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

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The 14 Most Anticipated Restaurants Across the Carolinas for 2022

From breakfast tacos in Charleston to Bantu cuisine in Durham

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 in 2022.


ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

NENG JR’S

Location: 701 Haywood Road
Key Players: Chef Silver Cousler
Projected Opening: 2022
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. There have been delays, but 2022 might be the year for Neng Jr’s to finally open.

Also, keep an eye on:
Eldr
Forestry Camp Reopening
Native Prime Provisions’ Chef’s Counter (Cashiers)


CARY, NORTH CAROLINA

A’VERDE

Location: 2300 Walnut Street
Key Players: Top Chef alum Katsuji Tanabe
Projected Opening: 2022, with a preview dinner on January 20 and 21
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
M Sushi


CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA

Outside of a wine bar with lots of plans and bench seating.
Rendering of upcoming Rocks + Acid.
Pod Architecture + Design of Chapel Hill

ROCKS + ACID

Location: 712 Market Street in Southern Village
Key Players: Advanced sommelier Paula de Pano
Projected Opening: Spring 2022
Paula de Pano wants to open her shop and bar to challenge the notion of “wine bros” and the gatekeeping of wine culture. She plans on sourcing wines from wineries and winemakers that adhere to the same values she holds, namely sustainability, integrity, and, especially given today’s social climate, a commitment to diversity and equity. Customers can visit for a bottle or a glass with charcuterie and cheeses also available.

Also, keep an eye on:
Bluebird (Meadowmont Village)


CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

BODEGA AND SHARE HOUSE

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: February 2022
The group behind Uptown Social want to bring two 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.

Exterior of the Jasper apartment complex.
Future site of Costa.
The Beach Company

COSTA

Location: 310 Broad Street, Downtown
Key Players: Easton Porter Group, the Beach Company, and chef Vinson Petrillo
Projected Opening: Late 2022
Costa, located in multi-use complex the Jasper, will feature coastal Italian cuisine from Zero Restaurant + Bar chef Vinson Petrillo (also the culinary director for the Easton Porter Group). The restaurant will have views of the waterfront and those famous Lowcountry sunsets.

MA’AM SAAB

Location: 251 Meeting Street, Downtown
Key Players: Chef/owner Maryam Ghaznavi and husband Raheel Gauba
Projected Opening: Early 2022
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.

VERN’S

Location: 41 Bogard Street, Downtown
Key Players: Chef Dan Heinze and beverage director Bethany Heinze
Projected Opening: Early 2022
In 2016, long-time McCrady’s chef de cuisine Daniel “Dano” Heinze left for Los Angeles along with McCrady’s bar manager, and now wife, Bethany Heinze. The couple has returned to the Lowcountry with an idea for a new Cannonborough/Elliotborough restaurant named Vern’s. It will be a neighborhood American bistro named after Dano’s grandfather Vernon Heinze. Dano will be the chef and operations manager, and Bethany will run front of house and the beverage program.

RANCHO LEWIS

Location: 1503 King Street, the Neck
Key Players: Pitmaster John Lewis
Projected Opening: 2022
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)
Chameleon Club (Downtown)
Clarence Foster’s Cookery & Saloon (Downtown)
Crust (Downtown)
Farmer & Exchange (Downtown)
Garco Mill (Park Circle)
Lady Xian (Unknown)
Laura (Summerville)
Le Chick (Downtown)
Millers All Day Second Location (James Island)
The Pickle Bar (Summerville)
The Quinte Oyster Bar (Downtown)


CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

MILKBREAD

Location: 624 Jetton Street, Davidson
Key Players: Restaurateurs Joe and Katy Kindred
Projected Opening: January 2022
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. A second location is already planned for the Plaza Midwood neighborhood of Charlotte.

Also, keep an eye on:
Broken Promises (South End)
Ever Andalo (NoDa)
La Capital (South End)
Maíz, Agua, Sal (West Charlotte)
The Royal Tot (Belmont)
Uptown Yolk (South End)


DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA

butternut squash fries.
Butternut squash fries from Ekhaya.
Ekhaya

EKHAYA

Location: 300 Blackwell Street, in the American Tobacco Campus
Key Players: Restaurateurs Zweli and Leonardo Williams
Projected Opening: Spring/summer 2022
Restaurateurs Zweli and Leonardo Williams opened Zimbabwean restaurant Zweli’s in 2018, and now they will expand with a second establishment named Ekhaya. Located in Durham’s American Tobacco Campus, in the former Saladelia space, Ekhaya will focus on cuisine from Bantu communities from across Africa, served tapas-style, in a high-end setting.

Mural of a woman and a parrot in the jungle.
Interior mural at upcoming Krill.
Krill

KRILL

Location: 506 Ramseur Street, East Durham
Key Players: Giorgios Bakatsias, Giorgios Hospitality Group
Projected Opening: Early 2022
Prolific restaurateur Giorgios Bakatsias (Parizade and Vin Rouge, among many others) has many projects going this year, but it seems Krill might be his buzziest, because it’s he’s brining Southeast Asian cuisine to a location with very few restaurants. Customers can look forward to eating whole fried fish with green papaya or duck soup dumplings with foie gras in an outdoor bamboo garden or a funky dining room with giant lanterns overhead.

Also, keep an eye on:
Emmy Squared (Downtown)
Seraphine (American Tobacco Campus)
Queen Burger (Downtown)


GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA

MR. CRISP

Location: 1503 E. North Street
Key Players: Chef Greg McPhee (the Anchorage)
Projected Opening: 2022
It’s a fish and chips restaurant, Mr. Crisp will also offer a raw bar with crudos and other seafood dishes brought in from the coast. Chef Greg McPhee says this spot will be more laid back than Greenville favorite the Anchorage.

Also, keep an eye on:
Green Laundry Lounge (Greer)


RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

Reuben with pastrami, Zulu kraut, awaze dressing, and Swiss cheese.
A Jewfro Reuben with pastrami, Zulu kraut, awaze dressing, and Swiss cheese.
JewFro

JEWFRO

Location: 927 W. Morgan Street (Downtown)
Key Players: Virginia-based restaurateurs Trey Owens, Ari Augenbaum, Nar Hovnanian
Projected Opening: Summer 2022
The trio from Richmond’s popular Soul Taco, Trey Owens, Ari Augenbaum, and Nar Hovnanian, will soon bring their new concept JewFro to downtown Raleigh. The idea started as a pop-up in Virginia blending African and Jewish flavors, the culinary and cultural backgrounds of Owens and Augenbaum, respectively. Examples of the cuisine include a doro wat turkey sandwich on fresh baked challah or bagels with smoked salmon and a harissa cream cheese. Owens told Raleigh Magazine that he wants JewFro to create a conversation on representations of different cultures.

Also, keep an eye on:
Bright Spot (Five Points East)
Craften (Knightdale)
East End Bistrot (East End)
Fine Folk (Gateway Plaza)
Giorgio Pizza Bar (North Hills)
Las Ramblas (North Hills)
Longleaf Swine (Downtown)
Old North State Food Hall (Selma)
The Preserve (Unknown)


If we missed a big opening, please drop a note to carolinas@eater.com

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