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The 11 Most Anticipated Restaurants Across the Carolinas for Fall, 2021

From Filipinx fare to fried chicken sandwiches

Chicken sandwich at BB’s Crispy Chicken.
BB’s Crispy Chicken
Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas.

While many restaurants shut down due to the pandemic across the country, chefs, restaurateurs, and investors in North and South Carolina are replacing the shuttered storefronts with new restaurants and bars at an increasing pace. As always, Eater is obsessively tracking the progression of all the premiers — from menu releases to newly installed signage, come here for the latest updates. This list encapsulates the places garnering excitement this season.



Location: 701 Haywood Road
Key Players: Chef Silver Cousler
Projected Opening: 2021
When COVID hit, chef Silver Cousler had to end their cooking residency in the Cayman Islands, so instead they decided to go back to Asheville and open the town’s first Filipinx restaurant. Cousler’s mother is from Manila and their father is from North Carolina. They say on the Neng Jr’s website, “The intersection of Filipino and Southern food reveals a host of similarities, like the whole pig traditions of Filipinx Lechon and Eastern NC barbecue.” Cousler imagines a menu full of lumpia, pancit, sinigang, and more. Cousler comes from kitchens at Mission Chinese, Gan Shan West, Buxton Hall, and the Admiral.



Location: 2300 Walnut Street
Key Players: Top Chef alum Katsuji Tanabe
Projected Opening: Soon
Pulling from his upbringing in Mexico City, Mexico, chef Katsuji Tanabe brings his knowledge of the country’s cuisine to Cary, North Carolina. He wants to create a fun and comfortable space to share his modern-meets-tradition cuisine. The restaurant will also boast one of the largest tequila collections in the region.

Also, keep an eye on:
Crawford Brothers Steakhouse



Location: 23 Ann Street, Downtown
Key Players: Uptown Social partners Keith Benjamin, Kara Graves, Bryn Kelly, Brian Dodd and Kat Moore; chef Alec Gropman
Projected Opening: 2021
A restaurant group from New York brought Uptown Social to Charleston, and now the partners behind Uptown Social want to bring two more restaurants to Ann Street. Bodega will build off of the breakfast/brunch concept already happening at Uptown Social, with New York-style morning sandwiches and coffee. Charcuterie and cocktails will be on the menu in the evening. Share House will be a Hamptons-meets-Jersey-Shore seafood house with a party on the side.


Location: 251 Meeting Street, Downtown
Key Players: Chef/owner Maryam Ghaznavi and husband Raheel Gauba
Projected Opening: Fall
Pakistani restaurant Ma’am Saab started as a pop-up, went into a food stall at Workshop, and will now set up residence in the former Jestine’s Kitchen space on Meeting Street. Ma’am Saab serves comfort food from Pakistan, like kababs, pakoras, and more.

Pink and purple hued dining room.
Pink Bellies dining room.
Mike Ledford


Location: 595 King Street, Downtown
Key Players: Chef/Owner Thai Phi
Projected Opening: Soon
Former Vietnamese food truck and pop-up Pink Bellies will soon have a new home on King Street. From banh mi to noodle bowls to pho, fans of chef Thai Phi’s work are eagerly awaiting the opening of the dining room. It should happen any day now.


Location: 99 South Market Street, Downtown
Key Players: Shelter Kitchen + Bar co-owner Ryan Kaufmann
Projected Opening: October
Opening in the former Bubba Gump’s space in the Market, Port of Call will be a food and brew hall with some exciting newcomer vendors. Look for smoked meats spot Palmira BBQ, Asian fusion setup Bok Choy Boy, Greek grill house Bapkó, acai place Iaca Bowls, and raw bar Empire Oyster.

enchiladas, tacos, chips, and salsa
Plates from Rancho Lewis.
Andrew Cebulka


Location: 1503 King Street, Downtown
Key Players: Pitmaster John Lewis
Projected Opening: November
Lewis Barbecue pitmaster John Lewis, originally from El Paso, Texas, brings his fondness for “border cuisine” (his preferred term over “Tex-Mex”) to Charleston by way of Rancho Lewis (formerly named Juan Luis) Look for a menu full of breakfast tacos, enchiladas, nachos and gorditas. It’s what he grew up eating, so he is excited to make it a more permanent fixture in the Lowcountry.

Also, keep an eye on:
167 Raw’s Unnamed Mediterranean Restaurant (Downtown)
Farmer & Exchange (Downtown)
Garco Mill (Park Circle)
Lady Xian (Unknown)
Little Line (Downtown)
Le Chick (Downtown)
Millers All Day Second Location (James Island)
OddFellows (Downtown)
The Honey Hive (Downtown)
The Pickle Bar (Summerville)


The menu at Mariposa.
The Plaid Penguin


Location: 500 South Tryon Street, Uptown
Key Players: Restaurateur Jill Marcus and executive chef Jonathan Moore
Projected Opening: October
Located inside the Mint Museum, Mariposa will offer mezze of international influences for lunch and dinner. Examples of menu items include lamb belly bulgogi lettuce wraps, ceviche aguachile, piri piri chicken, tomato and burrata tart, Gullah paella, and more.


Location: 624 Jetton Street, Davidson
Key Players: Restaurateurs Joe and Katy Kindred
Projected Opening: Fall
During the start of the pandemic, seasonal Italian restaurant Kindred had to pivot to food that would travel well to homes in takeout containers. The owners wanted comfort and nostalgia in a box, which translated to milk bread doughnuts, massive fried chicken sandwiches, and a fresh and fun wines. The concept was such a hit that the couple will use that menu for spinoff cafe Milkbread.

Also, keep an eye on:
Broken Promises (South End)
La Capital (South End)
The Royal Tot (Belmont)


Pork chop sandwich at Queeny’s.
Ang H. Studio


Location: 319 East Chapel Hill Street, downtown
Key Players: Kingfisher restaurateurs Michelle Vanderwalker and Sean Umstead and marketing executive King Kenney
Projected Opening: Early fall
When it opens, Queeny’s will have the podcast studio, bookstore, and drip coffee bar, and focus on an all-day menu inspired by “classic bar and grill dishes” like chicken tenders, a pork chop sandwich, a “hearty dinner salad,” fried pickles, and a house-ground burger.

Also, keep an eye on:
Emmy Squared (Downtown)
Krill (Downtown)



Location: 2920 Sherman Oak Place
Key Players: Chef Ashley Christensen
Projected Opening: October
BB’s Crispy Chicken is the upcoming fast-casual crispy chicken empire from James Beard Award-winning chef Ashley Christensen. The menu consists of fried poultry sandwiches in various degrees of spicy with topping like thick-cut pickles, lettuce, tomato, and Duke’s mayo with sides like waffle fries and crunchy cheese curds. She plans to expand to Durham and Cary as well.

Also, keep an eye on:
Bright Spot Donuts (Five Points East)
Craften (Knightdale)
Crawford Cookshop (Clayton)
The Preserve (Unknown)

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