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Kopitiam
Stuffed crab from Kopitiam
Photo via Kopitiam

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NYC’s 14 Most Anticipated Openings of Spring and Summer 2018

Tropical drinks, Malaysian snacks, and other openings to look out for this season

Timing in new restaurant openings always seems like a struggle, but this spring and summer, the vibes of the new crop are right on brand with warming temperatures. Tropical cocktails from Major Food Group and Miami powerhouse Broken Shaker are on deck to open soon, with outdoor space accompanying colorful drinks that beg to be sipped under the sun.

Fish, though enjoyable year-round, feels particularly appropriate in warmer weather, and it’s on the menu at several anticipated openings, including from Spanish food masters Alex Raij and Eder Montero, Williamsburg Japanese fish specialist Yuji Haraguchi, and an eclectic Japanese chain called Zauo, where diners can catch their dinner inside the restaurant.

But from destination pizza to Malaysian snacks, all of these restaurants will be worth checking out. Below, listed by anticipated debut date, are all the newcomers to look forward to in New York this spring and summer.

Una Pizza Napoletana

Key players: Anthony Mangieri, Jeremiah Stone, Fabián von Hauske Valtierra
Target open: Late April/Early May

After some delays, pizza chef Anthony Mangieri’s pizzeria is now on track to open as early as later this week. It’s a big deal, even for a city as saturated with pies as this one. He’s one of the people who helped turn pizzamaking into a haute culinary endeavor in New York City, but he moved to San Francisco years ago, where his Neapolitan pies continued to draw long lines of pizza fanatics. Now, teamed up with the restaurateurs behind small plates phenom Wildair, Mangieri will serve pies in New York once again in a 70-seat restaurant on the Lower East Side. Partners Jeremiah Stone and Fabián von Hauske Valtierra will dish out some small plates and bring in their expertise in natural wines from Italy. 175 Orchard St., between Stanton and Houston streets, Lower East Side

Una Pizza Napoletana
Photo by Dylan + Jeni via UPN

Broken Shaker

Key players: Elad Zvi, Gabriel Orta
Target open: Early May

The Freehand Hotel and its lush, photo-friendly, second-floor lounge is already one of the hottest new eating and drinking spots in town with Gabriel Stulman’s daytime restaurant Studio and ground floor restaurant Simon and the Whale. A final component will be Broken Shaker, a wildly popular tropical cocktail bar from Miami that’s taking over the rooftop space in the Flatiron building. Expect both indoor and outdoor space, as well as a seasonally changing menu of cocktails. Elad Zvi and Gabriel Orta’s work has placed the bar on the James Beard semi-finalist list already, and here, the menu of drinks and snacks will be slightly adjusted for NYC. 23 Lexington Ave., between East 23rd and East 24th streets, Flatiron

Di An Di

Key players: Dennis Ngo, Tuan Bui, Kim Hoang
Target open: May

Vietnamese noodle soup will be the star at Di An Di, a new Greenpoint restaurant dedicated to pho. Expect several different versions of the aromatic staple; a smattering of other Vietnamese dishes may be on the menu as well. The owners all used to work at LES restaurant An Choi, which is known for its pho, and judging by the restaurant’s Instagram, the space will be filled with tons of plants. Chef Dennis Ngo also used to have a stand at Smorgasburg called Lonestar Empire that specialized in brisket. 68 Greenpoint Ave., between West and Franklin streets, Greenpoint

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Kopitiam

Key players: Kyo Pang, Moonlynn Tsai
Target open: May

Kopitiam, a tiny Malaysian snack restaurant with a cult following, closed at the end of last year after a rent hike, but chef-owner Kyo Pang seems to be using it as an opportunity to think even bigger. A newer LES outpost with more seats and longer hours will be open all-day, serving Pang’s family recipes such as coconut milk rice and muah chee, or sweet rice balls. For the reboot, Pang has also brought on a new partner with some major cred. Moonlynn Tsai moved here from LA, where she was an opening partner at super-popular and very hip Taiwanese restaurant Pine & Crane. 151 East Broadway between Rutgers and Pike streets, Lower East Side

The Polynesian

Key players: Brian Miller, Jeff Zalaznick, Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi
Target open: May

Over-the-top restaurant group Major Food Group are already poised to stay on-brand with new Midtown West tiki bar The Polynesian, an outdoor-indoor enterprise on the third floor of the new Times Square Pod Hotel. Expect colorful cocktails and large-format drinks, such as ones in fish bowls and clamshells, and lots of murals in a tropical space. Bartender Brian Miller, a co-owner in the bar and a big player in the popularity of tiki in NYC, created the menu here. Snacks will be available, but the drinks will be the primary draw. 400 West 42nd St., near Ninth Avenue, Midtown West

Kish-Kash

Key players: Einat Admony
Target open: May

Chef Einat Admony’s behind some of the top modern Middle Eastern restaurants in the city, like fast-casual falafel hit Taïm and Nolita restaurant Balaboosta. The latter’s about to close, but she and husband-business partner Stefan Nafziger are still moving full speed ahead to open a new West Village restaurant with a special focus on couscous. At Kish-Kash, Admony will make couscous by hand, a laborious process that takes hours. Here, the grain will be the star, though it will be served with various proteins. 455 Hudson St., between Barrow and Morton streets, West Village

Einat Admony
Einat Admony
Photo by Daniel Krieger

Okozushi

Key players: Yuji Haraguchi
Target open: May

The team behind cult favorite Williamsburg Japanese fish restaurant Okonomi has been slowly expanding its fish footprint, and now, though chef-owner Yuji Haraguchi originally became known for fish ramen and cooked fish, he’s opening a sushi restaurant, too. Like Okonomi, Okozushi will be tiny, with just eight to ten seats. He wants the sushi here to be more price-accessible than at other omakases; it could be anywhere from $25 to $65 for a set. But the style will also be a bit different from other sushi houses around town — Okozushi will serve Kyoto-style sushi, which uses more cured and pickled fish. 376 Graham Ave., between Conselyea Street and Skillman Avenue, Williamsburg

Pisellino

Key players: Rita Sodi, Jody Williams
Target open: May

West Village neighborhood Italian virtuosos Rita Sodi and Jody Williams have partnered up yet again for a more casual restaurant — a 30-seat, all-day place called Pisellino that will also be Italian and in the West Village. Here, the chef duo behind hit Via Carota will translate their mastery of rustic Italian for a cafe setting, starting with breakfast and rolling into lunch and dinner with paninis, snacks like bomboloni, and cocktails. It will be open from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., inspired by the all-day operations in Italy. 100 7th Avenue South, at Grove Street, West Village

Rita Sodi
Rita Sodi
Photo by Alex Staniloff

Japan Village

Key players: Tony Yoshida, Takuya Yoshida
Target open: Late May/early June

A huge market dedicated to all things Japanese will soon be joining the growing number of options at Industry City in Sunset Park. Six food stalls, a sake store, an izakaya, and a grocery will be in the Eataly-style complex, spanning a whopping 20,000-square-feet. The operators Tony and Takuya Yoshida have cred, too; they’re behind Michelin-starred Kyo Ya and grocery store Sunrise Mart. Considering New Yorkers’ obsession with Japanese food, the market with everything from onigiri and takoyaki to sushi and ramen could end up being just the destination Industry City needs. 220 36th St., between 2nd and 3rd avenues, Industry City, Sunset Park

The Pilar

Key players: Alex Raij and Eder Montero
Target open: Early summer

Husband-wife duo Alex Raij and Eder Montero have had Spanish food hits like La Vara and El Quinto Pino for years, restaurants that have been become acclaimed city-wide and beloved locally. Cobble Hill cafe Tekoá wasn’t quite the success of their other restaurants, turning more into a coffee shop than a restaurant, so the couple will soon flip it into a place highlighting dinner and seafood. The Pilar’s menu will be fish-heavy, with attention toward cooked versions versus a raw bar. Though the tiny space will undergo a marked change, certain items from Tekoá, like a popular Turkish breakfast, will return. 264 Clinton St., at Verandah Place, Cobble Hill

Eder Montero and Alex Raij
Eder Montero and Alex Raij
Photo by Alex Staniloff

Leonelli Taberna and Leonelli Focacceria e Pasticceria

Key player: Jonathan Benno
Target open: June

Chef Jonathan Benno is not necessarily a household name, but he’s beloved by fellow chefs and has been called “criminally under-appreciated” for his food over the years. He left his role as executive chef at upscale UWS restaurant Lincoln last year, and now, Benno is in charge of three restaurants at The Evelyn Hotel in Nomad, with the first two expected to open this summer. Leonelli Taberna and Leonelli Focacceria e Pasticceria will both pull inspiration from Rome: The first is a trattoria with a cocktail bar and lounge, while the other will be a bakery and cafe, open all day with focaccia sandwiches, soups, and salads. In the fall, the flagship restaurant Benno will open as well, a more upscale outfit serving Mediterranean food. 7 East 27th St., between Fifth and Madison avenues, Nomad

Atomix

Key players: Junghyun ‘JP’ Park, Ellia Park
Target open: June

Korean fare continues to be one of the most cutting-edge cuisines in New York, with exciting and innovative restaurants from a slew of ambitious chefs. JP Park, alum of Michelin-starred Jungsik, and partner Ellia Park, planted themselves in this crew with their first restaurant Atoboy, and soon, they’ll be going even more upscale with Atomix in Kips Bay. Here, Park will offer a kaiseki menu, using the format of the hyper-seasonal tasting in Japan but with Korean flavors and traditions. It will also have a cocktail bar. 104 East 30th St., between Park Avenue South and Lexington Avenue, Kips Bay

Zauo

Key players: Noriki Takahashi and his sons Kazuhisa and Takuya
Target open: June

Among the Japanese chains hitting NYC, Zauo is definitely the most unique. In what sounds like a pumped-up, interactive version of a Rainforest Cafe, the restaurant lets people fish for the food that will end up on the table at dinner. In Japan, where 13 locations exist, the spot is a hit with families. Sounds like a gimmick, but the family that owns the restaurant sees it as a way for people to be more connected to the food that they eat, by seeing it from life to plate. The resulting catch comes back to the diner grilled, tempura-fried, or as sushi. 152 West 24th St., between 7th and 6th avenues, Chelsea

A location of Zauo in Japan
A location of Zauo in Japan
Photo via Zauo

Hometown Deli

Key player: Billy Durney
Target open: July

Delays are still plaguing Hometown Bar-B-Que pitmaster Billy Durney’s newest projects, but a sandwich shop inspired by Jewish deli counters in Industry City is supposed to open by this summer. The 1,200-square-foot space will feature smoked meats, including pastrami, for a total of about 10 sandwiches. Corned beef, French dips, chicken salad, and egg salad sandwiches may end up on the menu, too. Meat carvers will be on hand, and eventually, indoor and outdoor seats will be at the sprawling Sunset Park development. Durney’s fried chicken project, though, is still facing delays and does not have a new anticipated opening date. 220 36th St., between 2nd and 3rd avenues, Industry City, Sunset Park

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