The Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings in the U.S.
In restaurant land, fall is the golden season, delivering a bumper crop of potentially pilgrimage-worthy new feeding grounds to fanatics and casual #feastagrammers alike. This year, a few themes dominate the openings: hotel restaurants that look seriously promising (and no, that's not a contradiction in terms), mucha comida latina—and already beloved restaurants laying new claim to food halls. There's more of course, which is where this story comes in. Read on for our guide to the most anticipated openings of the moment. And go ahead: Book your tables as you read. We just can't promise that we won't be fighting you for them.
It's often the restaurants that don't fall into prescribed categories that excite the most. Case in point? Thai Diner, a new take on an American diner from the team behind New York’s perennially packed and Michelin-starred Uncle Boon’s and Uncle Boons Sister. Stop by late in Nolita at night for Thai disco fries, which swap out the gravy for Massaman curry.
Farther uptown, in the Flatiron neighborhood, three-time James Beard Award-winning chef Alfred Portale will open his first solo project since he joined Gotham Bar & Grill in 1985: Portale will have an Italian bent and serve pastas and bread—all made from house-milled flour.
But if you're part of a group that's too large to reach culinary consensus, head to the Market Line, where everyone can order, well, pretty much anything: Part of the Lower East Side's Essex Crossing development, this subterranean market will ultimately occupy more than 150,000 square feet. The first phase will open this fall with outposts of pierogi icon Veselka, dim sum destination Nom Wah, and The Pickle Guys. Joining the neighborhood is Queens’ Tortilleria Nixtamal, where the house-made tortillas are so good, you'll almost forget to order tacos. But missing out on the al pastor variety would be a mistake. And for dessert, there’s ice cream at an annex of Brooklyn’s Ample Hills—and doughnuts from the Doughnut Plant.
Upstairs, at the new location of the Essex Market (a separate market in the same complex) the crew from Long Island City’s critical darling Adda Indian Canteen is opening Dhamaka, a standalone restaurant that focuses on regional Indian cooking. Even better: The team is aiming to work with a local organic farm to grow various Indian vegetables for the menu.
Meanwhile, in Brooklyn: Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli—the duo behind the iconic Frankies 457 and Franks Wine Bar—are teaming up with acclaimed baker Chad Robertson of Tartine and equally famed pizzaiolo Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco to open a slice shop that's tentatively called F & F Pizzeria. Details haven't been released quite yet, but it’s safe to say those slices are some of the most anticipated in the U.S. And a new outpost of Once (pronounced: on-seh) from noted Peruvian chef Ricardo Zarate, will draw more foodies to the neighborhood with his Nikkei cuisine, a unique fusion of Japanese and Peruvian influences.
L.A. is all about female power pairings this season—at Santa Monica hotels, to be exact. First, Jessica Koslow, owner of L.A.'s Sqirl and Gabriela Cámara, chef-owner of Mexico City's Contramar, are collaborating on the Proper Hotel's Onda. Very few details have been released about the food—beyond its sustainability and Latin influence—but even so, with Koslow and Cámara at the helm, Onda ranks as one of the most exciting openings of the year.
Nearby, L.A.’s longtime chef duo Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are also working on a new hotel project in Santa Monica. Socalo is an all-day Mexican gastropub with dishes that are said to be inspired by the chefs’ Tijuana travels. (And if your idea of what to do in Tijuana revolves mainly around zonkeys and cheap margaritas, there's an entire food revolution to brush up on.)
In Northern California, three-Michelin star chef David Kinch of Manresa will open a the casual Mentone in Aptos, about an hour south of San Jose. Named for the French Riviera town of Menton on the Italian border, the restaurant will likely serve pizza made from house-milled flour (noticing a trend?), as well as pasta with nettles, dandelion, chard and spinach, among other regional dishes.
Farther north, in San Francisco’s Mission District, Dear Inga is a new Eastern European restaurant from the acclaimed trio behind Liholiho Yacht Club: David Golovin (grandkid of the namesake Inga), Ravi Kapur and Jeff Hanak, who've traveled Georgia extensively (the country, not the state) in the name of menu research. The result includes copious amounts of smoked fish and meats, fermentation and live-fire cooking.
Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook, the owners of Zahav (as in, Best Restaurant in America Zahav) are working hard to maintain their rep as the guys who've fueled Philadelphia’s culinary renaissance: This fall, they're opening two new projects. First up is Merkaz, a casual Israeli spot in Midtown Village that will serve coffee, breakfast, pita sandwiches and prepared foods. Later in the fall, Laser Wolf, named for the butcher in Fiddler on the Roof, will open in South Kensington with charcoal-cooked skewers alongside salads and fresh-baked pita.
Meanwhile, Defined Hospitality, which operates the modern Middle Eastern Suraya and the buzzy Pizzeria Beddia, will open three Mexican concepts in the Pod Hotel. Expect a full service restaurant at Condesa, tacos and al fresco dining at El Techo—and coffee plus Mexican drinking chocolate at El Cafe.
Bucktown's the place to be to see what happens when the team behind the acclaimed Giant opens a cocktail bar—specifically, Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar, where drinks like the Fluffhead (a blend of gin, coconut, kaffir, lime and lemongrass) will pair with American-Chinese hybrid dishes. Think cold fried chicken with hot mustard, kung pao beef and moo shu pork.
In the South Loop, beloved brewery Moody Tongue is opening two new restaurants: At The Dining Room at Moody Tongue, expect a 25-seat fine-dining spot. Chef Jared Wentworth will serve a 12-course seasonal menu that includes the likes of king crab with cheung fun noodles and XO sauce paired with a sour watermelon saison. For a more casual meal, pop by The Bar at Moody Tongue. The à la carte menu will include griddled corn cakes with foie gras butter and Tunisian spiced Romanesco with beluga lentils, among other treats.
Kevin Tien, a former Food & Wine best new chef and James Beard Foundation Award finalist has left the celebrated Himitsu to focus on his new Capital Hill restaurant, Emilie’s. Though the menu hasn't been released yet, who's not a sucker for small dishes served off rolling carts? (And we did get the team to reveal one potential dish to whet your appetite: hamachi crudo with nuoc cham, orange, and herb oil.)
Over by Union Market, the 20,000-plus square-foot ode to Latin culture that is La Cosecha will open this fall. Unlike many food halls that specialize in fast-casual eateries, this market houses high-end concepts: Anyone who's eaten at chef Manuel Barrientos' outposts in Colombia and Miami can't wait for El Cielo DC to debut. And pretty much everyone's been looking forward to Sebastian Quiroga's plant-based Ali Pacha since the chef started making international headlines from La Paz. Talk about capital gains.
Wherever you're hoping to eat this fall, remember that restaurant openings are rolling affairs, so keep your eyes open—and trained on Instagram—for those all-important debut meals.