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The 7 Must-Visit New Restaurants of Spring 2024

Diners in Atlanta can soon make plans to feast on enormous beef ribs served with nuoc cham, while in New York, sesame milk bread slathered with pimento cheese will be in the spotlight at a promising chef’s first solo restaurant. This spring, a slate of exciting new restaurants is setting up shop across the country: Top Chef contestant Kwame Onwuachi is opening his long-awaited Afro-Caribbean restaurant near The Wharf in DC; in Los Angeles, the duo behind two popular Echo Park restaurants is debuting a French-Japanese bistro. Plus, a Chicago chef’s tribute to Taiwanese noodle shops, a Mexico City–inspired restaurant in Denver, and lots more. These are Bon Appétit’s seven most anticipated restaurant openings of the season.

This list is organized alphabetically by city. The opening dates below are subject to change, so check restaurant websites and Instagram accounts for the latest updates.

Gene’s

Atlanta
Opening: April

Whether it’s the magenta-colored smoker or the neon orange bubble-lettered sign that catches your eye, you can’t miss Gene’s in Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood. After four years of popping up at bars and restaurants around the city, Avery Cottrell’s Viet-Cajun food has finally settled into a permanent space. At the restaurant, named for Cottrell’s 35-pound orange-and-white cat, the team is channeling a playful vibe with riffs on barbecue inspired by Cottrell’s time cooking in New Orleans. Diners can expect hits from the pop-up days like smoked gulf fish dip with buttered saltines, plus Cottrell’s takes on classic barbecue sides like a potato salad with green goddess dressing and gochugaru or beef tallow refried beans.

For dessert, there will be seasonal Georgia fruit hand pies and Biscoff banana pudding. Miles Macquarrie of Kimball House has designed a drink menu you’d expect at a beachy dive bar, with frozen drinks, Jell-O shots, and a Bushwacker—a cocktail that sits somewhere between a piña colada and a chocolate milkshake. The restaurant will also have a weekend late-night menu (think boudin egg rolls and hot wings) and barbecue brunch on Sundays.


Minyoli

Chicago
Opening: April

The headliner at Minyoli is chef Rich Wang’s Taiwanese beef noodle soup. Wang grew up in Taipei and moved to Chicago as a teenager. These bowls of warming aromatic broth, complete with springy hand-cut noodles and fall-apart-tender cuts of beef shank, are his way of paying homage to the noodle shops of juàn cun—the disappearing villages where military dependents settled after departing China in the 1950s. After working in celebrated Chicago kitchens like Fat Rice and the Michelin-starred Boka, Wang headed to the northwestern Chinese city of Lanzhou to study hand-pulled noodle-making and then spent three years cooking in Macau before returning to Chicago to open Minyoli.

His new restaurant celebrates the food of those Taiwanese noodle shops with an inviting menu featuring lu wei (snacks like soft-boiled eggs, firm tofu, daikon, and kombu braised in flavorful stock), seasonal desserts, and drinks that spotlight Taiwanese liquors. Around the dining room, walls and trim are painted a shade of seafoam green, a design decision which Wang took to Instagram to explain: “This iconic color that brought liveliness to otherwise drab urban slums [has] become inseparable from our nostalgic memories of juàn cun.”


Xiquita

Denver
Opening: May

Whether it’s the freshly made stacks of tortillas or the corn husks used to impart sweet smokiness during cooking, nearly everything on the menu at Xiquita celebrates corn. This Mexico City–inspired spot opening soon in Denver is the second restaurant from Erasmo Casiano, who opened Latin American favorite Lucina Eatery & Bar in 2022. Rene Gonzalez Mendez will join Casiano in the kitchen. In addition to corn, Xiquita’s menu will show off ingredients native to Mexico, such as hoja santa and epazote.

A duck leg served with a supple tamal will feature a dark, velvety mole inspired by the great Mexico City restaurant Pujol. To make the mole, the kitchen team will seed, toast, crush, and fry a variety of chiles, nuts, and seeds before leaving the mole to age in a process that will take a total of four days. The traditional Yucatan dish of tikin xic—kanpachi grilled over charcoal in a banana leaf—will come with a side of fresh corn tortillas for wrapping at the table. The drink program will revolve around agave spirits that extend beyond the realm of tequila and mezcal to introduce diners to spirits less known in the US, like raicilla and sotol.


Camelia

Los Angeles
Opening: May

Courtney Kaplan and Charles Namba, the duo behind the beloved Los Angeles restaurants Tsubaki and Ototo, have plans for a new restaurant. They’re known for their modern izakaya-style restaurants that celebrate seasonal LA produce and introduce diners to the world of craft sake and shochu. Now the pair is stepping away from their usual Echo Park digs to open Camelia, a French-Japanese bistro in the Arts District. Their new restaurant will take over the original Nabisco factory space built in 1925 and previously home to the long-running French restaurant Church & State. Kaplan and Namba have partnered with restaurant group Sprout LA, which manages fan-favorite LA restaurants like Republique and Yangban (one of Bon Appétit’s Best New Restaurants of 2022).

With starters like asparagus with yuzu-miso béarnaise, Camelia’s menu will blend influences from the duo’s travels to Japan and Namba’s fine dining background. The team’s unique approach is also on display in main dishes like aromatic bouillabaisse with ginger, yuzu, and chorizo oil and a rich beef fillet with wasabi jus and bone marrow. Kaplan is bringing her expertise in drinks (she won a James Beard Award in 2023 in recognition of her talent) to a menu that includes both sake and wine.


Lola’s

New York
Opening: April

Suzanne Cupps has quite the impressive résumé: The chef worked her way from intern to sous-chef at Gramercy Tavern and headed up the kitchens at Untitled at The Whitney and 232 Bleecker, the sit-down restaurant from the team behind fast-casual Dig. Lola’s is Cupps’ first solo project, and the food will focus on her Filipino American heritage and South Carolina upbringing. The menu at her forthcoming NoMad restaurant is anchored by small plates like sesame milk bread with pimento cheese, beef-and-barley tartare, and fried tilefish lettuce wraps. Larger plates lean into her Southern upbringing: crisp chicken thighs with pantry pickles and fermented hot honey, and heritage country rib skewers with baked beans and Carolina BBQ sauce. Dessert will include Filipino-style leche flan with citrus marmalade, apple hand pies with coconut caramel, and chocolate and black sesame pudding cake.


Lenox

Seattle
Opening: May

The many fans of Jhonny Reyes’s Afro-Latin pop-up will no longer have to run around Seattle to get a taste of his frita cubana or short rib sancocho. Chef Reyes rose to prominence when he helped open the celebrated soul food spot JuneBaby in 2017, and again when he won Food Network’s Chopped in 2022. After growing his pop-up throughout the pandemic, Reyes is opening his first solo restaurant a few blocks from Pike Place Market. He chose the name Lenox as a nod to the avenue of the same name in Spanish Harlem, where he grew up and which inspires his cooking. There will be ropa vieja made with smoked brisket, a sofrito-brined fried chicken sandwich, and hush puppies with citrus-habanero honey.


Dogon

Washington, DC
Opening: Late Spring

Less than two years after Kwame Onwuachi opened his Afro-Caribbean-inspired New York restaurant Tatiana to glowing reviews, the chef is returning to DC to open Dogon. Onwuachi is best known in DC for his work as executive chef at Kith and Kin, which he operated for three years before resigning and moving to New York. The Top Chef contestant and James Beard Award winner is opening his latest restaurant in the Salamander Hotel. Here, much like at Tatiana, he’s focused on his signature style of cooking, drawing culinary influences from the rich culinary cultures of Nigeria, Jamaica, and Louisiana, among others. Many of the hits at Tatiana, like plays on braised oxtail and Jamaican patties, will appear on the Dogon menu, in addition to new dishes inspired by DC culture and history.

The restaurant is inspired by Benjamin Banneker, a descendant of the Dogon tribe in Mali and a Black cartographer and writer who helped survey the city in the late 18th century. Onwuachi incorporated storytelling into the design of Tatiana and will do the same at Dogon: Because Banneker and the Dogon people used stars as their guide, the decor at Dogon will focus on astronomy, with guiding stars painted on the restaurant’s ceiling.

Kate Kassin manages editorial operations at Bon Appétit. She lives for a great snack, follows restaurant openings religiously, and can tell you where to eat in any city.

Correction, 3/29/24: Onwuachi competed on Top Chef, but he did not win.

Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit


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