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Slices of octopus are scattered in a vibrant yellow sauce with greens.
Seared octopus on a saffron-tinged fava puree at Zaytinya.
Zaytinya

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NYC’s Most Anticipated 2022 Restaurant Openings

From the arrival of José Andrés’s latest restaurant to a neighborhood Taiwanese spot from the 886 team, these are the hottest openings in New York City this year

After the last two years — of takeout menus, to-go cocktails, unheated outdoor dining, reduced-capacity indoor dining, Cuomo chips, hibernations, heated yurts, no takeout cocktails, vaccine mandates, supply chain issues, and hiring shortages — the sheer number of restaurant openings to look forward to this year can feel like a small miracle.

In 2022, a boisterous Taiwanese restaurant is growing up with a second location in residential Brooklyn. A chef and sommelier are teaming up to “queer fine dining” in lower Manhattan. And out-of-town chefs have decided now’s the time to double down on New York City with Mediterranean meze and charcoal-grilled skewers.

The opening dates listed below are moving targets. Some of these restaurants have been on Eater’s anticipated openings list in the past, due to delays, while others first reared their heads on Instagram earlier this month. These are 13 of the most exciting.


A light-filled restaurant interior with backless stools positioned around a dark bar and patterned tiles on the floor.
Inside Mena.
Daniel Krieger/Mena

Mena

Opening: Late January

After successful runs at two New York institutions — Chumley’s and Gotham Bar and Grill — Victoria Blamey is set to run the show on her terms. At Mena, named after Blamey’s great aunt, the Chilean-born chef will focus on her South American background as a jumping off point. New Yorkers got a preview of the Mena menu during Blamey’s residences at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Fulgurances over the past year, where many of the dishes focused on seafood and seasonal vegetables. 28 Cortland Alley, between White and Walker streets, Tribeca


A man, Eric Sze, cooks over a restaurant stove.
Eric Sze, chef and co-owner of 886.
Gary He/Eater

Wenwen

Opening: February

It’s been three years since Eric Sze and Andy Chuang opened 886, their St. Marks Place restaurant that’s become known as much for its rowdy, 20-something clientele as its Taiwanese cooking. But the restaurateurs are growing up, Sze says. They’re not too old for the disco lights in their new restaurant’s bathroom or the Long Island iced teas on its menu, but chairs with backs and a Greenpoint address might be overdue. Their forthcoming restaurant, called Wenwen, is inspired by “homesickness,” according to Sze, who hasn’t been back to Taipei since signing his lease on Manhattan Avenue in early 2020. The menu is loosely based on the foods he ate growing up — shrimp floss, braised pork belly with cuttlefish — served in a high-ceiling space befitting of a chef about to enter his 30s. 1025 Manhattan Avenue, between Freeman and Green streets, Greenpoint


Laser Wolf

Opening: February

In just a few weeks, Philadelphia restaurant empire builders Michael Solomonov and business partner Steve Cook will unveil their smash hit Israeli skewer shop Laser Wolf on the rooftop of the Hoxton hotel in Williamsburg. Solomonov, an acclaimed chef who is best known for his James Beard Award-winning Israeli destination Zahav, designed more of a raucous night out at Laser Wolf, where diners will gather around tabletops imprinted with backgammon board designs and where every inch of available space will be filled with charcoal-grilled kebabs, puffy rounds of pita, and a colorful array of salatim, or seasonal salads and dips. The Brooklyn debut marks the first expansion outside of Philadelphia for Laser Wolf, which has been topping national and international best-of lists since it first opened in February 2020. 97 Wythe Avenue, between North 9th and 10th streets, Williamsburg


Hands reaching inward to grab slices of pizza off of a yellow-tiled table.
Wood-fired pizza at Mel’s.
Peter Marquez/Mel’s

Mel’s

Opening: February

Multiple restaurateurs have their sights set on attempted reinventions in old spaces this year. Another example: Former Del Posto executive chef Melissa Rodriguez, with support from Crown Shy chef James Kent and business partner (and fellow Del Posto alum) Jeff Katz, took over the lauded Italian fine dining spot — once owned by disgraced chef Mario Batali — last April. They’ve since gutted the place to make way for two new restaurants and a cocktail bar. The first of the trio to open will be Mel’s, a weeknight hangout for wood-fired pizza, whole roasted fish, grilled steak, and other plates to share, according to Rodriguez. “I see this as a place I’d want to go eat at on my night off,” she says. “It’s not too complicated.” The more complex endeavor in the space, another Italian fine dining restaurant dubbed Al Coro, will follow later this spring. 85 10th Avenue, near West 16th Street, Chelsea


Bar Tulix

Opening: Late February

Chef Justin Bazdarich — known for his hit restaurants Speedy Romeo, Oxomoco, and Xilonen — is heading back to Manhattan with a new restaurant, after closing the Lower East Side location of his popular pizzeria during the pandemic. This winter, the restaurateur is teaming up with John McDonald of Mercer Street Hospitality, which operates spots such as Lure Fishbar, Bistrot Leo, and Butterfly bar. Much like at Xilonen and Oxomoco, the focus is on Mexican fine dining. But at Bar Tulix, the team will bring Mexican seafood to the main stage in Manhattan. 25 West Houston Street, at Mercer Street, Soho


Place des Fêtes

Opening: Late February

Increasingly, Brooklyn restaurants are turning their attention to conservas, the tinned fish and seafood commonly snacked on in Spanish bars (see also: El Pingüino in Greenpoint and Minnow from the Cervo’s team). The latest comes from Nico Russell, also behind the Michelin-starred Oxalis restaurant in Prospect Heights, and chef Jacob Harth, a 2019 Eater Young Gun known for his Portland seafood spot Erizo. They’re pulling inspiration from the bars of Barcelona and other Spanish cities, which operate with little more than planchas in their kitchens and where people can order glasses of wine with mussels, clams, and other grilled and raw shellfish. It’s a step in a more casual direction for the Oxalis chef, whose seasonal tasting menus are more befitting of a special occasion. He wants Place des Fêtes, which will offer walk-in seating, to be lower-key: “Imagine someone gets off from work and they come straight to you for a salad and a glass of wine,” he says. “That’s the kind of place we want to be.” 212 Greene Avenue, between Grand Avenue and Cambridge Place, Clinton Hill


A computer rendering of a dining room decorated in dark green tones with wood paneling and soft lighting.
A rendering of the main dining room at Ipanema.
Ipanema

Ipanema

Opening: March

Brazilian and Portuguese restaurant Ipanema, run by Portuguese restaurateur Alfredo Pedro, was a familiar sight in Midtown’s Little Brazil for decades until it was forced to shut down permanently amid the pandemic in 2020. Ipanema continued to live on, briefly, through an outpost in Norwalk, Connecticut, that was run by Alfredo’s sons, Carlos and Victor Pedro. The two brothers are now shutting down the Connecticut spot and bringing Ipanema back to the city, 10 blocks south from where the original restaurant once stood. The updated restaurant, outfitted with rich wood finishes and vibrant Portuguese tiles, boasts an all-day cafe up front that is stocked with pastries and breads from Ipanema’s first-ever pastry chef, Per Se alum Alejandra Nicolon. The dining room is helmed by Brazilian chef Giancarlo Junyent, who is updating the menu and adding a few new touches to some old favorites, like the moqueca, a Brazilian seafood stew. Family-style meals, where diners will be able to order large-format dinners like a whole roast pig in advance, are also in the works. Brazilian bartending star Márcio Silva is leading the drinks menu. “We’re trying to pull out all the stops and go for it in every way,” Victor says. 3 West 36th Street, near Fifth Avenue, Midtown


A close-up photo of a white bowl filled with shrimp, pork, and green herbs with a small bowl of broth in the background.
Hu tieu nam vang, a Vietnamese pork and shrimp noodle soup, will be on Kitchen Co Ut’s menu.
Kitchen Co Ut

Kitchen Co Ut

Opening: March

Tiny Vietnamese spot Banh Mi Co Ut made waves with its banh mi and takeout-friendly renditions of pho when it opened in Manhattan’s Chinatown in late 2020. Now, the family-run shop is expanding with another restaurant in a bi-level space two blocks away, according to co-owner and manager Long Dang. At Kitchen Co Ut, the lower level will be modeled after the original shop, with grab-and-go sandwiches and snacks ready for takeout. But the upstairs dining room is where the real action is, Dang says. The family is itching to take over more kitchen space in order to make some of their favorite Vietnamese dishes that require more time and preparation and don’t translate as well to takeout, like the spicy noodle soup bun bo Hue served with banana flowers and water spinach, or rau muong. “If you serve bun bo Hue without [water spinach] in Vietnam, they’re not gonna come to your restaurant,” Dang says. They’ve also been sporadically selling time-intensive Vietnamese desserts like pandan honeycomb cake, or banh bo nuong, out of Banh Mi Co Ut’s kitchen as space allows; in the full kitchen space, they’re plotting an expanded dessert menu. 85 Chrystie Street, between Grand and Hester streets, Chinatown


Two people pose for a photograph, one wearing pink earrings and a black shirt with no sleeves, the other wearing a red top.
Chef Telly Justice (left) and sommelier Camille Lindsley of HAGS.
Robert Bredvad/HAGS

HAGS

Opening: Late March, early April

“We’re queering fine dining,” says Camille Lindsley, co-owner of HAGS and a sommelier who most recently worked at the acclaimed Aldo Sohm wine bar. And by that, Lindsley means that HAGS wants to be a restaurant where, first and foremost, the queer community feels at home. When the restaurant, which takes over the original Fuku space, opens, Lindsley and her partner chef Telly Justice (whose resume includes stints at Wildair and Contra as well as top restaurants in Atlanta), hope that their five-course tasting menu spot will feel something like queer potlucks they’ve attended through the years that gave them an opportunity to “connect with queer elders, who took them under their wing.” The Southern transplants tell Eater that they want to do away with the sterile, exclusive feeling on which fine dining often feels predicated: an ethos that’s been endemic to the HAGS pop-ups they’ve hosted while gearing up for their launch. While the tasting menu is still in flux, HAGS will operate with a more casual Sunday pay-what-you-can menu to ensure that all members of its community have a chance to experience the restaurant. 163 First Avenue, at East 10th Street, East Village


A person, Eden Gebre Egziabher, is pictured leaning over the counter of a yellow food truck.
Eden Gebre Egziabher will open her first brick-and-mortar restaurant this spring.
Makina Cafe

Makina Cafe

Opening: Early April

In 2017, Eden Gebre Egziabher launched New York City’s first Ethiopian-Eritrean mobile restaurant, popping up throughout the boroughs with her signature yellow food truck, greeted by hungry fans eager to get their hands on her injera. Now, Egziabher is planting down permanent roots for the first time in Sunnyside with a full-service restaurant (the two trucks will continue to operate in tandem). Egziabher tells Eater that the restaurant will have a more extended menu than what’s available at the trucks, which are only open for lunch. Tibs, the cubed-style meat popular on the truck menus, will feature heavily throughout the new kitchen, but there will also be more vegan and seafood options, too. The brick-and-mortar, she says, will give her a chance to showcase coffee, as well as cocktails, to pair with her cooking. Likewise, she’s keen on “showcasing the regional differences” in the recipes of Ethiopia and Eritrea. 46-11 Skillman Avenue, near 46th Street, Sunnyside


S&P

Opening: Early April

The Court Street Grocers team made headlines last year when they announced they would be taking over Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop, a decades-old Manhattan sandwich counter that closed during the pandemic. The idea was to keep much of the menu and space the same, according to owners Eric Finkelstein and Matt Ross, but operate under the name Eisen Coffee Shop. Or so they planned. After a series of issues with the restaurant’s former owner — who trademarked the Eisenberg’s name, despite running it for just three years — the duo are now calling it S&P, the name of the sandwich counter that operated out of the space until at least 1929. Rest assured, their plans to serve tuna melts, individual cans of sardines, and other dishes that nod to Eisenberg’s roots remain unchanged. 174 Fifth Avenue, near 22nd Street, Flatiron District


An overhead photograph of kebabs beside grilled onions and tomatoes on worn metal serving dishes.
Kebabs are on the Zaytinya’s Mediterranean menu.
Zaytinya

Zaytinya

Opening: April

José Andrés’s NYC debut with Mercado Little Spain in 2019 resonated with New Yorkers in the otherwise soulless, multi-billion dollar Hudson Yards development — and it was also one of the few restaurants backed by a big-name chef to survive the ongoing pandemic. Next up for the Spanish chef is the luxurious Ritz-Carlton in Nomad, where he’s opening another location of his D.C. favorite Zaytinya. The restaurant will serve a crowd-pleasing menu of meze — think silky hummus garnished with ground spiced lamb and flatbreads topped with charred eggplant — that nods to the Mediterranean region. If his plans stay on track, Andrés is also expecting to operate a rooftop bar at the hotel with sweeping Lower Manhattan views. 25 West 28th Street, at Broadway, Nomad


Superiority Burger

Opening: Winter 2022

For its most ardent fans, East Village destination Superiority Burger was nearly as recognizable for its crammed, studio-sized basement space on East Ninth Street as it was for its famed, palm-sized veggie burger. That’s all going to change this year, when chef and owner Brooks Headley reintroduces his celebrated ode to vegetables to the city in a much larger space, around the corner and a few doors down. Headley bought the lease for decades-old Ukrainian diner Odessa last summer, shut down the old Superiority Burger in November, and is now in the process of relocating and reimagining the restaurant in a space with an actual bar and dozens of tables and chairs in the dining room. There will be bowls of rice and beans, slices of pie, a rotating cast of sandwiches — unpretentious, hearty diner food, as Headley has described it. No word on an official opening date yet, but Headley tells Eater that he’s on track to open sometime this winter. 119 Avenue A, near St. Marks Place, East Village


Other openings

Nena, a cocktail bar beneath vegan Mexican restaurant Jajaja (February); Ensenada, a seafood restaurant and mezcal bar from the former Black Flamingo team (February); Greg Baxtrom of Olmsted and Maison Yaki opens his third restaurant, called Patti Ann’s (February); KONO, a yakitori counter inside Bowery’s Canal Arcade (February); Kebabwala and Masalawala, two Indian restaurants from the Dhamaka and Semma teams (February); Pebble Bar, a three-story bar from the owners of Grand Army and Ray’s (February); the first of two new locations of Charles Pan-Fried Chicken in Manhattan (February); Brooklyn Hots, a spot for natural wine and Rochester-inspired cooking (February); Oiji Mi, an upscale Korean restaurant from the team at Oiji (late February); a second location of popular Mexican restaurant For All Things Good (late February); kid-friendly Italian restaurant Pasta Louise is moving into a larger space in the neighborhood (April); Lolo’s Tacos, a spot for Belizean street foods from the owners of Lolo’s Seafood Shack (April); a permanent location of fried chicken pop-up Pecking House (April); Chez Zou, a cocktail bar above Zou Zou’s from the same team (April); Italy’s 150-year-old L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele opens a two-story restaurant in the West Village (spring)

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