From celebrity chef expansions to fast-casual upstarts, 2018 is poised to be a crazy exciting year in dining. Here are 30 openings in 15 major U.S. cities to look forward to this year.
Atlanta: Tiny Lou’s
ETA: Late spring
The renovation of Poncey Highland’s iconic Clermont Hotel — or rather, Hotel Clermont, if you’re one for lofty rebranding — has all of Atlanta’s attention. The storied Clermont Lounge strip club–slash-watering hole–slash–ATL institution beneath the hotel will remain in all of its divey splendor, but the entire rest of the structure’s being revamped after nearly a decade of closure. Along with that fancification comes new eateries, the most notable of which is Tiny Lou’s. Managed by the Charleston-based company Indigo Road, who also run ATL’s Oak Steakhouse, O-Ku, Donetto and more, the restaurant will spotlight the cuisine of chef Jeb Aldrich (ex Noble Fin, 4th & Swift). The French-influenced eatery will serve up brasserie-style fare: think steak frites and trout almondine. The hotel will also sport separate lobby and rooftop bars.
789 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE; 470-485-0085
ETA: Late spring/early summer
Chef Jason Liang’s sushi-and-more izakaya Brush in downtown Decatur solidified his reputation for high-quality, creative and gorgeous Japanese fare. He and his team now have their sights set on Atlanta’s tony Midtown neighborhood with the upcoming Momonoki, which will focus on sushi and Japanese comfort food alike. Whether Liang will split his time between the two to offer up his top-notch omakase experience isn’t yet clear; look for more details when the spot opens in the Modera Midtown development still under construction.
ETA: January 18
Austin will finally get its first food hall in January, when Fairground opens in the urban plaza at Congress and Cesar Chavez. The site is curated, and will be managed by, ELM Restaurant Group (24 Diner, Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden, Italic and Irene’s) and includes a roster of MVP vendors like Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, Dai Due (opening Dai Due Taquería), Contigo, Emmer & Rye (opening all-day cafe Henbit), Easy Tiger and Komé/Daruma Ramen (opening sushi-ramen spot Ni-Komé).
After hosting pop-ups all around town, The Chameleon Group (Swift’s Attic, Wu Chow) will launch its latest concept in the Lamar Central building. Guild’s seasonally inspired, seafood-driven menu, created by executive chef Sterling Ridings (formerly of Uchiko), draws from broad and diverse influences and will be served in a comfortable yet contemporary atmosphere.
Time for a hat trick? After earning local buzz and national plaudits (including a Best Chef: Northeast nod from the Beards), Michael Scelfo is following up his Harvard Square hits Alden & Harlow and Waypoint with Longfellow, destined for the former Cafe Algiers space (conveniently located just above Alden). Mum’s the word on the specific direction of this third entry from Scelfo, but his name alone secures big hype — and high hopes.
Have we hit peak fast-casual? Perhaps. But here’s one exciting upcoming addition that, by the sound of it, has the potential to join some of the city’s best. After all, Spyce is billed as a “first-of-its-kind” restaurant that has “redesigned and re-engineered the robotic kitchen,” says a rep for the concept, which was founded by four MIT alums who previously launched a fully automated eatery in a campus dining hall. This is a much-graduated, Downtown version developed in collaboration with — wait for it! — Daniel Boulud (pictured here in Boston’s Bar Boulud mode). A robot-run restaurant for healthy on-the-go eats developed with one of the food world’s most prominent international chefs? Consider us intrigued.
Chicago: Good Fortune
As evidenced by his sterling work at Honey’s, Charles Welch is a chef to watch, and this year he’s going big as he opens a new restaurant with Andrew Miller under their newly formed hospitality group, Out to Lunch. Good Fortune started as a pop-up in Logan Square, but after earning quick accolades, the duo fast-tracked plans for a permanent outpost. Details and address are still TBD, but if the pop-up’s emphasis on sustainable seafood is any indication, it’s safe to expect a nautical tilt with an impressive eye for presentation.
ETA: Late spring
One of the city’s top mixologists is partnering with an acclaimed fine-dining team for what’s sure to be a game-changing cocktail bar. Kumiko is a Japanese-inspired venture from Julia Momose, who’s working with Noah and Cara Sandoval of Oriole on the West Loop spot. Not much is known, aside from the fact that this place will be both refined and relaxed, like Oriole. There will be 11–15 cocktails on the menu at any given time, along with an omakase-style tasting menu featuring both cocktails and food.
Denver: Zeppelin Station
Having helped turn the national spotlight on RiNo with TAXI and The Source, the visionaries of Zeppelin Development are at it again with this multicultural food hall on the light rail. Vendors so far include a branch of beloved banh mi shop Vinh Xuong Bakery, whose owner Duc Huynh will also run a Vietnamese coffee shop called Dandy Lion; an Indian street-food stall, Namkeen (pictured), from Spuntino’s Cindhura Reddy (a 30 Under 30 alumna) and Elliot Strathmann; Injoi, with Korean fried chicken from Acorn’s Bill Espiricueta, also a past 30 Under 30 honoree; Quebecois kitchen Au Feu; not one but two bars — the casual, travel-themed Kiss + Ride and the chic, sexy mezzanine-level Big Trouble — and the list goes on, from poke to gelato. Excited yet?
Dallas: Gung Ho
Here’s another one that rolled over from last year, but the wait will certainly be worth it. Exec chef Kirstyn Brewer (Victor Tangos) will lead the kitchen team at this HG Sply Co. next-door neighbor and sibling eatery in the former Remedy space, which has been expanded and renovated. Updated and elevated Americanized Chinese food favorites are the name of the game, with an orange chicken that takes inspiration from duck à l’orange, as well as brand-new dishes such as the cumin lamb (pictured) featuring roasted lamb shoulder marinated in cumin, garlic, spices, lots of cilantro, chiles and preserved lemon.
After making 2017’s “Most Anticipated Openings” list and then getting delayed, the extravagance of NYC finally comes to Uptown with this lavish import for upscale Italian with French accents. Tuscan recipes from the kitchen of mamma Egidiana Maccioni get transformed into artistic masterpieces of color, texture and shape. The over-the-top Dallas space will feature outlandish amenities including a glass-bottom second-story pool surrounded by cabanas and access to the spa in the adjacent tower.
2519 McKinney Ave.; 214-708-7383
Denver: Death & Co
ETA: Late March/early April
Magnificent as the New York original may be, Death & Co’s Alex Day wants Denverites to know that he and partners David Kaplan and Ravi DeRossi “aren’t simply dropping a facsimile” into The Ramble Hotel outpost in RiNo. For one thing, it’ll be much more than a cocktail bar. In the lobby — which “pays homage to the grand bars of hotels” amid “mixed beautiful furniture and dramatic light fixtures” — they’ll operate an all-day cafe, complete with coffee and tea service that Day promises will be “creative, with a tie-in to cocktails even during the day” as well as menus varied and “robust” enough that “you can nibble or have a meal if you like.” Come evening, you’ll find a wider array of cocktails with an expected “eye toward really high-quality product, including beautiful glassware” and a focus on standout local brands — think drinks made with beer from TRVE, Cerebral or Ratio. Meanwhile, the wine list will emphasize natural and biodynamic producers as well as grower champagnes. And then there’s the evening-only mezzanine bar — a “wonderfully intimate nook” where the “threads of influence back to New York” will be most obvious.
Houston: Lyric Market
Clark Cooper Concepts (The Dunlavy, Ibiza, Punk’s, Coppa Osteria) will unveil the first of its kind in Houston: a massive 31,000-square-foot glass-enclosed food hall and culinary shopping destination in Downtown intended as both a local hangout and tourist magnet. Though specifics about who and what will take the spaces are yet to be determined, we do know it will include an underground speakeasy and second-level open-air terrace and cafe.
411 Smith St.; 713-452-9000
Houston: Georgia James
ETA: Mid to late 2018
When local celebrity chef and James Beard Award–winner Chris Shepherd (Underbelly, Hay Merchant, One Fifth) closed his first One Fifth concept, One Fifth Steak, he couldn’t shake his enthusiasm for the steakhouse and sought to open a dedicated permanent location. Enter Georgia James, named for Shepherd’s parents. It will replace his existing Montrose nose-to-tail restaurant Underbelly with a sleek glass-and-steel space serving favorites from One Fifth, including classic steakhouse dishes and cold seafood. Underbelly will close in late March.
1100 Westheimer Rd.; 713-528-9800
Los Angeles: The NoMad LA
Restaurateur Will Guidara and chef Daniel Humm will finally debut their restaurant in the new NoMad Hotel in the Financial District. The building has great bones — it opened in 1923 as the LA headquarters for the Bank of Italy — so expect jaw-dropping design incorporating the already lavish original marble floors and gold ceilings. There will be plenty of spaces for eating and drinking, including a coffee bar, lobby bar and restaurant, mezzanine restaurant and rooftop cafe. Chris Flint, formerly of Eleven Madison Park and NoMad NY, has moved west for exec chef duties, and Leo Robitschek will oversee the cocktail program.
Los Angeles: Tartine Manufactory
If you’ve been to San Francisco in the last year, or know some food-loving friends who have, surely you’ve heard about Tartine Manufactory, the bakery and restaurant complex with some of the best breads and croissants in the country. Owners and chefs Chad Robertson and Liz Prueitt are bringing the Manufactory to Row DTLA, along with Phoenix chef Chris Bianco’s Pizzeria Bianco pies. The bakery, cafe, trattoria, pizzeria, market, coffee lab and roastery will take up nearly 40,000 square feet of space at the new Downtown development.
Miami: Unnamed concept from chef Thomas Keller at The Surf Club Property
By far the most anticipated opening of the year, this new concept by celebrated chef Thomas Keller (Per Se, The French Laundry) will debut within Surfside’s swanky Surf Club Property sometime in 2018. The restaurant is expected to be an ode to old Miami, drawing inspiration from the history of the hotel, which hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor. Keller has confirmed that he will name an executive chef to manage the restaurant’s operations and that he will oversee it.
Miami: The Citadel
Little Haiti is on the restaurant upswing, and it too will welcome a massive food hall in 2018. Occupying the ground floor of Little Haiti’s new Citadel building, the sprawling complex will boast well-known names of Miami’s dining circuit: River Oyster Bar, Cake Thai, Taquiza, Threefold Cafe, Myumi and more.
New York City: Unnamed Mads Refslund concept (pictured above)
ETA: Late spring
Noma co-founder chef Mads Refslund (formerly Acme) will open an upcoming “fire and ice” concept in the former Vice Media headquarters in Williamsburg with a little help from Claus Meyer (Agern, Great Northern Food Hall). Refslund told TV host James Corden that the menu will feature wood-cooked fare paired with lots of raw dishes.
New York City: Una Pizza Napoletana
ETA: Early 2018
After teaming up with Wildair/Contra duo Jeremiah Stone and Fabian Von Hauske Valtierra, Anthony Mangieri will be returning to NYC, bringing his acclaimed (recently shuttered) San Francisco pizzeria back with him. The menu will combine Mangieri’s famous pies along with other dishes and snacks.
Philadelphia: Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Greg Vernick’s spots at the Comcast Technology Center
The Four Seasons at the top of the 60-story Comcast tower will be the home of chef mogul Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first Philly venture. At the base of the building, Philly favorite and Vongerichten mentee Greg Vernick (Vernick Food & Drink) will debut his highly anticipated second restaurant.
The team behind Fishtown’s buzzy new Lebanese market and cafe will debut the restaurant part of the operation in the spring. Its spacious outdoor garden area looks to be a hot new addition to the city’s alfresco dining options.
San Diego: El Jardín
Top Chef Mexico competitor Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins and Rise & Shine Restaurant Group are teaming up to bring a cross-cultural eating experience to Liberty Station. The cuisine focuses on Zepeda-Wilkins’ experience of growing up in Tijuana, San Diego and Guadalajara.
San Diego: An’s Dry Cleaning
A gelato shop with a twist is opening in Normal Heights this spring. It will pay homage to the classic American dry cleaner (yes, really) via both design and flavors. One specialty is the “gelato experience,” consisting of an off-menu palate cleanser and seven gelato flavors such as goat cheese and cactus to be tasted in a specific order.
San Francisco: Angler
The Embarcadero’s former Chaya space will become a raw bar and grill-centric restaurant in 2018, courtesy of Saison’s chef Joshua Skenes and wine director Mark Bright. While the emphasis on live-fire cooking is similar to what can be found in the $398 tasting menu at Saison (pictured), Angler’s à la carte dishes like elk T-bone roasted over embers with coffee beans and chile peppers will be simpler and the price point much more accessible. The 100-seat venue is split between the main dining area, a bar/salon and an entry room with a fireplace, all redone in a maritime theme with exposed brick and mermaid tiles. Regarding that fire theme, Angler’s kitchen will be a dream for grill masters with a 32-foot hearth split into eight cooking style and heat zones. And we know you’re wondering — yes, a draft menu does include Mendocino sea urchin on grilled bread, a dish no doubt inspired by the beloved uni toast at Saison. A Los Angeles branch of Angler will also open in fall 2018.
San Francisco: Bon Voyage!
ETA: Late winter
Get ready for more clever and unusual cocktails in 2018 because the ever-creative BVHospitality team is opening a second bar. Bon Voyage matches one of SF’s hippest locations with a bar team whose blockbuster debut (Trick Dog) remains the city’s most important cocktail destination. Bon Voyage will, appropriately, shake and stir drinks inspired by exotic spots in Asia, Africa and California, and the menu will rotate regularly, unlike Trick Dog’s twice-yearly menu. With drinks like a riff on a Singapore sling or a carbonated Bamboo cocktail with champagne yeast, guests can enjoy a food selection of elevated bar bites with the same theme as the drinks. Acclaimed local designer Wylie Price (Ramen Shop, The Progress) is responsible for the new look of the two-level Mission venue on Valencia that was the original Slanted Door and most recently Urchin Bistrot. Look for an eclectic, retro decor that will mix a fun animal theme with various geographic locations and time periods like “Palm Springs in the ’70s.”
Seattle: Renee Erickson projects
ETA: January for Amazon employees, early summer for everyone else
Amid the 3,000 plants in the Amazon Spheres will soon sit a restaurant and bar from Renee Erickson. Additionally, there will be a General Porpoise coffee shop and a salad/sandwich counters called Rana e Rospo for only Amazon employees, but what’s really exciting is the upcoming restaurant and bar concepts. According to Seattle Met, the restaurant will focus on Italian fare based on Erickson’s time spent in Rome, complete with a wood stone oven. The bar will be inspired by “high-end hotel bars of a bygone Manhattan.”
Seattle: Little Fish
Bryan Jarr (Jarr Bar) and chef Zoi Antonitsas are cooking up something really special in a beautiful space in the Pike Place expansion. The place will be focused on the seafood bounty available in the PNW — and even a tighter focus on how to preserve it. Although construction delays have handicapped the progression of the space, you can check out a preview at a Little Fish preview dinner, held the first Monday of every month at Cicchetti.
The newly opened Adams Morgan hotel features several exciting food and drink collaborations, some of which have yet to open. Washingtonians and travelers will soon finally be able to try the fare at A Rake’s Progress, Baltimore chef Spike Gjerde wood-fired mix of Maryland and mid-Atlantic cuisines blended with other Southern culinary traditions. Meanwhile, the whole city is pretty excited about Maketto’s Erik Bruner-Yang opening Spoken English, an intimate spot for bites that include Peking duck.
Washington, DC: Kaliwa
Irish-born Cathal Armstrong (Restaurant Eve, Society Fair and Hummingbird) has tapped up-and-coming chef Paolo Dungca to bring his unique perspective to the Filipino culinary traditions of Armstrong’s wife, Meshelle, along with dishes from Korea and Thailand, among other Southeast Asian regions. Inside, expect an Asian night market vibe with tattoolike murals, an open-hearth wood grill and light fixtures from the Philippines. Dishes will include a Korean spicy beef soup, Thai red curry with crab and a Filipino-style whole fish stuffed with herbs and lemongrass. An outdoor grill and beer bar joins the party this summer.