1. Just Be Kitchen, Denver
This 80-seat, shabby-chic fast casual is completely grain- and gluten-free, and is geared toward followers of the protein-heavy paleo diet. The concept features a Bone Broth Bar, with mugs, pints and 32-ounce bowls of different types of broth made from the bones of grass-fed, pasture-raised animals. Optional toppings include garlic, ginger, parsley, turmeric and more. There’s also the Meatzza, a pizza riff made with a sausage “crust.” Drinks include butter-fortified Bullet Coffee, kombucha and no-sugar-added sodas. The operators plan to add grain-free alcohol later this year. The restaurant serves all-day breakfast and lunch.
2. Du’s Donuts; Brooklyn, N.Y.
Molecular gastronomy wizard Wylie Dufresne (formerly of WD-50 and Alder) works his magic on doughnuts at this new shop at the William Vale Hotel in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood. Customers lined up a half hour before opening on the first day, and the shop sold out of its 1,000 doughnuts by 2:40 p.m., Eater reports. Dufresne and head baker Colin Kull of Tartine spent three months working on doughnut recipes like pomegranate tahini, peanut butter yuzu and banana graham, with banana filling inside and Golden Graham dust on the exterior. The shop plans to add breakfast sandwiches as well as cocktails, wine and beer.
3. Kiki on the River, Miami
Greek-focused Mediterranean is the aim of this colorful new space on the Miami River. The restaurant, built on the site of Miami’s first fish markets, features private gondola service and design touches like seashell chandeliers, vintage lounge chairs and floor-to-ceiling windows. The menu includes a raw bar, whole seafood and entrees like tuna, lamb chops and steak. A lunch prix-fixe menu comprises a choice of salad, main course and dessert of fruit platter or Greek yogurt.
4. Otto Mezzo, Chicago
This art deco/Italian cinema-inspired cocktail bar comes from Rockit Ranch Productions, the MCO behind several other Chicago operations. The 65-seat bar serves shareable small plates like a salumi plate and burrata-stuffed olives, but the main focus here is on cocktails mixed with lesser-known Italian spirits like amaro, fernet and grappa, according to the Chicago Tribune. There’s also a lengthy list of Italian wine and beers. The bar is open until 4 a.m., and 5 a.m. on Saturdays.
5. Le Sirenuse, Miami
The newly remodeled space inside the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club was once a ballroom, but it now serves as an all-day restaurant with Mediterranean revival design and a magnolia-covered patio, according to Eater. The alfresco champagne bar looks out on the Atlantic Ocean, with drinks served in handmade Venetian glasses. The menu includes Italian offerings like caprese salad and an assortment of pastas.
6. Sea Salt, Nashville
Billing itself as a “farm-to-French restaurant” and bar, this new two-story space features a wall of Himalayan sea salt blocks as well as rustic farm decor accents and a full bar. The menu highlights some traditional French dishes like bouillabaisse, steak frites and smoked trout rillettes, as well as others that are offered a Southern twist (Scallops & Grits, Nashville Hot Chowder and a shrimp po’boy).
7. Royale with Cheese, Detroit
This halal burger operation, themed after the movie “Pulp Fiction,” features a menu of indulgences. There’s the signature Royale burger topped with smoked brisket, corn relish, caramelized onions, avocado, smoked Gouda, coleslaw and cheesy Royale sauce. There’s also deep-fried Doritos ravioli filled with jalapeno-nacho cheese and topped with roasted tomato sauce, according to Eater. Shakes are made with housemade custard. The 2,000-square-foot counter-service space seats 60 inside, with 25 seats on the patio.
On the horizon…
Keep an eye out for Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first Western expansion, as he brings his cuisine to the new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills in California as early as June, Eater reports. The all-day restaurant will feature a “greatest hits” menu from his New York concepts, including triple-Michelin-starred Jean-Georges, ABC Kitchen and ABC Cocina. In addition to the 150 seat indoor-outdoor space, plans are underway for a rooftop cocktail lounge featuring small bits from Vongerichten.
Similarly high-wattage chef Michael Mina is slated to open his first Nashville concept next year. Bourbon Steak, a 280-seater, will be the topper on the new 33-story JW Marriott Nashville hotel.
This week's head-spinning restaurant moments included a suggestion in court that the "b" in IHOb stood for "bad news for Applebee's." That's just one of the long-shot gambles that came to light as oddsmakers considered the likelihood of restaurants charging into sports betting and who'll win the chain vs. independent bout.