Sure, it's the end of tomato and grilling-every-weekend season. But as the air becomes brisk and chilly and the leaves start falling, we're excited about one thing: all the fantastic restaurants and bars opening across the country before 2015 is up.
Here's our insider's guide to where everyone will be eating and drinking this season.
Chefs are stripping down the formalities of fine dining and making aloha-shirt Fridays a regular thing at soon-to-open casual spots. Fresh off reopening Manresa in Los Gatos, David Kinch is going home, so to speak, with The Bywater, a NOLA-inspired spot named after a neighborhood in his hometown. Former August chef David Morgan is collaborating with Kinch on food, while Chad Arnholt and Claire Sprouse from Tin Roof Drinking Community are supplying the booze. Just across the Pacific, Top Chef favorite Lee Anne Wong is combining two great things—noodles and whiskey—into one Honolulu slurp shack, Hale Ōhuna. We're still counting down for the grand unveiling of Roister, Grant Achatz's first casual restaurant in Chicago, but he's predicting it won't open until winter, fingers crossed. First, it was tacos at Salvation Taco, now April Bloomfield is zeroing in on the classic American burger at Salvation Burger in New York City, flipping patties on a wood-fired grill and sliding them in between house-made potato buns. Off in Seattle, Josh Henderson of the Huxley Wallace restaurant group is pulling triple duty with Great State Burger, a quick-serve burger spot; Saint Helens, an all-day brasserie; and Bar Noroeste, a tequila-fueled taco bar. And, no, we haven't forgotten about LocoL, the game-changing fast-food chain from Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson, which is gearing up to open in Watts, California, by the end of the year.
David Kinch | April Bloomfield (Photos: Nick Vasilopoulos and Melanie Dunea)
Vive la France!
Like cigarette-thin black jeans, French food never goes out of style. New York City has already seen a mini boom (Rebelle, Wildair and La Gamelle) this past spring (and it will continue with Le Garage, a chic French restaurant Rachel Allswang is opening with her Parisian chef mother, Catherine Allswang), but the trend is moving west. The team behind Nashville's Pinewood Social and The Catbird Seat is tapping former Next sous-chef Rene De Leon to reimagine French food at Le Sel. Right now, he's thinking olive oil-poached salmon niçoise and skate wing with brown butter. And Seattle will get its own French flair with Renee Erickson's upcoming oyster bar and half-French, half-English steakhouse.
We're excited for these up-and-comers to spread their wings: Famed for the greenmarket gems he cranked out of Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ABC Kitchen and ABC Cocina in New York City, Dan Kluger isn't pulling any fast ones for his upcoming Greenwich Village restaurant. The former Food & Wine Best New Chef is continuing his legacy of modern American cooking, made with local and seasonal ingredients but now powered with a wood-burning grill and oven. Over in our nation's capital, locals have been counting down—and steadily chronicling—the progress of The Dabney, a Mid-Atlantic-minded restaurant from Sean Brock's right-hand man, Jeremiah Langhorne. There, he'll unleash beer vinegar, homemade kimchi and more. Likewise in Honolulu, former Vintage Cave chef Chris Kajioka is teaming up with old Per Se pals Anthony and Katherine Rush for Senia, a casual hangout churning out the kind of food they crave on their days off. Pasta queen Missy Robbins is making her much-anticipated return after her tenure at A Voce in New York City with Lilia, an intimate Italian café. Back in San Francisco, Brandon Jew is proving Chinese banquet-style feasts aren't just for weddings. The former Bar Agricole chef is making his own soy sauce, tofu and more Chinese kitchen staples for the much-anticipated Mister Jiu's. As for Aska chef Fredrik Berselius, there aren't too many details about his new restaurant in New York City, but we do know he's branching out beyond tasting menu only and serving more laid-back bites.
Cala's aguachile verde (Photo: Allan Zepeda)
Imports of Great Import
Used up all your vacation days? Chefs understand. International destinations are going domestic with the opening of new outposts in the contiguous states—no flights required. This isn't Gabriela Cámara's first rodeo, but the chef of Mexico City's Contramar is making her U.S. debut with Cala in San Francisco. Inside, it's all seafood, like seasonal ceviches, and in the alley behind the restaurant at Tacos Cala, homespun tacos de guisados. Sushi Ginza Onodera, Tokyo's omakase heaven, is crash-landing on New York City's Fifth Avenue, bringing the same level of craftsmanship and quality of ingredients. However, the Japanese masters aren't stopping there: Next stop is Beverly Hills in February. New York City already has its own Moti Mahal Delux, where the storied murgh makhani (butter chicken) reigns, and now New Delhi's Indian Accent is following suit. Just shy of The World's 50 Best at No. 77, chef Manish Mehrotra is stationing himself in Midtown and dreaming up dishes like pork ribs dribbled with pickled mango.
RELATED Fall's Best New Cookbooks »
New bakeries are on the horizon, and we can smell the buttery goodness from here. The Torrisi guys are hush-hush about Sadelle's, their upcoming bagelry in New York City, but we do know they've tapped former Roberta's baker Melissa Weller for the goods. Ever heard of pljeskavica? Bronwyn's Tim Wiechmann thought not, so that's why he's named his Eastern European bakery/sandwich shop in Cambridge Playska instead—way easier to pronounce than the burger-sausage hybrid. As for the Cakes & Ale crew in Atlanta, inspiration for their soon-to-open all-day café and dessert bar comes from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. There at Bread & Butterfly, you'll find the same baked goods chef Billy Allin is beloved for. New York City's darling doughnut maker and Tom Colicchio's former finance master, Umber Ahmad, is giving her sweets operation a permanent home this fall. You'll still find fleur-de-sel-topped cookies at the new Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery, but more space means ice cream, too.
Beach season is officially over, so you can (finally!) eat all the pasta and pizza you've been craving. Porano Pasta in St. Louis, Missouri, a new casual carb loader from James Beard Award winner Gerard Craft, will let you customize your pasta and eat pastry chef Anne Croy's gelato. Make an extruding excursion to Spaghetti Bros. in San Francisco, where BIX and Fog City alums Erik Lowe and Aaron Toensing are reimagining classics, like green chile-spiked mac 'n' cheese with house-made noodles. Union's Bruce Kalman is tapping into locally milled flour for Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market in L.A.'s Grand Central Market, where he's bringing back East Coast red sauce, as well as dreaming up wonderfully inauthentic noodles, like chewy pappardelle with rabbit sugo. Uchi alum Nicholas Yanes is picturing himself in Piedmont, Lombardi and Emilia-Romagna with Juniper, his Italian oasis in Austin and home to brisket Bolognese. On the brick-oven front, Charlie Bird's Ryan Hardy is tinkering with pizza for the team's upcoming New York City pie-slinging spot. Further uptown, Frenchman Laurent Tourondel is getting his Italian on with L'Amico, his ode to American cuisine with a bit of Italian flair. And don't worry, Denver, there's enough pasta to go around: Beast + Bottle's Paul C. Reilly is taking inspiration from southern Italy for his yet-unnamed restaurant.
Pasta at Porana (Photo: Greg Rannells)
It might be time to retire making Spider-Man movie version No. 1,345, but landmark restaurants are definitely fair game. Right after opening his market-centric Almanac in New York City last fall, chef Galen Zamarra is shutting down his 11-year-old Mas (farmhouse) to revamp the interior, including a newly designed bar and coffee nook, and a fresh fall menu. Uptown, George Mendes is doing the same with his modernist Portuguese restaurant, Aldea, after opening critical blockbuster Lupulo. A bigger bar is serving up Mendes's greatest hits, like sea urchin toast, while the back dining room offers two new tasting menus. Credit new Austin digs as the reason behind all the change at Bryce Gilmore's Barley Swine. Look out for a full bar brimming with house-made shrubs, tonics and sodas.
Earlier this summer, chicken got its due with the thunderous arrival of Shake Shack's ChickenShack and David Chang's Fuku. And right now, the country is hitting peak chicken: The Chew's Carla Hall is continuing the boom in New York with her Nashville hot chicken haven, Carla Hall's Southern Kitchen. Further down south, John Kunkel of Miami's Yardbird Southern Table scored Grandma's best fried chicken recipe and is serving his take on her fried chicken and biscuits at Spring Chicken. The burger dudes at Chicago's DMK Burger Bar are channeling their American classics effort into glorious fried chicken at Arlen's in nearby Evanston, Illinois. And in Dallas, Lisa Garza-Selcer is embracing her rotisserie at Shelby Hall, named after her hometown of Shelby County and the Lowcountry comfort food she's bringing back.
Drinks at Supercrown (Photos: Signe Birck Photography)
Sip 'n' Slide
Fall isn't just about awaiting the return of pumpkin-spice this or hot toddy that. It's all about some pretty ace new coffee roasters and great bottles of wine. James Beard Award-winning sommelier Belinda Chang is lending her talents to Chicago's Maple & Ash, where she is curating bottles to pair with the restaurant's wood-fired cooking. Gorilla Coffee founder Darleen Scherer is dusting off her antique 1952 UG-22 roaster for Supercrown Coffee Roasters, her newest New York City-based coffee company. Through Supercrown, she's handpicking beans for a weekly coffee subscription and brewing coffee milkshakes. Elsewhere in town, barman Eben Freeman is going bodega chic with Genuine Liquorette, his subterranean bar beneath Genuine Superette. His booze machine "Ch-Chunker" is making its debut, which can add booze to any canned drink. In Chicago, La Sirena Clandestina's John Manion is giving Latin beers and spirits the spotlight at his Buenos Aires-inspired spot, El Che Bar. In addition to chef's salads and vegetables, Hugh Acheson also has a thing for coffee. He's teaming up with barista Dale Donchey for Spiller Park Coffee in Atlanta, where they'll be slinging pastries and tartines along with high-quality brews.
Will ramen mania ever die? Not if Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto has a say. The karaoke-loving chef has super-fatty tonkotsu and wavy, chewy noodles on the brain, so he's opening Momosan Ramen & Sake, his first ramen-ya in New York City. Off in Nashville, chef Sarah Gavigan has put the striking similarities in summer harvests and climate between Tennessee and Japan, and is channeling her findings into Otaku Ramen. The Southern-leaning slurp shop mash-up slings its own variation of paitan and shoyu ramen along with steamed buns. For those suffering ramen fatigue, there's light at the end of this noodle-shaped tunnel. Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat are adding another member to the Ganso family: Meet Sushi Ganso, where you'll find, yep, sushi along with pristine sashimi and raw seafood in New York City. Then there's Paul Qui's long-awaited Otoko, his kaiseki-style sushi counter situated in Downtown Austin.
We love what chefs are doing with vegetables these days, but come chilly weather, all we're craving is meat any which way. Atlanta's empire builder Ford Fry is opening his first restaurant in his hometown of Houston, a Texas-style steakhouse. State Of Grace is all about wood-fired meats, Vietnamese-tinged seafood and a walk down Fry's food memory lane. Up north in Dallas, Matt McCallister is also veering away from the thoughtful vegetable-focused dishes he's known for at FT33 and channeling Deep Ellum comfort food, like pork chops smothered with onion jam, at Filament. Providence's Michael Cimarusti has a different protein in mind—fresh seafood. The L.A. chef is making sustainable seafood available for all with Cape Seafood and Provisions and, hopefully, with a fish CSA in the future. As for Chicago's Duck Duck Goat, Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard is dreaming of pork shumai, soup dumplings, and lots and lots of noodles.