reports the suspect was tracked down to a house in Istanbul's Esenyurt district owned by a friend from Kyrgyzstan and captured late Monday during a special operations police raid. The Hurriyet newspaper has identified the suspect as Abdulkadir Masharipov, an Uzbekistan national, and NTV says he resisted arrest, but was detained along with his friend and three others. ISIS claimed responsibility in the aftermath of the massacre at Reina nightclub, saying it was in retaliation for Turkish military operations in Syria. Catherine Garcia
Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday said President-elect Donald Trump's tendency to insert himself into the political matters of foreign countries is "inappropriate." Kerry spoke specifically about Trump's recent remarks criticizing German Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to accept a wave of refugees, which Trump called "one very catastrophic mistake" in an interview with German publication Bild.
"I thought frankly it was inappropriate for a president-elect of the United States to be stepping into the politics of other countries in a quite direct manner," Kerry told CNN's Christiane Amanpour. Kerry, for his part, called Merkel's refugee policy "extremely courageous." Jessica Hullinger
With just four days left until Donald Trump takes the oath of office, the president-elect's favorable rating remains stubbornly — and historically — low. A new Gallup poll finds Trump with a 40 percent favorable rating, or roughly half of Obama's 78 percent rating leading up to his 2009 inauguration. Trump holds the distinction of being the only incoming president, of the most recent four, whose unfavorable score is higher than his favorable score. Fifty-five percent of respondents have an unfavorable view of Trump, compared to just 18 percent of Obama in 2009.
But it's not all bad. Gallup reports that Trump's favorable rating is at least slightly higher than it was during the presidential campaign, when it stayed put at 38 percent. And 82 percent of Republicans say they are in Trump's corner. But that's notably lower than George W. Bush's soaring 97 percent favorable rating among Republicans back in 2001.
"The president-elect's general unpopularity is an unprecedented hurdle, whose impact on his ability to govern remains to be seen," Gallup reports. "As he takes office, Trump also faces much greater political polarization than his successors, even though all recent presidents have faced fairly stiff opposition from non-supporters once in office."
This new poll was conducted Jan. 4-8 among 1,032 adults. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points. Jessica Hullinger
Monica Crowley, a Republican strategist and former Fox News analyst, will turn down an invitation to serve in Donald Trump's White House as a senior director of strategic communications at the National Security Council. "After much reflection I have decided to remain in New York to pursue other opportunities and will not be taking a position in the incoming administration," Crowley told The Washington Times. "I greatly appreciate being asked to be part of President-elect Trump's team and I will continue to enthusiastically support him and his agenda for American renewal."
In recent weeks, Crowley faced criticism after CNN reported that large sections of her 2012 book, What The (Bleep) Just Happened, had been plagiarized from news articles, Wikipedia, and various other sources. Her publisher, HarperCollins, pulled the book from stores following the report. CNN and Politico also claimed Crowley plagiarized parts of her Ph.D. dissertation. Jessica Hullinger
On Monday, FBI agents arrested the wife of Omar Mateen, the gunman who last June killed 49 people in a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. CBS News reports Noor Salman is facing charges of obstruction of justice, and aiding and abetting. During interviews following the shooting, investigators began to question how much Salman knew about Mateen's plans, The New York Times reports. She is expected to appear in federal court in San Francisco on Tuesday. Mateen, who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, was killed during a police shootout at the scene of the rampage. Jessica Hullinger