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The 23 Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of Fall 2016

Everywhere you’ll want to eat for the rest of the year

It's the most wonderful time of the year for restaurant openings. The fall season, generously defined by Eater as everything from September through the end of the year, is a time for blockbusters, a time for "summer openings" to still debut before city-dwellers scatter for the holidays, a time for tone-setting for the new year to come.



Looking through the many, many eagerly awaited openings this year, you'll notice some patterns. Several restaurants combine two entirely different concepts or service styles in one space, wood-fired cooking is absolutely everywhere, and ever-more chefs are heeding the call of increasingly casual dining. Of course, opening dates are always a moving target, and anything can happen to stall a restaurant operator's most perfectly laid plans. But without further ado, a look at the most anticipated openings of fall 2016.

Double-Duty Restaurants | The Relentless (Fast-)Casualization of Dining | Showstopping Tasting Menus | Wood-Fired Cooking Is the New Normal | Big Second Restaurants | Beloved Restaurant, 2.0 | On the Horizon

Double-Duty Restaurants

This magic trick — two restaurant ideas in one space — is not new, but it's about to be everywhere. Many operators are using one restaurant space to pull double duty: a host of new restaurants will feature casual counter service during the day while offering an upscale experience at night. Pineapple & Pearls in DC, the hit second restaurant from Rose's Luxury chef Aaron Silverman, helped jumpstart the trend this year with its winning combination of daytime coffee shop and tasting-menu-only dinner service.

One theory for its emergence: Rising rents and labor costs, the same forces that have made fast-casual restaurants so appealing to operators, demand restaurateurs squeeze as much profitability out of their spaces as possible. The setup also lets chefs and restaurateurs push themselves in new directions. Some restaurants — like Chicago's Smyth & the Loyalist, another blockbuster opening of 2016 — will offer two separate dining rooms for tasting menus and a la carte dining. But for most of these openings, the focus is on creating two wildly different but equally delicious worlds all under one roof.

DAILY PROVISIONS
Location: New York City
Key Players: Danny Meyer, Sam Lipp, Carmen Quagliata
Target Open: October 2016

You know an idea has legs when Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group gives it a try. Located in a 450-square-foot space next to the new Union Square Cafe, Daily Provisions will serve coffee, breakfast pastries, breads, and a largely to-go menu of sandwiches, salads, and rotisserie items. "It's an idea that's been percolating for years," says Union Square Cafe's director of operations Sam Lipp. "We've always said Union Square Cafe would just crush it if we served breakfast. Daily Provisions will truly be for its community here... part of the wakeup routine, part of your lunch hour at work."

In a way, this makes Daily Provisions a double-duty restaurant two times over, providing a counter-service space within the Union Square portfolio but also, come January, offering its own unique take on dinner, too. The whole operation will be overseen by USC's executive chef Carmen Quagliata, pastry chef Daniel Alvarez, and head baker Justin Rosengarten. "We'll throw dinner parties," says Lipp. "This [will be an] awesome get-together and extension of your home." | Website

VICIA
Location: St. Louis
Key Players: Michael Gallina, Tara Gallina
Target Open: November 2016

When these two Blue Hill at Stone Barns alums announced their plans to open a restaurant in St. Louis, it made national headlines. But chef Michael Gallina (BHSB's former chef de cuisine) and his wife Tara (BHSB's former senior dining room captain) are diverging from their fine-dining past. "We don't want to be a special occasion restaurant," Tara says. They hope to see repeat customers for both lunch and dinner.

"We want the nighttime and daytime menus to connect, but with a very different style."

By day, Vicia will be a lunch workhorse for those in the Cortex "innovation district," a burgeoning St. Louis tech hub. Think counter service with a frequently rotating menu of salads, grain bowls, soups, and tartines. By night, Vicia will transform into a more elevated table service setup, offering an a la carte menu with special attention paid to vegetables. "We want the nighttime and daytime menus to connect, but with a very different style," Michael says. "If we're working on a whole pig, maybe the not-as-popular cuts go to dinner, but at lunch we could do ham." Like many other openings this fall, the star of the Vicia kitchen will be a wood-fired grill, and Michael is already plotting creative ways to use it for vegetables, like cooking them in the embers. | Website

THE PURPLE HOUSE
Location: North Yarmouth, Maine
Key Players: Krista Kern Desjarlais
Target Open: October/November 2016

The first thing to note is that North Yarmouth, Maine is not Portland; the charming small town is a roughly 30-minute car ride north. "There's an Agway, a diner, a farm store, a gas station, a real estate office, and an insurance office," says James Beard-nominated chef Krista Kern Desjarlais of the city where she's opening her latest project. (Desjarlais is best known for the lamented, now-closed Bresca in Portland and the more-casual Bresca & the Honey Bee in North Gloucester.)

At the aptly named Purple House, cooking will be fueled only by the small bakery's wood-fired oven; mornings will begin with Montreal-style bagels and a serious coffee program, really the only one in town. Other "rustic breakfast pastries" will follow suit, and as the oven's temperature cools down, more delicate baked goods will be prepared mid-morning. Come lunch time, the menu will switch to Roman-style pizza, hearth breads like boule and baguettes, and vegetables. But once a month — and in the future, perhaps more often — Desjarlais will flex her fine-dining muscles for exclusive 10-to-12- seat dinner events inspired by a theme she says will be, "completely dictated by the time of year, ingredients, or a style of service." | Website

SENIA
Location: Honolulu
Key Players: Chris Kajioka, Anthony Rush
Target Open: November 2016

It's not that Honolulu lacks upscale dining options — consult past Eater Heatmaps and you'll find numerous restaurants catering to the special occasion-crowd. But chef-partners Chris Kajioka and Anthony Rush (a Honolulu local and Brit, respectively) bring the fire-power that comes from being two Per Se alums. They plan to offer both an invigorating take on Hawaii fare in their casual dining room and a tasting menu served at a counter and chef's table. While the crew tells Eater they might push the envelope in how they "use Hawaii's local and native ingredients in different ways than most people are used to experiencing them," the team also says they want Senia to feel like "a neighborhood restaurant in Chinatown, while being progressive and constantly evolving." | Website

"For me, it’s really exciting because you get the best of both worlds. I enjoy the broad spectrum of that."

ENTENTE
Location: Chicago
Key Players: Brian Fisher, Mari Katsumura, Ty Fujimura
Target Open: September 2016

Two distinct dining rooms, two distinct menus, one kitchen team. That's the setup at Entente, where guests in the 20-seat front dining room can dine on a concise a la carte menu of roughly 10 to 12 savory dishes from former Schwa chef Brian Fisher, and a dessert menu from local pastry star Mari Katsumura. In the back dining room, guests will find additional seating, but at the tasting counter, it's a tasting menu experience all the way. In terms of the food, expect seasonality and technique to be paramount, while service aims to be "elevated but not uncomfortable."

"For me, it's really exciting because you get the best of both worlds. I enjoy the broad spectrum of that," Katsumura says. Fisher agrees, noting that by having both menus, he can "do whatever I want… it takes away restrictions." For owner Ty Fujimura, this setup is as much about cultivating repeat customers as it is about culinary exploration. "The dining experience can be what you make of it," he says. "You can come in for a cocktail and small plates or a more expansive experience." | Website

The Relentless (Fast-)Casual­ization of Dining

Never for a minute doubt that the future is fancy chains. One hundred locations in, Danny Meyer's Shake Shack has utterly transformed the way serious chefs approach building their brands. Ultra-casual counter-service is increasingly standard, and as labor costs continue to rise, don't expect that to change any time soon. Fast-casual affords chefs the opportunity to streamline service, reach more diners, and, yes, potentially make bank by opening several more locations. Even for chefs not immediately eyeing expansion, this approach has proven that serious culinary endeavors can happen at even a humble sandwich shop.

"That’s one of the beauties of the food world now, you can get really into making something that would normally be a very humble food."

"Every chef I know, we all love to go out for a burger or ramen at the end of the night," says Seattle chef John Sundstrom. "That's one of the beauties of the food world now, you can get really into making something that would normally be a very humble food."

And that "cook the way you want to eat" approach is evolving. Easily-acquired, good-tasting bowls, salads, sandwiches, wraps, and of course, pizza obviously fill a niche for busy diners who care about things like sourcing, labor practices, and health. Chefs and restaurant operators are more health-conscious than ever, it seems, and are juggling an ever-expanding set of demands on their time (ahem, Instagram, brand partnerships, reality television competitions). In other words, a quick, delicious grain bowl has become a priority for culinary professionals, too. Chefs, they're just like us?

MADE NICE
Location: New York City
Key Players: Daniel Humm, Will Guidara
Target Open: October 2016

The hook: Quick-service fare from the team behind beloved three-Michelin-starred tasting menu playground Eleven Madison Park. Sound familiar? If it does, that's because it's a redux of how fast-casual thought leader Shake Shack began — as a hot dog cart with kitchen operations at Eleven Madison Park, which Meyer owned at the time. (Three years later, in 2004, Shake Shack opened a permanent kiosk in Madison Square Park.)

"With Made Nice we wanted to build a restaurant in the NoMad neighborhood that we knew was missing," says restaurateur Will Guidara. "This community has been our home for years now, but we've been craving a place that we can visit almost every day for delicious, wholesome food and warm hospitality." Details are still scant, but diners should expect an eight-to-10 dish menu in the $12 to $15 price range. | Website

MEAN SANDWICH
Location: Seattle
Key Players: Kevin Pemoulie, Alex Pemoulie
Target Open: November 2016

Opening a Seattle sandwich shop might not be an obvious next step for the restaurateurs behind the now-closed pioneering Jersey City restaurant Thirty Acres, but to chef Kevin Pemoulie it makes total sense. "We owned Thirty Acres on our own," he says. "Trying to get back to that in a new city felt really daunting. We felt like we could accomplish what we wanted to accomplish food-wise in a streamlined way, using sandwiches as a medium. It seems like a great way to enter into Seattle."

Once again owning and operating the restaurant with his wife Alex Pemoulie, Kevin plans on serving what he's calling "hot griddled sandwiches," and he wants to be clear that he's not doing any riffs on East Coast subs, Jewish deli sandwiches, or cheesesteaks. Instead, many sandwiches are actually inspired by plates served at Thirty Acres' brunch, but work better on bread. He'll also be offering seasonal sides and vegetables on an all-day menu that will be available from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for both dining in and carry-out. He compares the concept to Brooks Headley's hit veggie burger destination Superiority Burger, a boutique take on the fast-casual restaurant. "There's actual cooking being done, but it's arranged to be done quickly," Pemoulie says of Mean Sandwich. "We want high turnover, a lot of take out, and a lot of delivery." | Website

SOUTHPAW
Location: Seattle
Key Players: John Sundstrom, Kelly Ronan, JM Enos
Target Open: October 2016

In the space that was once home to Seattle fine dining stalwart Lark, which has since relocated, Beard Award winner John Sundstrom and his crew are opening a super-casual pizzeria — which Sundstrom says makes sense given their Capitol Hill location, which is home to a university as well as high schools. "Lark was always on the more upscale side, nothing that the 20-year-olds can afford," he says.

Sundstrom is eager to create a more efficient concept that requires fewer hands to execute. "We're adapting to the labor rules and the changing market," he explains. "With this kind of thing, it's a great chance to equalize the whole staff... and everyone can make a great starting wage." When it comes to the pizza, Sundstrom's wood-fired oven will be used to create his own style made from a high protein, 24-48 hour dough, and topped with veggies from the Lark garden. "There's a ton of pizza right now in Seattle," he adds. "I think it's just to our neighborhood's and city's benefit." | Website


Showstopping Tasting Menus

Yes, chef-ified quick-service is coming to a restaurant near you, but don't fear your fast-casual overlords just yet. The tasting menu is alive and well in 2016 — just look at Eater's current National 38 and Best New Restaurants list. What's exciting about the three projects below is that in each case, the tasting menus were developed by debut chefs. Opening a fine dining restaurant first is a bold, and potentially risky, move.

Also noteworthy is where these are happening: In Northern California, the country's current fine dining hub that's home to Manresa, Saison, Benu, Restaurant at Meadowood, and Atelier Crenn, to name only a few; in Chicago, where tasting menus at El Ideas and Alinea remain remarkably fun; and in the power-dining capital of DC, of late a tasting menu boom town.

SINGLE THREAD FARMS RESTAURANT & INN
Location: Healdsburg, California
Key Players: Kyle Connaughton, Katina Connaughton
Target Open: October 2016

This one's been a bit delayed, but given the project's scope, it's no surprise. Single Thread comprises a working farm, a tasting menu-focused restaurant, and an inn devoted to the Japanese omotenashi concept of hospitality. It's a joint effort between chef Kyle Connaughton and his wife Katina, a farmer. Kyle's impressive resume includes years in the Fat Duck Experimental Kitchen and working for legendary French chef Michel Bras in Japan. Remarkably, Single Thread will be his first restaurant as an owner and lead chef.

"My relationship as a chef with my farmer is: That’s my wife. This is our life and our conversation."

Putting his unique background into practice, Connaughton will offer dishes highlighting the farm's own produce, the surrounding area's bounty, modernist techniques, and Japanese influences. "The restaurant is based off Katina, her team, and what they're producing," Kyle told Eater last year. "My relationship as a chef with my farmer is: That's my wife. This is our life and our conversation." Eater called this the biggest opening of 2016 which, if all goes according to plan, it's still on track to be. | Website

THE SHAW BIJOU
Location: Washington, DC
Key Players: Kwame Onwuachi, Gregory Vakiner
Target Open: November 2016

This is one hotly anticipated opening, and has been since Top Chef alum Kwame Onwuachi announced his plan back in 2015. The 26-year-old is coming out the gate of swinging, debuting with a $185 tasting menu in DC's Shaw neighborhood. Earlier this year, Onwuachi told Eater that his cuisine will be "nothing short of global," borrowing from several influences: his childhood in the melting pot of the Bronx, his parents' heritage (his mother is Creole while his father is Nigerian and Jamaican), and his professional background in French technique, honed from working in kitchens like Eleven Madison Park, where he met his partner in the project, Gregory Vakiner.

While the menu is pricey, Onwuachi wants to cultivate a relaxed environment. "We plan to invite people into our home," he says. "We want it to be welcoming and hospitable... whether it's a special occasion or a casual affair." The restaurant has already started selling tickets for November and December, and with only 32 seats in the dining room, it might sell out fast. | Website

ELSKE
Location: Chicago
Key Players: David Posey, Anna Posey
Target Open: November 2016

How of-the-moment is Elske? It could have easily been sorted into any number of our trends. It's a Double-Duty Restaurant (there'll be a tasting menu and a la carte menu, served in the same dining room) and embraces Wood-Fired Cooking Is the New Normal (there'll be a wood-burning hearth). But really, it's the tasting menu diners are buzzing about, thanks to chef David Posey (formerly of Blackbird) and his wife and partner Anna Posey (former the Publican's pastry chef). Expect several courses — both sweet and savory — to come from the hearth, which David loves for the "unbelievable flavor" fire imparts. As for inspiration, think Midwestern meets Danish: The restaurant's name means "love" in Danish, and David grew up spending his summers in Denmark (where his mom is from).

Along with a concise 10-course a la carte menu, the Chicago power couple plans on serving an eight-course menu at a relatively modest $80 price tag. "We're trying to bridge the gap," Anna explains. "There's so many great tasting menus in Chicago." The Poseys promise a "warm and welcoming" room — it'll be "laid back, but also a nice place to go for a date or a special occasion," Anna says. "But if you wanted to come every week, you could." | Website

Wood-Fired Cooking Is the New Normal

Smoke imparts a visceral, elemental flavor. According to the chefs currently enamored with wood-fired cooking, tending an oven is as much a science as an art. It's a fun and challenging skill to master, and immediately connects a chef with the most fundamental aspects of cooking.

While seemingly humble, wood-fired everything is also a fine-dining trickle down. Dan Barber at New York's Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Joshua Skenes at San Francisco's Saison have both been using fire for years — cementing its role in creating some of the most dynamic high-end fare in the country right now. Standbys like Oakland's Camino and Portland, Oregon's Nedd Ludd and Ox have been at it for years, while last year Ashley Christensen had one of the summer's biggest openings with Death & Taxes in Raleigh, featuring a J&R Manufacturing wood-fired grill as its centerpiece. Restaurants of all stripes are relying on the technique to impart flavor, yes, but also to reflect a rustic sensibility that once came from writing farmers' names on the menu.

At the same time, America's lust for serious pizza has also fueled a rise in wood-burning ovens like Stefano Ferrara's, considered the best in the business. Several restaurants highlighted throughout this entire guide will be serving pizza, either as the main draw or in concert with a more generally Italian-leaning menu.

J.C. HOLDWAY
Location: Knoxville
Key Players: Joseph Lenn
Target Open: September 2016

Thanks to James Beard Award-winning Joseph Lenn, the American food world's eyes have turned to Knoxville, where the former Blackberry Farm chef will open his first restaurant in a former photography studio downtown. As at Blackberry Farm, Lenn will continue to explore wood-fired cooking, this time in a large hearth equipped with racks for cooking at different temperatures ("directly over the coals and up high"), in addition to a standard wood-burning oven.

Lenn describes the cuisine as "southeastern regional": A soy sauce made in Kentucky is as much fair game as produce from the big farmers market that takes place just a block away from his restaurant. It's in these regional ingredients that Lenn also sees the influence of Appalachian cuisine on his work. "My grandmother grew up during the depression up on Clinch Mountain — her stories have influenced my cuisine over the years," says Lenn, who notes that when he forages and cooks with what's nearby, he honors that tradition, too. | Website

FELIX
Location: Venice, CA
Key Players: Evan Funke
Target Open: November 2016

Los Angeles chef Evan Funke is known as a pasta savant, and when he departed the stellar Culver City restaurant Bucato in 2015, the city reeled. Luckily for pasta-craving Angelenos, Funke is coming back in a big way with Felix, where he'll serve about 16 pastas based around Italian regions he breaks down into "north, central, southern, and island." Felix will also feature a temperature-controlled room Funke deems a "sanctuary" for serious R&D. "Pasta for me is church; this is my religion I practice every day," he says. "My goal is to create one of the most comprehensive pasta lists I possibly can."

"I’m swinging for the fences here. I’m looking to bring it and bring it better. I hope Los Angeles is ready."

Had Funke stopped right there, the restaurant would already be a guaranteed major opening, especially given his location on Abbot-Kinney in Venice. But Funke is going further with his all-in culinary research style, this time bringing his eye for detail to pizza made in the restaurant's wood-fired oven. Funke spends a lot of time in Italy, and will return to Naples specifically to study pizza-making — but that doesn't mean he'll be making Neapolitan-style pies. "The buzz around this restaurant for me is huge, to come back after the demise of Bucato," he says. "I'm swinging for the fences here. I'm looking to bring it and bring it better. I hope Los Angeles is ready." | Website

AS-YET UNNAMED DAN KLUGER RESTAURANT
Location: New York City
Key Players: Dan Kluger
Target Open: September 2016

Dan Kluger, best known to restaurant obsessives as the former chef of New York City's ABC Kitchen, is not afraid to say his debut solo effort is his "dream restaurant." But while Kluger's keeping the name a secret for now, he openly reveals his vision, which involves "allowing things to speak for themselves," from the food to the design. That simplicity of spirit will be reflected in dishes coming off Kluger's wood-fired grill and oven (yes, there'll be pizza; no, this isn't a pizzeria). Kluger worked with live fire at ABC Kitchen, where he was an early proponent of the vegetable-forward menu that's since taken over New York City. Having faced his share of delays, Kluger says he's "excited to finally do this." | Website


Big Second Restaurants

There's a reason music critics obsess over "sophomore albums" — following a successful debut is incredibly difficult. So too with restaurants. Knowing the right time to open a second restaurant is an art in and of itself, to say nothing of the demanding juggling act required to run two businesses. But second restaurants offer chefs the chance to build and expand on a point of view, explore previously uncharted territory, and cement their place in a local dining ecosystem.

ROSSOBLU
Location: Los Angeles
Key Players: Steve Samson
Target Open: November 2016

For the past four-and-a-half years, chef Steve Samson has been serving crowd-pleasing Italian fare tat Sotto, which Eater LA describes as a Beverly Hills industry hangout, "more than just a neighborhood spot but not quite an impossible-to-get-into destination." Samson's heading to downtown LA for his second restaurant, Rossoblu. It'll be inspired by the warm, familial community feasts Samson grew up attending during summers in his mother's native Bologna. Rossoblu will open as a dinner-only restaurant, but like so many others right now, Samson is considering a counter service lunch setup.

LA has long been an Italian powerhouse, but Samson wants to go in his own direction by keeping the focus zoomed in on Bologna, committing more to regionality (and his wood-burning hearth) than the "chef-driven" style he sees as dominant in LA right now, even at Sotto. "My intention is to be one of the more hyper-regional restaurants in LA. I want it to be an LA restaurant, but focusing on a very small part of Italy," he says. "I'm not really looking to put 'my spin' on anything." | Website

RODNEY SCOTT'S BBQLocation: Charleston
Key Players: Rodney Scott
Target Open: Late fall 2016

This is what those in the business call A BIG FUCKING DEAL. Rodney Scott is the legendary South Carolina pitmaster behind Scott's Bar-B-Q, a decades-old family-run whole hog barbecue mecca in Hemingway, South Carolina about 80 miles northeast of Charleston. (The pulled pork plate alone makes the trip worth it, and is one of Eater's 23 essential barbecue dishes in America.)

Scott just revealed his plan to expand to Charleston with his own barbecue joint, bringing with him his famously porky barbecue plus some new additions like ribs by the slab, more turkey, and maybe mac and cheese. He recently told Garden & Gun that after 30-some years of tending the pit in Hemingway, he started seriously considering a second restaurant about five years ago. "[E]arlier this year I decided to just do it. I said to myself, why not? I need to go for it. Everybody loves barbecue." | Website

TOUPS SOUTH
Location: New Orleans
Key Players: Isaac Toups, Amanda Toups
Target Open: October 2016

Not only are these husband-and-wife restaurateurs going for their second restaurant, they're doing it in the Southern Food & Beverage Museum, where "we'll be encompassing all of the South," says chef Isaac Toups. Toups South will enjoy a symbiotic relationship to the museum: Co-owner Amanda Toups says guests will be able to take cracklin' and cocktails to-go so guests can wander the exhibits and "visually see southern culture and taste it."

Toups made a name for himself with his hearty fare at the Cajun-leaning Toups Meatery (and as a contestant on Top Chef), and plans to carry on the same spirit at the new restaurant. "We really like the format we have at the Meatery — small plates and entrees — so there's no reason to reinvent the wheel," he says. But expect to see a more expanded culinary vocabulary, with dishes ranging from Texas barbecue (Toups has access to Aaron Franklin's original smoker through the museum) to Lowcountry cooking to po' boys. | Website

KITSUNE RESTAURANT AND PUB
Location: Chicago
Key Players: Iliana Regan
Target Open: October 2016

Chicago's Iliana Regan is building her empire one small restaurant at a time. The Michelin-starred chef of Elizabeth had to close her beloved short-lived microbakery, but she's back in the saddle with Kitsune, a restaurant and pub that takes culinary inspiration from homestyle Japanese cooking. She's already teased out a sample menu, which boasts familiar Japanese favorites like okonomiyaki and tonkotsu to more experimental riffs like koji porridge sourdough bread.

While Japanese cuisine might feel out of left field for Regan, she finds plenty of continuity: "It's really small, just like Elizabeth," she told Eater earlier this year. "The inspiration is to do something really casual and fun, and a food that I'm passionate about, [from] a culture that I think has a really beautiful philosophy about food." | Website

AS-YET-UNNAMED PETER SERPICO RESTAURANT
Location: Philadelphia
Key Players: Peter Serpico, Stephen Starr
Target Open: Late fall 2016

Three years after opening his eponymous first restaurant in Philadelphia, chef Peter Serpico is ready for more. Once again partnering with legendary restaurateur Stephen Starr, the former Momofuku Ko chef is heading to the upscale Rittenhouse neighborhood to open a relaxed restaurant with a Korean bent. "I'm excited about cooking a little more casually," Serpico says. "I love what we're doing at Serpico; this is just an opportunity to offer a different style."

Diners shouldn't expect an entirely standard Korean menu, though. Serpico says there'll be "kimchi, oxtail, and chicken stews, grandma-style, banchan-style vegetables, and a healthy amount of heat in some of the dishes, if you want it that way." But he's also told Eater Philly that he plans on bringing his own experiences as a Korean-American to the table. "I grew up with an American palate. The smoke, the char, that's all going to be there." | Website


Beloved Restaurant, 2.0

Sometimes a restaurant chooses to hit pause, and sometimes a pause is forced upon it: Saison moved to a new neighborhood, Momofuku Ko relocated to a larger space, Alinea recently reopened after extensive dining room renovations. While altering any one aspect of a proven success is inherently risky, to stay fresh, sometimes you just have to revamp.

MCCRADY'S
Location: Charleston
Key Players: Sean Brock
Target Open: September 2016

It came as something of a shock to the Charleston system when star chef Sean Brock told the world he was closing the doors to McCrady's this summer. The historic restaurant where Brock made a name for himself is going through some major changes. For one, Brock transformed the space that was originally McCrady's into McCrady's Tavern, which opened in August. But McCrady's, the tasting menu destination, will live on, too, just around the corner.

"Everyone wrote that McCrady's was closing, but that's so untrue. McCrady's is taking a little nap, getting a new set of clothes, a little makeover, and is coming back stronger and cooler than ever," Brock recently told Eater Charleston. "McCrady's will shrink down to 22 seats [with an open kitchen in the dining room], one menu, and it will be the most intense food I ever created. That's not closing McCrady's — that's making McCrady's into what I always wanted it to be. I'm very excited about that." | Website

UNION SQUARE CAFE
Location: New York City
Key Players: Danny Meyer, Sam Lipp, Carmen Quagliata
Target Open: October 2016

After a 30-year run which saw its namesake neighborhood — not to mention all of New York City — go through some pretty massive changes, Union Square Cafe was forced to close its doors due to a rent spike that not even Danny Meyer could stomach. Instead of closing permanently, however, the group decided to relocate a few blocks north, and it's not trivial that the new Union Square Cafe will be the first USHG restaurant to open with the no-tipping, Hospitality Included policy already in place.

Under the leadership of executive chef Carmen Quagliata, that means reinvigorating the blend of Italian cuisine and greenmarket ingredients that took the city by storm so many years ago. It also means doubling down on the restaurant's signature hospitality style, with private dining, two bars (USC was a pioneer in convincing New Yorkers, and the rest of the country, to dine at the bar), and a dedicated space up front for walk-ins. Director of operations Sam Lipp says the menu will continue to highlight "cravable, homey" food, but also dishes that feel occasion-worthy, making the spot ideal for both a big night out or the more intimate feeling of "coming home." | Website


On the horizon...

Looking ahead to 2017, it seems clear that casual Japanese fare will continue to make in-roads in San Francisco as Nick Balla and Cortney Burns, the duo behind the essential Bar Tartine, will open Motze, which Eater SF reports "will offer a globally-influenced menu with strong ties to Japan." Gavin Kaysen, the former Cafe Boulud chef who made waves with his debut Minneapolis restaurant debut Spoon & Stable, is working on a new restaurant. Like Kaysen, chef Michael Corvino is leaving a long-time post at the helm of a celebrated restaurant (the American in Kansas City) to strike out on his own with Corvino Supper Club and Tasting Room.

Other top-tier talents on the move: Former Manresa chef de cuisine Jessica Largey is going out on her own, as is former Next chef David Beran; both are decamping to Los Angeles. A bit further north, acclaimed Restaurant at Meadowood chef Chris Kostow is going casual for his second restaurant Charter Oak. There's something percolating in Pittsburgh as well, as the city eagerly awaits Pie for Breakfast, a revamp of the beloved Legume Cafe. Outside of Pittsburgh, Kevin Sousa is still working on getting his ultra-ambitious, community-minded Superior Motors up and running. And finally, there's chef Sean Sherman and his exciting plans for the Sioux Chef, a restaurant dedicated to "new Native American cuisine."

Hillary Dixler is Eater's senior reports editor. Aud Koch is an illustrator in Portland, Oregon.
Editor: Erin DeJesus
Special thanks to Bill Addison and Meghan McCarron

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