This year is quickly stacking up as a game-changer for Southern restaurants. Flame-kissed dishes with global influences are widespread, and we’re noticing an eagerness to incorporate more sustainable practices from fishing to repurposed materials. From re-envisioned Bayou favorites to eagerly awaited brick and mortars, here’s our top 10 most anticipated restaurant openings for 2024.
Eva is the latest addition to Cocowalk, a new dining and entertainment destination to Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood headed by Ariete Hospitality Group. Referencing the sandy shores of the Mediterranean, Eva’s interiors are strewn with a neutral color palette and accents of gold. The ethos of Eva is to offer a space that is approachable yet sophisticated, elevating simple, fresh flavors into inspired plates. Executive chef Ashley Moncada and chef Michael Beltran envisioned the menu to be a discourse through Mediterranean cuisine, moving through breads, small plates, mains, desserts, and aperitifs. Exceptional dishes include bazlama: a Turkish flatbread, foie & dates: date pancakes with foie gras, giouvetsi: Greek stew with monkfish, prawns, and squid, pork schnitzel with oranges, and a “seashell” pistachio baklava.
Hot off the fryer, Ashleigh Shanti’s latest concept, Good Hot Fish, launched in their brick and mortar on January 19. After gaining a cult following popping up at Burial Beer Co. and other local hangouts, lines are trailing out the door for the counter-service only hotspot. Shanti is well-versed in the art of Appalachian cooking and has cooked across the States, including an upcoming feature with Jackson Food and Wine Festival. Needless to say, it’s thrilling to see her with a restaurant of her own design. Good Hot Fish references the nostalgic concept of Southern fish camps with a chef-driven menu featuring hot stewed collard greens, fresh NC-caught catfish sandwiches, sidewinder fries, and hot pepper wings.
Seeking to provide the Triangle with an elevated, modern Indian culinary experience, Tamasha Modern Indian cuisine will open in Raleigh’s North Hills in early 2024. Co-owned by Mike Kathrani and Tina Vora, the concept seeks to celebrate the rich cultural history and flavors of Indian cuisine. Chef Bhavin Chhatwani will head the restaurant’s culinary program, bringing vast knowledge and experience from his time as a chef in Udaipur, Rajasthan, Western India, and across the states. With dishes like Red Snapper Coastal Curry with green mango, coconut milk, and swiss chard and Dum Ki Nalli Gosht featuring an eight-hour slow-cooked lamb shank, their menu highlights fresh flavors and impressive culinary talent.
Set against a lively east downtown neighborhood, Agricole Hospitality’s latest concept, HiWay Cantina Tex-Mex Bar & Grill, offers a casual and approachable reprieve from the Houston heat. With familiar Tex Mex favorites like chicharrónes, chile con queso, and chimichangas and more adventurous options like chipotle-glazed shrimp brochette, the cantina satisfies a range of palates and preferences. At the bar, find an extensive list of beer, margaritas, and ranch water, an iconic Texan drink. Their highlighted “Hellfire Margarita” with habanero bitters and cucumber promises to be a refreshing sipper poured beside their guacamole tropical with pico, mango, passionfruit, and pineapple.
A sustainable seafood market and restaurant in the heart of Mid-City New Orleans, Porgy’s displays the biodiversity of wild-caught options along the Gulf Coast. Spearheaded by hospitality leaders and longtime advocates for sustainable fishing, Marcus Jacobs, Caitlin Carney, Dana Honn, and Christina do Carmo Honn, the market will offer everything from rare fish filets to fish jerky. The restaurant will feature a menu of New Orleans classics like seafood gumbo, but also host rotating sandwiches and crudo featuring the latest catch. Dine at Porgy’s for lunch or happy hour and pair your “Muffulettu” (Porgy’s take on the Sicilian muffuletta) with a signature frozen daiquiri or low ABV cocktail.
Our Snapshot Austin newsletter writer Veronica Meewes shared her anticipation for the debut of Bambino pizzeria in our recent article What’s On the Horizon for 2024–and we couldn’t agree more. Following their beloved flagship concept L’Oca d’Oro, Adam Orman and Fiore Tedesco plan for Bambino to live as a tribute to Tedesco’s Italian-American childhood as well as the pizzerias of the 80s. Think: high-brow dough fermentation for undeniably refined pies and a carefully selected wine list paired beside soft serve ice cream and fresh-baked cookies. Keeping with their ethos for sustainable restaurant models and Orman’s work with Good Work Austin, Bambino will also serve as a progressive model for restaurant reprioritization and revitalization in the Austin community.
Housed underneath live oaks, outdoor chandeliers, and billowing sails, Johns Island’s first fire-to-table concept is a can’t-miss experience. Guests are ushered into the open-air dining room surrounding a massive wood-fired grill by an emcee who will walk them through the dining process and menu. Envisioned by Thomas Wilson, TJ Lynch, and chef Josh Taylor, guests can anticipate flame-kissed dishes like whipped ricotta with smoked tomato, wood-fired oysters, grilled whole fish, and charred wedge salads. For libations, Lost Isle will be home to ice-cold martinis and Manhattans as well as a myriad of house-made cocktails on tap.
Jaunt to Saint Bibiana for a taste of coastal Italy set within the historic mansion, Hotel Bardo. A nineteenth-century Southern gothic building transformed into a luxe boutique hotel and neighborhood club, Hotel Bardo is set to open in February 2024. Saint Bibiana is named for the fourth-century patron saint of hangovers and offers exceptional dishes with effortless elegance. Headed by executive chef Derek Simcik, the menu reflects timeless Italian dishes through a modern lens. Crafted with high-integrity ingredients and acute precision, find house-made pastas, vegetable-driven contorni, mediterranean antipasti, and elevated al fresco spritzes on their menu.
Paseo is a wood-fired restaurant housed within Highland’s iconic Myriad Hotel. Paseo focuses on incorporating fresh ingredients from local purveyors for a menu that fuses Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Formerly a disco ball factory, the Myriad has maintained its incomparable shine and enviable location next to some of Louisville’s most sought-after bourbon distilleries. At Paseo, bourbon is never far from your tastebuds. Executive chef Jeremy Frederiksen and Common Bond Hotel culinary director Mike Wajda have incorporated bourbon sustainability practices within the kitchen. The team at Paseo repurposes old bourbon barrels as means for menu inspiration whether that is pickling or utilizing the wood staves to smoke meat and vegetables.
Nina Compton and Larry Miller’s Bywater Bistro has been reborn as BABs. The quick but eagerly anticipated reopening of the space was revealed on January 19. BABs embodies the ethos of warm familiarity that the duo envisioned for everyday dining. Compton is nationally recognized for her finesse in the kitchen, and with a fresh perspective, her expertise is displayed in dishes like wagyu beef lasagna, arancini with paddlefish caviar, branzino puttanesca, shrimp fra diavolo, and buttermilk zeppole. Guests can also expect a return and revamp of the restaurant’s award-winning list of Old and New world wines, now tucked away in an in-house wine cellar. This reincarnation of Bywater Bistro breathes new life into the beloved community restaurant with national acclaim.
- by Lena Melentijevic
- by Emily Havener
- by Erin Byers Murray