In the Field

What’s On the Horizon for 2024

By: The Local Palate

TLP’s Snapshot newsletter contributors share their anticipated 2024 openings, innovations, and movements in their relevant cities

2024 Forecast In Charlotte

From contributor Asha Ellison

OOne thing Charlotte, North Carolina, refuses to be boring. Whether there’s a Charlotte Football Club (Charlotte FC) match at Bank of America Stadium, a live show at Middle C Jazz Club, or a market at Camp North End, there is always something to do.

I’ve been having the time of my life sharing Charlotte’s food culture with locals, visitors, and Snapshot Charlotte subscribers over the last year and a half. It’s been an honor and a privilege to highlight the growth of Crown Town and to spotlight remarkable chefs, rally behind neighborhood favorites, and impart knowledge about the festivities and events that keep Charlotte busy. It’s exciting to eat, drink, and play in this city—and, with everything I’ve already covered, there’s still so much more to explore.

Cocktails being muddled

Charlotte is an evolving city, and to me, that means we are finding our way. Critics (and maybe I’m giving them too much credit here) often say we don’t have an identity, but I disagree. As a relatively young city, I firmly believe we’ll get better as we age; as more people move to the metro and its surrounding neighborhoods from more diverse locations, they’ll bring with them variety in ethnicity, culture, customs, and interests, creating a demand for more associated experiences. I only hope we’ll embrace it.

For now, one thing we are known for is our growing list of breweries. I know it seems as if there is one on every corner, but I’m anticipating the focus will shift to the city’s cocktail scene in 2024. We’ve laid a strong foundation for craft cocktails—and we’re excelling in the industry. This year, we welcomed and reopened some of the best bars, with equally as impressive mixologists, this city has ever seen. With the team at Dram & Draught holding down South End, Justin Hazelton conjuring up creative cocktails and euphonious sounds for audiophiles at his Plaza Midwood pop-up listening bar, Lorem Ipsum, and Sugar Lounge making it possible for those living spirit-free to make memories with mocktails in hand, some may wonder: How could it get any better? Well, Chief’s is coming. That’s how.

The new cocktail bar by esteemed mixologist Bob Peters is slated to open in NoDa in March 2024, and it’s sure to be a one-of-a-kind experience. The venue, endearingly named after Peters’ late father and the moniker he joyfully chose for his grandchildren to call him, will be the fourth venture of the Built on Hospitality team, which also owns community favorites The Goodyear House, Haymaker, and Old Town Kitchen & Cocktails.

Bob Peters posing in his new cocktail bar set to open in March 2024

So, why would Chief’s be any different? It won’t be when it comes to energy and quality. The 40-seat bar, with a small outside sitting area as well, will feature high-end cocktails in a super-casual environment. Life is hard enough without trying to figure out what you should wear to the neighborhood bar. I appreciate that Peters envisions Chief’s as an unpretentious space. We need more of those in town.

I couldn’t think of a better location than NoDa for Peters to open this bar with its laid-back, go-with-the-flow artistic vibes. It’s so intentional. Peters says he wants guests to feel as if they’ve just left his house and a visit with family. He—and Chief’s—are all about entertainment and Southern hospitality. It’s exactly why they’ll provide spirit-free and low-ABV options as well. But he doesn’t want them to be too curated; he wants folks to tell him what they like so staff can create something just for them.

“I want people to enjoy quality cocktails and leave feeling happy, loved, understood, and energized,” Peters says. “I want them to feel like their love tank is filled up.” Well, hey! I think we could all drink to that!

2024 Forecast In Atlanta

From contributor Lia Picard

dirt church ceramics pouring liquid into a bowl for their 2024 supper club


hat a year 2023 has been in Atlanta! This year brought us the Michelin Guide’s arrival—with four restaurants receiving one star and numerous others receiving accolades—and a slew of new restaurant openings all throughout the metro area. It also, sadly, brought some shocking restaurant closures, with favorites like Redbird and Ammazza shuttering their doors. But let’s not end on a sad note! Here’s what I loved in 2023—and can’t wait for in 2024.

Loved: the omakase boom
While large-scale restaurants offering immersive experiences continue to be a thing, diners also turned to venues offering something more intimate. Omakase restaurants, which usually comprise just a bar with 20 seats or less, continued their growing popularity. Mujō and Hayakawa (both in West Midtown) both won Michelin stars, and new spots opened, like M by Tasuku Murakami within the new Buckhead location of Umi. These dinners are expensive but offer guests a chance to feast on exquisitely fresh fish and interact with the chefs in a way they don’t get at the neighborhood sushi joint.

Loved: intimate dinners 
Beyond omakase, supper clubs had a moment, too. Zach Meloy began offering a biweekly supper club experience out of his ceramic studio, Dirt Church; and Trevor Shankman, a rising star, launched his supper club, Maria, out his family’s home in Kennesaw. I dined at both supper clubs this year, and it’s easy to see why they’re so popular. They have excellent dinner party vibes, making connecting with other guests a breeze, and they let the chefs flex their creative chops in a way not usually afforded by restaurants.

A plate of beans and meat at oaxaca

Loved: regional Mexican offerings
Atlanta has a bevy of neighborhood Mexican joints—Jalisco in Buckhead, Los Rancheros in Dunwoody, and Mezcalito’s in Grant Park to name a few—but this year saw the growing interest in regional Mexican restaurants. One of my personal favorite discoveries was Oaxaca in Chamblee, which opened in February. The restaurant, filled with natural wood and hanging baskets, creates a beautiful backdrop for dishes from the Oaxacan region with standouts like the squash blossom quesadilla and the tamale stuffed with mushrooms in a mole sauce.

Openings I can’t wait for:
Hen Mother Cookhouse, the popular brunch spot in Johns Creek, is opening an Alpharetta location this March. It’ll reside in a historic home right downtown, a perfect setting to enjoy those fluffy pancakes and rich quiche. Also in spring we can look forward to the arrival of Fawn, a 40-seat wine bar from James Beard Award winner Terry Koval. Finally, I can’t wait to see what Kevin Gillespie does with Nàdair, opening in the former Floataway Cafe space.

2024 Forecast In Nashville

From contributor Trisha Boyer

As we bid adieu to 2023, Nashvillians can look forward to a variety of new bars, restaurants, and boutique hotels in the year ahead. From a dining hideaway in Hillsboro Village to out-of-state heavy hitters opening outposts in Wedgewood-Houston, you’ll want to make room in your calendar for these Nashville additions.

An alcove at Bunglaow10 opening in January 2024

Nashville neighborhoods have come into their own over the past decade, developing their own personality and style. Hillsboro Village, with Vanderbilt University at its core, can read collegiate. But this walkable enclave has several new spots that are sure to be embraced by neighborhood residents and beyond. Bungalow10 will open on January 12 with expansive booths, a playful cocktail menu that ranges from craft cocktails to punch bowls, and a globally inspired menu—all the makings of a welcoming neighborhood hangout. Down the road, Akki Grover will launch his new Indian concept in the old J. Christopher’s location. Reviews of his Donelson restaurant, Sindoore, indicate we’re in for a treat. There’s also a charming New Orleans-based boutique hotel slated for the Village. Two existing Craftsman-style homes will house half of The Chloe’s 19 rooms, and there will be a restaurant, bar, and sumptuous outdoor garden and pool designed by landscape designer Gavin Duke of  Duke Design Group.

A decadent dessert at the prixe fixe menu for 2024

I’ve also got my eyes on Wedgewood-Houston. (Stay tuned for my Wedgewood-Houston food and bar crawl with TLP editor-in-chief Erin Murray!) This neighborhood is brimming with creative energy and has quickly emerged as one of the most distinctive areas of the city. NYC-based Pastis, the famed bistro from Keith McNally, celebrated for its lively atmosphere and traditional French fare, will be right at home in the neighborhood next to Soho House Nashville. Another highly anticipated addition is Momotaro. The multidimensional Japanese restaurant led by executive chef and owner Gene Kato is sure to be a delight for the senses, like its Chicago counterpart.Cummins Station will welcome award-winning Philippe Chow, serving opulent Beijing-style dishes. Downtown, there’s The Finch, an elegant but approachable American grill planned for the historic Union Station complex. Theatergoers will appreciate Mimo Restaurant and Bar at Four Seasons Hotel’s recently launched a preshow prix fixe menu with complimentary valet. I’m eagerly awaiting more details about the restaurant and bar from our friends at Urban Cowboy that will open in the historic Arcade. Tickets to a game? Make a night of it at boutique hotel Drift Nashville, which opens later this year with a ground level pool, cabanas, and three food and beverage concepts—steps away from Nissan Stadium. At the tippy top of my list is Fancypants in East Nashville. The JBF-nominated team behind Butcher & Bee and Redheaded Stranger promise “an unexpected and playful take on the traditional fine dining experience,” and while I don’t know exactly what that means, I know it will be worth the wait.

2024 Forecast In Austin

From contributor Veronica Meewes

Austin’s food scene reached new heights in 2023, with a diverse collection of restaurants opening steadily throughout the year. Some of these openings—like Underdog, Fabrik, and Ramen Del Barrio, a few of my favorites—came from transplants who gained knowledge and experience in other places before settling in Austin. While the talented chefs behind El Raval and Bill’s Oyster both have plenty of restaurant experience under their belts, they also chose Austin for their next chapters. And then Elementary, Bureau de Poste, and Craft Omakase all came about when industry friends and colleagues branched off to collaborate on ventures together.

A cocktail at The Statesman Supper club launching in 2024

There was a palpable energy this past year as we finally tucked the pandemic years behind us and entered what I’d call a true culinary renaissance. Looking ahead to 2024, I predict more of that same exciting possibility—especially with the recent opening of Playground ATX, a new community space and incubator concept that intends to help new restaurant concepts launch every six months! As much as I look forward to the award-sweeping pub The Dead Rabbit opening its first location outside of New York and swanky downtown The Statesman supper club launching with a decorated chef at the helm, I am most excited to see Austin veterans grow and expand upon existing concepts.

Adam Orman and Fiore Tedesco, the duo behind Mueller neighborhood Italian gem L’Oca d’Oro, will be debuting a pizzeria in early 2024. Bambino will feature pies fired on naturally fermented dough plus antipasti and dessert inspired by Tedesco’s New York-Italian upbringing. Furthering the sustainable restaurant model they put in place at L’Oca d’Oro (and foster through nonprofit Good Work Austin), they will continue to normalize paying employees a living wage and offering primary care health memberships, PTO, subsidized mental health benefits, and more.

Plates of barbecue piled high at Leroy & Lewis, set to open in 2024

After operating from a trailer for seven years, LeRoy and Lewis is opening their first brick-and-mortar in South Austin, which will give them the space to fully commit to whole animal butchery and continue to improve upon the Texas barbecue industry. After the beloved eastside Nixta Taqueria was forced to close their doors, Austin rallied together to raise money for this restaurant that has done so much for its community. After they spent the fall of 2023 operating at a limited capacity in a tent, I look forward to one heck of a grand reopening in 2024!Toward the end of 2023, a few other hospitality groups announced exciting collaborative new projects in spaces that have been begging for new life. Owners from The White Horse, High Noon, Kitty Cohen’s, and Frazier’s (who teamed up to open East Sixth Street bar daydreamer this past year) are working on their second project together in the Windsor Park space that was once home to Fran’s Hamburgers. Busty’s Bar and Jukebox will be a neighborhood space with retro vibes and “truck stop food” (including all-day breakfast). Another powerhouse group is coming together to open a new icehouse this spring, in the space that formerly housed Contigo. MaieB Hospitality (Olamaie, Little Ola’s Biscuits, Maie Day, Gimme Burger) is partnering with Batch Craft Beer and the Contigo founders to open Redbud Ice House, a casual bar with plenty of outdoor space featuring smash burgers, beer, and soft serve.

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