As we slide into the second half of 2017, we’re tracking a host of big-name openings in recent days, as well as several noteworthy concepts on the horizon. From Danny Meyer’s latest venture to the revamp of an iconic New York City space to a ramen concept with a robot greeter, here are the latest concepts of note.
1. NYC treasure gets a modern revamp
The Pool—the second of the three Major Food Group restaurants to open in what was the longtime home of the Four Seasons—retains the room’s minimalist glam, but with some modern twists. A large Alexander Calder mobile now shares attention with the iconic pool. The Pool’s menu focuses on raw, cooked and whole seafood, in contrast to the newly revamped (and meat-heavy) Grill restaurant (formerly the Grill Room). A nautical-themed bar has also been added to The Pool. The final space in the former Four Seasons, Lobster Club, is slated to open later this year.
2. Diner caters to all-day breakfast demands
Some 49% of consumers say they’re buying breakfast sandwiches outside of typical breakfast hours more often than they were a year ago, according to Technomic’s recent Sandwich Consumer Trend Report. Austin’s newly opened all-day brunch concept Holy Roller is betting on that trend, with a menu of rock ‘n' roll-inspired breakfast sandwiches, brunch plates and cocktails.
3. Celeb chef launches upscale hotel brasserie
Celeb chef Michael Mina, whose San Francisco-based Mina Group runs some 30 concepts around the world, debuted Margeaux Brasserie inside the Waldorf Astoria Chicago. The high-end French restaurant (think foie gras, French onion soup and roasted rack of lamb) features a roving champagne cart. It joins Mina’s recently opened Petit Margeaux pastry shop in the hotel.
4. Meanwhile, relaxed take on French fare opens
It took multiconcept operator Frank Bonanno nearly three years to open his French 75 in downtown Denver, according to Eater. The casual bistro observes the “Green Hour” each weekday from 3-6 p.m., with specials on absinthe, champagne and bar food like pomme frites, moules and Gruyere fondue. The oak-paneled interior features floor-to-ceiling wine cases and green tiles. With this concept, Bonanno is aiming to nurture new talent by hiring a half-dozen cooks who’ve never set foot in a professional kitchen.
5. Shake Shack founder leaps into fast-casual pizza
6. Third-party delivery founders start restaurant (without delivery)
The group behind the Caviar delivery service is opening Chick’n Rice, a Thai chicken concept that won’t be offering delivery when it opens in coming weeks. The new concept is from the Caviar crew’s restaurant group, Umai Hospitality. Umai also recently purchased Pacific Northwest franchise rights for The Halal Guys.
7. Ramen concept with a robot greeter
Japan-based Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, which has 14 U.S. units, is adding a new Seattle location—but this one has a twist. The ramen concept has partnered with Microsoft and other tech companies to feature a “smart” robot that greets customers at the door and gathers data about their dining preferences before suggesting menu options. The counter-ordering concept features a variety of housemade ramen, including shio ramen, shoyu ramen and miso ramen.