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Chicago's Aviary Asks Kickstarter to Pull Porthole Copycat

Left: The Porthole, Right: La Ventana.
Left: The Porthole, Right: La Ventana.
Photos: Crucial Detail / Kickstarter
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

A California-based designer has boldly launched a Kickstarter for a device that looks eerily similar to The Porthole, Chicago cocktail bar The Aviary's mega-succesful, Kickstarter-funded infusion device designed by Martin Kastner. The main difference? La Ventana has LED illumination and "custom inserts" that allow users to make "infusion art" by "beautifully position[ing] and hold[ing] in place the ingredients" to make shapes like hearts. Designer Dale Rorabaugh is hoping to raise $20,000 by June 15 to make his "beautiful infusion vessel" happen.

Alinea/Next/The Aviary co-owner Nick Kokonas tells Eater that he was alerted of the copy cat Kickstarter today, and that he is not taking the situation lightly. Kokonas gives the following statement:

While all good designs are at some point used as inspiration for other products, the level to which this doesn't even try to be different is pretty amazing and brazen. I didn't design the Porthole, Martin did... but I feel ripped off on his behalf! The guy even uses the term "porthole" in the description, along with language that is very similar or the same as our Kickstarter.

I've messaged the 'creator' asking him to remove the Ventana from Kickstarter. We will also email Kickstarter and point out the successful Porthole campaign.

Finally -- no need to back a flimsy rip-off... just go to and buy one now! Martin's design is far more elegant and we've sold over $ 2 million worth so far.

The Porthole's Kickstarter launched back in 2012, seeking to raise $28,500. The project ending up earning a staggering $736,112. This isn't the first time someone has ripped off the creative endeavors of Nick Kokonas' various Chicago restaurants. For example, Alinea's very particular menu design has been copied by two separate Austin restaurants.

· La Ventana - The Window to Your Culinary Adventure [Kickstarter via @nickkokonas]
· The Aviary's Porthole Raises Over $700K on Kickstarter [-E-]
· All Kickstarter Coverage on Eater [-E-]

The Aviary

955 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607