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A white bowl filled with whipped cream, meringue, and red strawberries set on a teal wooden background Dame [Official]

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NYC’s Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of Spring 2021

From a full-service English restaurant from the Dame team to a Vietnamese comfort food spot in Dumbo, these are the hottest restaurant openings in New York City this spring

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As New York City inches toward the one-year anniversary of its first reported case of coronavirus, the owners behind its more than 27,000 restaurants and bars face many of the same challenges that they endured in March 2020. Close to a year after the state-mandated shutdown of restaurants and bars, rent and utility payments continue to go unpaid, while indoor dining has been put on hold indefinitely due to a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks.

In the face of it all, new restaurants and bars continue to put opening dates on the calendar, including several from last fall that the pandemic postponed until now. There’s a seasonal restaurant coming to Tribeca from an Eleven Madison Park alum, along with a Crown Heights coffee shop that turned to the community — not investors — to get its feet off the ground. The Dame team, fresh off a summer serving fish and chips, is leaning into its English roots at a full-service restaurant in the West Village, while a beloved Bed-Stuy baker is about to show Williamsburg that he’s more than grits and sourdough bread.

A number of restaurant and bar owners also have sophomore projects in the works this spring. The team behind Harlem’s beloved Lolo’s Seafood Shack is opening a second restaurant focused on Mexican and Central American street foods. Two alums of popular cocktail bar Mister Paradise are giving the flour tortilla-wrapped, french fry-stuffed burritos of the West Coast a new home in the East Village. And the wife-and-husband duo behind well-received Em is preparing to open a long-in-the-works Vietnamese restaurant in Dumbo.

Below, see Eater’s full guide to the most exciting restaurant openings this winter and spring in order of their expected opening date.

The exterior of a restaurant space, whose walls are painted black with white plants. An airy window opens onto the sidewalk for takeout.
Similar to the Scratchbread set-up in Bed-Stuy, 7 Grain Army will have a sidewalk-facing window for takeout
Matthew Tilden/7 Grain Army [Official]

7 Grain Army

Key players: Matthew Tilden, Jeffrey Olsen
Target open: “Very very soon,” according to Tilden

Matthew Tilden, the chef behind the wildly popular Bed-Stuy bakery Scratchbread, which closed in October 2015, brings a second project to life with a more ambitious neighborhood restaurant that will serve coffee, kombucha, baked goods, and dog treats when it opens. Scratchbread throwbacks — including its Anson Mills grits and Eggs Benedict-style popovers — may make a return at the new spot, but to start, the focus will be on housemade muffins. Baked goods will be available to order from a sidewalk-facing takeout window, a nod to Scratchbread’s similar set-up, and include flavors like jalapeño and coconut yogurt or carrot-ginger and quinoa. After roughly a year of fundraising, Tilden and co-founder Jeffrey Olsen are preparing to open the bakery “very very soon,” he says. The duo is accepting investors until April. 88 Roebling Street, at North 7th Street, Williamsburg

Daughter

Key players: Adam Keita, chef Dana Heyward, Sarah Elisabeth Huggins, Brian Stoothoff
Target open: February

At the forthcoming cafe and wine bar Daughter, the Crown Heights community is baked into the business model. Eventually, the coffee shop will donate a portion of its annual sales to organizers and local entrepreneurs, while free, cafeteria-style meals will be offered for an hour each day to those who need them. When Daughter opens next month, though, things will be a little more “bare bones,” says Adam Keita, one of the cafe’s co-founders and an alum of Brooklyn coffee destinations Sey and Daymoves. Housemade pastries and coffee from Sey will be available to start, but the cafe’s donated meal program is temporarily on hold until it can purchase additional kitchen appliances. Daughter is raising funds in the meantime with a coffee and pastry cart that pops up in front of the cafe from Wednesdays to Sundays. 1090 St. John’s Place, near Kingston Avenue, Crown Heights

A plate of light-brown noodles appear in a meal set alongside a pair of chopsticks, a side of wasabi and ginger, and a white cup
Buckwheat soba noodles from Sarashina Horii
Sarashina Horii [Official]

Sarashina Horii

Key players: Yoshinori Horii
Target open: March or April

New York has no shortage of esteemed ramen restaurants imported from Japan, but the soba scene hasn’t seen the same international exchange. Plans to bring this Tokyo noodle shop to New York City were put on hold last spring due to the coronavirus pandemic, but now the team is eyeing March and April for the restaurant’s opening. The owner is Yoshinori Horii, a ninth-generation soba maker who will be making the same buckwheat noodles the restaurant has been making since 1789. Details about the menu are still scarce, but a spokesperson for the restaurant says it will likely include more than a dozen hot and cold soba dishes, along with appetizers and entrees. 45 East 20th Street, between Broadway and Park Avenue South, Flatiron District

Lolo’s Taco Shack

Key players: Leticia Skai Young-Mohan, Raymond Mohan
Target open: April

Spring is peak crawfish season for the city’s many seafood boileries, but the owners of Lolo’s Seafood Shack in Harlem are setting their sights on Mexican and Central American fare at a new restaurant. Slated to open for takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining in April, Lolo’s Taco Shack is the latest from restaurateur Leticia Skai Young-Mohan and chef Raymond Mohan, the wife-and-husband duo behind Harlem’s beloved Caribbean-Cape Cod seafood spot. For their sophomore project, the couple is focusing on street food from Belize, including garnaches and plantain-wrapped tamales, along with a menu of tacos whose fillings nod to the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. 2799 Broadway, at West 108th Street, Upper West Side

One White Street

Key players: Dustin Wilson, Austin Johnson, Josh Harnden
Target open: April

Only a handful of fine dining restaurants have opened their doors since the start of the pandemic, but even under normal circumstances, this long-in-the-works spot from two industry veterans would stand out. Dustin Wilson and Austin Johnson — the former Eleven Madison Park wine director and the ex-chef at the Michelin-starred Frenchie in Paris, respectively — are teaming up at One White Street, located in a three-story Tribeca townhouse once used by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Additional details are still under wraps, but a spokesperson for the restaurant confirmed that the team will be taking a seasonal approach to their menu, with some ingredients coming from Rigor Hill Farm in Hudson Valley. 1 White Street, near West Broadway, Tribeca

A white bowl filled with fish, colorful tomatoes, and orange trout roe set on a wooden table
Raw striped bass crudo with tomatoes and trout roe from Dame
Dame [Official]

Dame

Key players: Patricia Howard and Ed Szymanski
Target open: Late May or early June

Following a successful run in 2020 as a summertime English pop-up, Dame will return in the spring as a full-service seafood restaurant in the West Village. Chef Ed Szymanski, the former executive chef at critically-praised Greenpoint restaurant Cherry Point, likens the forthcoming spot to Le Bernardin without the tablecloths and formal service. Expect grilled oysters, a variety of crudos, and signature English dishes including a upleveled rendition of fish and chips that attracted its own fanbase at the neighborhood pop-up. For now, diners can find Dame’s fish and chips on Fridays and Saturdays at the old pop-up space, at 85 MacDougal Street, where it is currently operating as a grocery store through the winter. 87 MacDougal Street, near Bleecker Street, West Village

Electric Burrito

Key players: Alex Thaboua and Will Wyatt
Target open: Spring

Some 3,000 miles away in the northeast, the flour tortilla-wrapped, french fry-stuffed burritos of Southern California have found a new home. Owners Will Wyatt, co-founder of Mister Paradise and an alum of the NoMad Hotel’s bar, and Alex Thaboua, a general manager at the bar, point to San Diego, California, as the inspiration behind their burritos. Electric Burrito will have its own home in the East Village later this spring, but for now, the takeout and delivery restaurant is serving a few burritos from Mister Paradise, including those made with chorizo, chipotle portobello mushroom, carnitas, and french fries. True to the co-founders’ roots, the new restaurant will also serve canned hard seltzers that have been adapted from cocktails at Mister Paradise. Address yet to be announced, East Village

A Vietnamese-style scallop rice porridge with garlic, butter, scallion, and cilantro in a miso-colored broth
Chao so diep, a scallop rice porridge that Em co-owner Patrick Lin calls “Vietnamese comfort food at its finest”
Em [Official]

Em Vietnamese Bistro

Key players: Ly Nguyen and Patrick Lin
Target open: Spring

It’s been an eventful year and a half since chef Ly Nguyen and Patrick Lin first announced that they would open a second location of their well-liked Vietnamese restaurant in Dumbo. Originally planned for the fall of 2019, Em Vietnamese Bistro has been repeatedly put on hold: First by the coronavirus pandemic, then by delays with getting its gas turned on, and most recently, by the birth of Nguyen and Lin’s first child. The couple is now eyeing a springtime opening for their restaurant, whose menu of Vietnamese-style tapas, noodles, and seafood dishes is “inspired by nights out on the town in Saigon,” Lin says. 57 Front Street, between Main and Dock Streets, Dumbo

Figaro Café

Key players: Mario Skaric
Target open: Spring

More than a decade after Greenwich Village said farewell to Le Figaro Café, the storied corner restaurant is preparing for a comeback. Mario Skaric, the restaurateur and former model behind Manhattan’s Seafire Grill, is heading the project, which will pay homage to the original restaurant but also be “more upscale,” according to the New York Post. In its more than 50-year tenure on Bleecker Street, the appeal of Le Figaro Café was never really about the food or coffee. Customers were drawn instead to the corner spot’s affordable menu and warm dining room that served celebrities like Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac. The new Figaro Café has dropped the “Le” from its name, along with any traces of the original interior, which “was ransacked when it closed,” Skaric says. 184-186 Bleecker Street, at MacDougal Street, Greenwich Village

Pavillon

Key players: Daniel Boulud
Target open: Spring/Summer

Seafood will be the focus at fine dining chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud’s latest venture. The massive Midtown restaurant is located within the even grander One Vanderbilt skyscraper located next to Grand Central Terminal. At full capacity, the French spot will be able to seat 120 people, including a bar area with 75-foot-tall ceilings, and an indoor garden with a chef’s table at the center. The restaurant is named after the famed French establishment of the same name that closed in New York after a decades-long run in the 1970s. While that establishment was more opulent, this iteration will be modern, though menu details haven’t been revealed yet. One Vanderbilt Avenue, at East 42nd Street, Midtown

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