Food & Drink

The 9 Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of 2024

Devoted fans of the Detroit West African pop-up Little Liberia will soon be able to enjoy chef Ameneh Marhaba’s cooking at a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Marhaba quickly built a following in the community when she started sharing her Liberian and Lebanese dishes in 2016 at festivals and venues like Brewery Faisan. In 2022, Marhaba won the Hatch Detroit contest, which provided funding for the opening of Little Liberia. She suspects this will be the first Liberian restaurant in the city. Little Liberia sits on the same block of Woodward Avenue where an increasing number of African restaurants like Baobab Fare and Yum Village have opened in recent years. Marhaba tells Eater she’s “excited to create a space where our guests and fellow immigrants can experience the essence of West Africa.” She’ll serve traditional dishes like seafood palm butter, potato greens, and chuck rice and gravy.

A casual seafood restaurant from a star New Orleans chef

New Orleans, LA
Opening: Spring

Acamaya is the first solo venture of chef Ana Sofia Castro, the culinary wiz behind the modern Mexican tasting menu spot Lengua Madre in New Orleans, which has received just about every accolade out there, including a spot on Bon Appétit’s Best New Restaurants list in 2022. Lengua Madre recently closed and Castro is branching out to debut Acamaya, a more casual Mexican mariscos restaurant that she will run with her sister, Lydia, in New Orleans’ Bywater neighborhood. The menu will feature dishes that lean into the bounty of the Gulf of Mexico: grilled octopus in walnut salsa negra, cold-smoked al pastor cobia tostadas, and green rice with clams. The lively, laid-back spirit of Acamaya celebrates Castro’s adopted hometown of New Orleans and her native Mexico in equal parts.

A new project from the duo behind a New York hotspot

New York, NY
Opening: Spring

If you’ve scrolled Instagram much in the past year, chances are you lingered over a photo of the Matilda-like chocolate cake at Claud, a wildly popular East Village wine bar with some of the hardest tables in town to nab. Now Chase Sinzer and Joshua Pinsky, who met while working for Momofuku in 2014, are opening a raw bar in the space directly above their hit restaurant. Penny will serve crudo, oysters, and cooked shellfish. Like at Claud, Sinzer is curating the wine list to feature both classic and contemporary bottles, with a spotlight on champagne and white wine to pair with the nautical menu. Ian Chapin of Edsel Co is designing the space, which will have all counter seating so guests have a front-row seat to the shucking action at the raw bar. Only time will tell what Penny’s breakout Instagram star dish might be.

A Khmer-Chinese restaurant from Portland restaurant veterans

Oun Lidos
Portland, ME
Opening: Spring

The opening of Oun Lidos, the second restaurant from the team behind popular Portland Vietnamese mainstay Cong Tu Bot, is a good enough reason to book a trip to Maine this spring. Oun Lidos will be a multi-level restaurant in Old Port, with an all-day takeout counter offering Chinatown-style baked goods, rice plates, and boba to-go. Chef Bounahcree Kim will move over from Cong Tu Bot to helm the kitchen and serve the Khmer-Chinese food of his childhood, with dishes like iced jello salad with coconut sauce and mi ka thung—a fresh wide noodle stir fry with shredded beef, five spice gravy, and pickled mustard greens. While Oun Lidos completes construction, Kim is testing out additional menu items like a bahn chao waffle and a bao breakfast sandwich during a “breakfast residency” at Cong Tu Bot. The Oun Lidos team of Kim plus Cong Tu Bot owners Jessica Sheahan and Vien Doubui will open the takeout counter in February with plans to debut full service later this spring.

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