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The Most Anticipated Atlanta Restaurant Openings, Winter/Spring 2016

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It's time to get excited about these forthcoming projects.

Signage going up at Brush Sushi Izakaya.
Signage going up at Brush Sushi Izakaya.
Brush Sushi Izakaya/Facebook

The calendar has turned to 2016, surely to be another sizzling year for Atlanta's restaurant scene. We saw a number of major openings last year, and more big names are on deck to launch new ventures in the coming 12 months. With that in mind, it's time to take a look at the winter and spring tracking guide, running through the most anticipated restaurants set to begin service during the coming season. These are listed in alphabetical order, and we'll update statuses as they open. If you have a favorite not listed, please do leave it in the comments below.

Ama

Chefs Angus Brown and Nhan Le are cutting bait with Lusca later this year and opening a smaller restaurant along the BeltLine in the Paris on Ponce space. Ama, with 40 seats and no reservations, will focus on wood-grilled seafood. The name apparently is a reference to pearl divers, which sticks with Brown and Le's nautical theme. Virginia-Highland: 716 Ponce de Leon Place NE.

Projected opening: Late spring.

AMER

Bocado's Brian Lewis and David Durnell are close to completing their cocktail bar that falls "between the esoteric and the playful." Amer takes up residence in Inman Quarter, and the beverage menu will be divided into four sections: Shaken, Built, Sodas, and Stirred, focusing on bitters and Italian Amari. Food will include savory snacks and small plates such as chips with charred onion dip; fried artichoke hearts and lemon; Buffala with trout caviar and fried leeks; Hamachi, green apples, and sunchokes; and an English muffin with local egg and pork belly. Inman Park: 280 Elizabeth Street.

Projected opening: Mid-February.

Amer

[Blue Hominy PR]

BILTONG BAR

Local restaurateur Justin Anthony recently opened Cape Dutch in the Woodfire Grill space, and next up is his Ponce City Market venture. The counter-service restaurant will serve gourmet pies, salads, craft beer, cocktails, and a full wine list, featuring a variety of South African blends. A retail shop will offer beef jerky and other specialty jerky meats. Old Fourth Ward: 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE.

Projected opening: Imminent.

BRUSH SUSHI IZAKAYA

The Japanese restaurant comes from former One Sushi + executive chef and Craft Izakaya sushi chef Jason Liang, whose vision is "more inline with the traditions of the Japanese sushi-ya than Atlanta is used to seeing." Look for yakitori made from GrassRoots Farm chicken and Edomae-style sushi sourced locally and from the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. Decatur: 316 Church Street.

Projected opening: Mid-February.

CHAR KOREAN BAR & GRILL

From former Craft Izakaya partner and general manager, Char will serve "traditional stuff like bo ssam, sea snail, spicy noodles," along with kimchi-pork belly fried rice, sweet potato tempura, and more Korean barbecue staples. Craft Izakaya chef Jey Oh is consulting on the food, but he's not a partner in the project. The beverage program sounds ambitious: "I'm not saying we're going to go molecular, but we're going to go outside the box a little bit," Tang previously said. Inman Park: 280 Elizabeth Street.

Projected opening: Late January/early February.

CITY WINERY

Michale Dorf's wine bar/restaurant/music venue concept is coming to Ponce City Market. It will open adjacent to Dancing Goats Coffee Bar, following locations in New York City, Chicago, Napa Valley, and Nashville. Dorf says the food has "a real Mediterranean core: Italian, French, Spanish, Greek, which all share their salty-ish ingredients." Old Fourth Ward: 650 North Avenue.

Projected opening: Spring.


City Winery Atlanta

[Fox Greenberg Public Relations]

HAMPTON & HUDSON

From Billy and Jenn Streck, the 500-square-foot Inman Quarter restaurant and patio aims to be a "true community bar and restaurant that redefines how diners look at pub food." Inman Park: 280 Elizabeth Street.

Projected opening: Early 2016.

MANUEL'S TAVERN

The iconic watering hole shut down in December to undergo renovations. Owner Brian Maloof says the planned changes are simply a matter of bringing Manuel's up to code, but one of the bar's rooms will be closed off for a new business, and a patio is being installed. Longtime regulars are anxious to see the results. Poncey-Highland: 602 North Highland Avenue NE.

Projected opening: Early 2016.

Nexto

Local ramen chef Mihoko Obunai is leaving the pop-up game to open her own restaurant. Details are scarce, but considering Obunai's reputation, the forthcoming eatery's BeltLine-adjacent location, and partnership with successful hospitality group Concentrics Restaurants, it's bound to be a hit. Poncey-Highland: 822 Ralph McGill Boulevard NE.

Projected opening: Spring.

NOBLE FIN

From 4th & Swift's Jay Swift, the Peachtree Corners restaurant will serve contemporary Mediterranean and American cuisine, and Swift's son Jeb Aldrich will run the kitchen as chef de cuisine. The 200-seat restaurant will feature a full bar in the front with a 24-foot ceiling and skylights and a 15-foot "wine wall" in the dining room. The dinner menu will be seafood focused with a raw bar section; small plates; several fresh-market fish options; hand-cut pastas; and a section of steaks, chops, and poultry. The lunch menu will offer the addition of sandwiches, po' boys, and lobster rolls, as well as an "express menu" for dinners on their lunch break. Swift was hoping to open by the 2015 holiday season, but he was hit with industry-typical delays. Peachtree Corners: 5260 Peachtree Parkway.

Projected opening: March.

Noble Fin

[WJG Design]

RICHARD'S SOUTHERN FRIED

Todd Richards, who left The Shed at Glenwood and The Pig & The Pearl for White Oak Kitchen last year, is getting in on the national hot chicken craze. At this Krog Street Market stall, fried yardbird will be available in three varieties: classic, hot, and Richards' HOT. It'll be served in sandwich and plate form and accompanied by sides such as potato wedges; stewed okra and tomatoes; and broccoli, rice, and cheese casserole. Inman Park: 99 Krog Street NE.

Projected opening: March.

TOM TOM TAPAS & TEQUILA

After the Here to Serve Restaurants collapse, chef Tom Catherall is coming out of retirement to open a restaurant in the former Noche space in Virginia-Highland. The restaurant will be "classic Catherall with a Spanish-inspired menu that is both innovative and always fresh." Virginia-Highland: 1000 Virginia Avenue NE.

Projected opening: February.

Ton Ton

Ton Ton has seen multiple delays, but owner Guy Wong hopes to be in business at Ponce City Market soon. When it does open, the restaurant will serve Japanese ramen, yakitori, and sushi. Noodles, rice, and other Japanese ingredients will be available for retail purchase. Wong has said he's learned not to target a specific opening date in advance, but Ton Ton's launch appears to be drawing near. Old Fourth Ward: 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE.

Projected opening: First quarter 2016.

Also tracking: Revolution Doughnuts Inman Park5ChurchSuperica BuckheadBarcelona WestsideTom Murphy's venture in the Rosebud spaceThe Family Dog's relaunch.

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