Dining

Spring Awakening

60 new restaurants around the country to get excited about for spring 2018
Photos: The Brewer's Table, Haymaker, Fisk & Co., Robyn Lehr, Denny Culbert, Jill Paider
Best New Restaurants Spring 2018

You've done a good job with that New Year's resolution to cook more in 2018.  But it's time to put the Instant Pot experiments on hold for a second, because there's a whole crop of new restaurants springing up across the country, bringing everything famed fried chicken to Atlanta, highly anticipated Israeli cuisine to Denver and much more.

Atlanta, GA

The James Room

Atlanta's mixology pros Missy and Kristin Koefod have always been the city's go-to source for handcrafted tinctures and cocktail provisions, thanks to their store 18.21 Bitters. And now, the duo are opening an all-day "coffee shop-meets-cocktail bar" hybrid, where you can stop by in the morning for breakfast and return in the evening for something a bit stronger.

Hattie B's

Yes, it's true: Nashville's famous hot chicken joint is heading to Atlanta with the same menu of fried chicken doused in six levels of heat, sides like crinkle-cut fries and black-eyed pea salad, and banana pudding or peach cobbler for dessert.

Austin, TX

Loro

Two powerhouse restaurateurs—Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue and Tyson Cole of Uchi and Uchiko—are joining forces to open this highly anticipated Asian smokehouse and bar focused on grilled and smoked meats, plus draft cocktails and beer crafted in wooden foeders. Those who were lucky enough to get an invite to an event during SXSW got a sneak peek of the Michael Hsu designed space, which features an airy, sunlit design and a spacious deck shaded by 100-year-old oak trees. Everyone else will just need to wait a few more weeks for the official opening to see what this culinary duo has in store for South Austin.

Sour Duck Market

The team behind farm-to-trailer-turned-restaurant Odd Duck and its more upscale tasting menu-focused restaurant, Barley Swine, are on the verge of making their third move, a more casual all-day café, on Austin's flourishing east side. Chefs Bryce Gilmore and Mark Buley have been testing recipes and previewing them in a series of bake sales at Odd Duck (think lamb sloppy joe kolaches, chicken-skin maple cookies and bread made from local breweries' spent grains). Sour Duck's goal is to open an inclusive community restaurant serving the same high-quality food made with ingredients from local farmers and ranchers but at an even more accessible price point. Expect burgers, sandwiches, salads and tacos served on paperware, plus an extensive bakery program (led by Ashley Whitmore, formerly of Ten Belles Bread and Au Passage in Paris), retail marketplace, full bar and ample outdoor seating.

Charlotte, NC

Haymaker

Appalachian cooking has long been the South's trending cuisine, which is why for his next project, William Dissen is choosing to focus on food inspired by America's Piedmont plateau. Along with his chef de cuisine, Ashley Quick, who comes by way of famed Knoxville restaurant J.C. Holdway, he's cooking crispy pork belly with sorghum and sunburst trout with confit fennel and pumpkin romesco in an airy, two-story space.

Chicago, Illinois

Octavio Cantina & Kitchen

The team behind Lady Gregory's and Wilde is at it again with this Andersonville opening, which will feature rustic, regional Mexican cuisine from chef Daniel Munoz. A dedication to local ingredients and bold flavors shows up in plates like the cochinita pibil, with slow-roasted pork, refried black beans and charred habanero, while tacos are served with chiles and potatoes and a medley of Baja fish varieties. Don't miss the cocktails, including the mescal old-fashioned with Lapsang souchong tea and sweet grass smoke. 

Union Full Board and Tinker to Evers

For pizza, small plates and libations under one roof, it's all about the Wheelhouse Hotel, a five-story property opening in Wrigleyville this spring. Fans of Union Pizza in Evanston can now get a taste of the team's Detroit-inspired slices, in addition to surefire small plates like bruschetta, meatballs and salad. Cap it all off with a drink downstairs at Tinker to Evers, a tucked-away speakeasy lounge featuring an elevated portfolio of cocktails and local craft spirits.

   

Cleveland, Ohio

Larder

The city will let out a communal sigh of relief when this curated deli and bakery finally opens at the end of the month. The converted firehouse will be filled with house-cured meats and charcuterie, smoked fish, fermented foods, and baked goods, all using either locally sourced or wild-foraged ingredients.

Dallas, Texas

Circo

Despite the unexpected closure of their original New York location just last year, the Maccioni family is still moving forward with the Dallas outpost of their French Italian restaurant. There won't be any shortage of glitz and glamour either: Free glasses of Champagne will be handed out inside the women's restroom, while guests in the entrance can look up at the rooftop deck's glass-bottomed pool.  

Denver, Colorado

Safta

Israeli chef Alon Shaya is taking his highly acclaimed cooking to The Source Hotel in the RiNo Art District. Safta, which translates to "grandmother" in Hebrew, will incorporate the culinary influences that make up Israel's food landscape. Expect wood-fired pitas and hummus crowned with toppings ranging from tahini to lamb.

Super Mega Bien

Well-loved chef Dana Rodriguez's latest restaurant will specialize in pan-Latin cuisine, drawing inspiration from the dishes of Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Cuba and Venezuela. The open kitchen, situated in the restaurant's center, will serve small plates dim sum-style, along with large-format dishes for sharing.

Detroit, Michigan

Wilda's

Named after founder Lucy Peters's great-grandmother, Wilda's is an all-day hangout that will serve everyday comfort food, like salads, sandwiches and soups, at affordable prices.

Folk

Heading to Corktown is a new community hangout from Kiki Louya and Rohani Foulkes, the duo behind The Farmer's Hand. The intimate, 24-seat spot will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a casual menu of dishes including grain bowls, salads, pastries and ice cream from Reilly Craft Creamery.

Honey

While he has a few other projects in the pipeline, including a comfort food bistro and a fast-casual rotisserie, Detroit-born chef Max Hardy's true flagship will be Honey, a 120-seat, Afro-Caribbean restaurant that he hopes will become the face of Motor City's dining scene.

Houston, Texas

Superica / La Lucha

Atlanta chef, Ford Fry, is adding another Tex-Mex restaurant to Houston's dining scene in the form of Superica, where you'll find homemade flour tortillas, chile rellenos and Texas favorite puffy tacos. Right next door will be La Lucha, a bar with a Gulf Coast menu of hearty seafood and hot biscuits.

UB Preserv

Unlike Underbelly, Chris Shepherd's latest restaurant won't require a reservation you'll have to grab a month in advance. The smaller, 80-seat dining room, however, will still preserve Underbelly's mission of interpreting the city's diverse, evolving culinary scene.

Los Angeles, CA 

Somni

Billed by José Andrés and Think Food Group director Aitor Zabala as more of a multi-sensory culinary experience versus normal dining room, Somni invites guests into a 10-seat exhibition kitchen, where there as many chefs as there are place settings. Throughout the 20-course meal, diners are encouraged to interact with the cooks as they plate each dish.

Milk Bar

What used to be a Baskin-Robbins and an old Laundromat will become the largest location of Christina Tosi's neon-lit bakery—brimming with the sugary confections she's become so well known for, like birthday cake cookies, cereal milk soft-serve and Crack Pie.

Tartine Manufactory

The San Francisco bakery and marketplace Southern Californians have long been envious of is bringing its famed pastries and breads to the Row in Downtown L.A. The massive space will also include a coffee-roasting facility and, more excitedly, a number of restaurants—including a pizzeria from the legendary Chris Bianco.

Miami, FL

The Taco Stand and Hiden

California's The Taco Stand opened its first East Coast location, stocked with Mexican eats like tacos, burritos, quesadillas, carne asada fries and churros, in Miami's Wynwood Arts District. But it's what's behind the recently opened joint that makes The Taco Stand a real standout: Find a secret omakase restaurant, aptly named Hiden, with an eight-seat speakeasy-style counter serving a curated menu of cold and hot items and a sushi selection with ingredients flown in from Japan. The only way to enter is by entering a numeric code on the door, provided to diners via email after reserving a seat through Tock

ABC Kitchen

Jean-Georges Vongerichten's new American restaurant, ABC Kitchen, will open in Miami's Design District this year as well. As is the case at the chef's popular Manhattan restaurant, it will specialize in ingredient-driven, locally sourced items. Joёl Robuchon will join in with a pair of nearby places: L'Atelier and La Boutique.

New Orleans, LA

Bywater American Bistro

Nina Compton, of Compere Lapin, is opening her second NOLA restaurant. She's continuing her focus on "American food as it is right now." In this case, that means hog's head sausage served with frisee, pickled shrimp with avocado and farro risotto with maitake mushrooms and breadcrumbs infused with mint. 

New York, NY

Una Pizza Napoletana

After taking his pizzeria on an eight-year sabbatical in San Francisco, Anthony Mangieri, often cited as one of NYC's masters of Neapolitan pizza, is coming back to NYC. This time, he's partnering with chefs Jeremiah Stone and Fabian Von Hauske of Wildair and Contra, who will be supplementing the pies with small plates and desserts.

Atomix

Once it makes its NoMad debut, Ellia and Junghyun Park's post-Atoboy venture will include an intimate cocktail den and a lower-level dining room that will serve a Korean version of Japanese kaiseki.

Philadelphia, PA

Chalaco's Ceviche and Pisco Bar

Get your dose of both Peruvian food and cocktails once Chalaco's opens in Philly's Northern Liberties neighborhood. Choose between an array of pisco based cocktails before browsing the menu of South American classic like lomo saltado (stir-fried beef with French fries), ceviches and char-broiled chicken.

Portland, OR

Canard

Right next to legendary Portland restaurant Le Pigeon will be Canard, Gabriel Rucker's more casual, wine-focused restaurant that will stay open all day and well into the night. Aside from being an ideal place to wait for a table to clear up next door, Canard will have equally delicious—and more affordable— plates.

San Diego, CA

El Jardin

Once it opens, Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins's restaurant will bring regional Mexican food to San Diego that goes beyond street tacos and tortas, while highlighting seasonal ingredients from South of the border. Zepeda-Wilkins also plans to make El Jardin very much a female-led restaurant.

San Francisco, CA

Che Fico

Eleven Madison Park alums David Nayfeld and Angela Pinkerton's long-awaited restaurant on Divisadero is almost here. The ambitious taverna, replete with a wood-fired grill, pizza oven imported from Naples, glass salumi room and climate-controlled "pasta laboratorio," will showcase seasonal rustic Italian fare with heavy California influences with a special emphasis on cucina ebraica, the Jewish Italian cuisine based in Rome. Later this summer, they'll roll out Theorita, a pie shop and dinette showcasing Pinkerton's famed sweet and savory pies and other comfort food, on the ground floor.

The Tamale Lady

Long before street food was a hashtag, there was Virginia Ramos, aka San Francisco's beloved Tamale Lady, wheeling her chest of late-night Mexican munchies around the Mission. Five years since the "vagabond abuelita" was banned from hawking her curbside tamales, her dream of opening a permanent tamaleria is finally coming true. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Ramos's Mission brick-and-mortar at 2943 16th Street should be up and running by April.

Seattle, WA

Wa'z

Hiro Tawara may have honed his skills in some of Seattle's most highly-regarded sushi temples, but you won't find a sushi bar at his soon-to-be-open Belltown restaurant. Instead, the chef is focusing on a Pacific Northwest version of kaiseki, the hyper-seasonal, Japanese tasting menu. Grab a seat at the chef's counter for an eight to 10 course dinner, or a chair in the 16-seat dining room for a more casual three-course version.

Renee Erickson's Italian Restaurant

While she's still yet to decide on a name, this well-adored Seattle chef is cooking laid-back Italian at her latest project. Lunch will  consist of pizza bianca, salads and salumi inspired by Erickson's time living in Rome, while during dinner service you'll find wood-fired meals and a fritti menu to go along with happy hour.

St. Louis, MO

Good Fortune

When its doors open in a few weeks time, this Chinese restaurant will feature what chef Ryan McDonald calls a "more curated" approach to the country's cuisine. Be on the lookout for a modern, vegetable-focused menu that will change every few weeks in order to spotlight food from China's various regions.

Washington, D.C.

Gravitas

After many months of anticipation, chef Matt Baker is now poised to debut in Ivy City in the former Pappas Tomato Factory. The tasting menu concept will take an elevated approach to classically inspired fare, with a commitment to hyper-local sourcing from the rooftop garden and the Chesapeake region. As such, there will be a robust selection of vegetarian offerings.

Kaliwa

The husband-and-wife duo behind Restaurant Eve, Hummingbird and Society Fair is opening a riverfront spot that features Asian cuisines: namely Korean, Thai and Filipino. Chef Cathal Armstrong has a personal affinity for both Korean and Thai food, and the Filipino influence is from his wife, Meshelle. The menu is divided by country, with family favorites in each section; think stuffed whole fish from the Philippines and spicy jjampong from Korea. The wood hearth will fire Southeast Asian staples, and an outdoor grill will sear skewered meat and other street food in the summer. 

  • Loro (Austin, TX)

    Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue and Tyson Cole of Uchi are coming together for this smokehouse and bar.

    See more Austin spring openings.

  • The Brewer's Table (Austin TX)

    Cocktails and wine are typically the beverages featured at paired dinners; The Brewer's Table will create an innovative space for beer and food to coexist and mutually benefit one another.

    Photo: The Brewer's Table

  • Haymaker (Charlotte, NC)

    William Dissen is shifting the focus of Southern cuisine from the Appalachian mountains to the PIedmont plateau at Haymaker.

    Photo: Haymaker

  • Union Full Board (Chicago, IL)

    There's more to do in Wrigleyville than just catching a Cubs game. Once it opens in a few weeks, the Wheelhouse Hotel will be home to Union Full Board's Detroit-style slices, plus a hidden, downstairs speakeasy.

    See more Chicago spring openings.

    Photo: Union Full Board

  • Super Mega Bien (Denver, CO)

    Denver favorite Dana Rodriguez will soon be opening her newest project: A pan-Latin restaurant that will serve small plates dim-sum style.

    Photo: Cyrus McCrimmon

  • UB Preserv (Houston, TX)

    Chris Shepherd's next project is a smaller, 80-seat dining room where he plans on telling the story of Houston's evolving culinary scene.

    Photo: Julie Schaefer

  • Somni (Los Angeles, CA)

    José Andrés's multisensory culinary experience invites guests into a 10-seat exhibition kitchen for a 20-course, interactive meal.

    See more L.A. spring openings.

    Photo: Jill Paider

  • Sushi Azabu (Miami, FL)

    New York City's Michelin-starred Sushi Azabu has flown south to open a location inside Miami Beach's Stanton Hotel on Ocean Drive.

    See more Miami spring openings.

    Photo: DeepSleep Studio

  • Una Pizza Napoletana (New York, NY)

    Anthony Mangieri, one of NYC's pizza legends, is finally returning home after spending eight years in San Francisco.

    See more NYC spring openings.

    Photo: Dylan + Jeni

  • Bywater American Bistro (New Orleans, LA)

    After focusing on Caribbean food at her first restaurant, Compere Lapin, Nina Compton is now setting her sights on modern day American food.

    Photo: Denny Culbert

  • Bywater American Bistro (New Orleans, LA)

    Compton's menu ranges from farro risotto with minted breadcrumbs to pickled shrimp with buttermilk, celery and trout roe.

    Photo: Denny Culbert

  • Kaliwa (Washington, D.C.)

    Husband-and-wife duo Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong are opening a riverfront spot that features dishes from a broad range of Asian cuisines, including Filipino pan de sel.

    See more D.C. openings.

    Photo: Kaliwa

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