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Hands reaching for birria tacos.
A table full of tacos from Leroy’s Tacos n Beer.
Leroy’s Tacos n Beer

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14 Most Anticipated Restaurants Across the Carolinas for Spring 2023

Look for birria tacos in RTP, Cantonese fare in Charleston, and Mexican-American plates in Durham

Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas.

Chefs, restaurateurs, and investors in North and South Carolina continue to open 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 spring.


ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

Grilled chicken wrapped in a pita.
Chicken tikki roll at Botiwalla.
Night Watch Crew

BOTIWALLA

Location: 697 Haywood Road
Key Players: Chef/restaurateur Meherwan Irani
Projected Opening: June
After successful stints in Atlanta and Charlotte, Indian restaurant Botiwalla expands to West Asheville in the former BimBeriBon space. Botiwalla comes from Chai Pani owner Meherwan Irani and focuses on late-night foods of India, like chicken tikka skewers, lamb burgers, chaat,

GOURMAND

Location: 56 Patton Avenue in the S&W Market
Key Players: Katie Grabach and Peyton Barrell
Projected Opening: Soon
The newest addition to Asheville food hall the S&W Market, Gourmand will be a spot for cheese, charcuterie, wine, oysters, and baguette sandwiches from New Orleans couple Katie Grabach and Peyton Barrell. Look for plenty of rillettes, terrines, and pickled eggs too.

REGINA’S

Location: 1400 Patton Avenue
Key Players: Pitmaster Elliott Moss
Projected Opening: Late spring
Following the surprise opening of Little Louie’s in March, former Buxton Hall Barbecue chef Elliott Moss will open another comfort food spot named Regina’s. The restaurant will be an homage to greasy spoon diners of the past with plenty of classics on the menu.

Also, keep an eye on:
Areta’s (Mission Hospital Area)
Good Hot Fish (Unknown)


CARY, NORTH CAROLINA

A white man in a white chef’s coat sitting on stairs, smiling.
Chef Scott Crawford adds another restaurant to his empire.
Jessica Crawford

CRAWFORD BROTHERS STEAKHOUSE

Location: Mixed-use development Fenton
Key Players: Chef/owner Scott Crawford
Projected Opening: Soon
Chef Scott Crawford (Crawford and Son, Jolie, and Crawford Cookshop) continues the expansion of his empire with the forthcoming opening of Crawford Brothers Steakhouse. The latest addition will be Crawford’s playground for American steakhouse classics, specializing in dry-aged beef.

Also, keep an eye on:
Doc B’s Restaurant (Fenton)
Saap (Downtown)


CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

A table full of Pakistani food.
A table full of plates from Ma’am Saab.
Ma’am Saab

BEAUTIFUL SOUTH

Location: 128 Columbus Street
Key Players: David and Tina Schuttenberg
Projected Opening: June
The owners of James Island Sichuan restaurant Kwei Fei, David and Tina Schuttenberg, will soon bring Cantonese cuisine to downtown development the Guild. Beautiful South will offer dishes from the couple’s popular Lady Xian pop-up, like golden fried rice, char sui lo mein, General Tso chicken, and more. The menu will evolve from there to offer a range of items from southern China (hence the name) and dim sum.

CLEATS

Location: 1640 Meeting Street Road
Key Players: Nick Dowling and Jeremiah Schenzel
Projected Opening: Spring
From the team behind popular breakfast spot Dap’s, Cleats will be a restaurant featuring sports and sandwiches, which sounds commonplace, but co-owners Nick Dowling and Jeremiah Schenzel don’t do boring. They’re calling it a “sporty sammy public house.”

DA TOSCANO PORCHETTA SHOP

Location: 15 Beaufain Street
Key Players: Chef Michael Toscano and partner Caitlin Toscano
Projected Opening: Spring
Le Farfalle chef Michael Toscano will bring his cult-favorite porchetta sandwich to the West Side, along with other breakfast and lunch items, all on the shop’s housemade focaccia. “The whole place is based around our focaccia — there’s no other bread,” says Toscano, “Imagine having a crusty, warm piece of focaccia with ricotta and a seasonal marmellata for breakfast.”

MA’AM SAAB

Location: 251 Meeting Street
Key Players: Chef/owner Maryam Ghaznavi and husband Raheel Gauba
Projected Opening: Soon
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.

PALMIRA BARBECUE

Location: 2366 Ashley River Road
Key Players: Pitmaster Hector Garate
Projected Opening: March 2023
Pitmaster Hector Garate wanted to join the new wave of smoked meat aficionados putting their unique cultural spin on what is typically considered American barbecue. What started as a hobby, smoking brisket for his family, became pop-up Palmira Barbecue and is now set to be a brick-and-mortar establishment. Garate pulls the best bits of flavors and techniques from Texas, North Carolina, and his native home Puerto Rico to create his menu of juicy beef cheeks, smoky pulled pork, and rich barbacoa.

Also, keep an eye on:
Chameleon Club (Downtown)
Clarence Foster’s Cookery & Saloon (Downtown)
Colectivo (Johns Island)
Costa (Downtown)
Da Toscano Porchetta Shop (Downtown)
King BBQ (North Charleston)
Matador (Downtown)
Mix (Mount Pleasant)
The Pickle Bar (Summerville)
Sugey’s (Downtown)


CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

French toast at Uptown Yolk.
Peter Taylor

UPTOWN YOLK

Location: 1220 South Tryon Street
Key Players: Restaurateurs Greg and Subrina Collier
Projected Opening: Spring
Beloved breakfast eatery Uptown Yolk will reopen in a bigger space in South End. Look for chicken and waffles, cheesy grits, French toast, breakfast sandwiches, and more.

Also, keep an eye on:
Chapter 6 (South End)
Maíz, Agua, Sal (West Charlotte)
Pizza Baby (Wesley Heights)
Rosemont Market and Wine Bar (Elizabeth)
State of Confusion (LoSo)
The Club House Kitchen & Cocktails (Plaza Midwood)


DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA

Table full of tacos, wings, and nachos.
A table of fun at Leroy’s Tacos n Beers.
Leroy’s Tacos n Beer

EKHAYA

Location: 300 Blackwell Street, in the American Tobacco Campus
Key Players: Restaurateurs Zweli and Leonardo Williams
Projected Opening: Soon
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.

LEROY’S TACOS N BEER

Location: Boxyard RTP
Key Players: Pitmaster Jake Wood
Projected Opening: Early 2023
Pitmaster Jake Wood (Lawrence BBQ and Lagoon) created a frenzy in RTP when he introduced a birria taco special utilizing his smoked brisket. This sparked the idea for Leroy’s Tacos n Beers, which will serve birria, Tajin wings, micheladas, and more — all with a side of ‘90s nostalgia in the vibes and decor.

A man in a chef’s apron, laughing.
Chef Oscar Diaz will open Little Bull this month.
Lauren Vied Allen

LITTLE BULL

Location: 810 North Mangum Street
Key Players: Chef Oscar Diaz
Projected Opening: Early April
The chef behind lauded Raleigh restaurant Cortez Seafood + Cocktail, Oscar Diaz, branches out to Durham with the opening of Little Bull this spring. Diaz wants to redefine American comfort food through his view as a first-generation Mexican-American who grew up in Chicago and ended up in the South. Look for items like dumplings stuffed with birria and served with giardiniera chimi churri and confit papas.

NANA’S

Location: 806 West Main Street
Key Players: Chef Matt Kelly
Projected Opening: Spring
Durham darling Nana’s opened in 1992, under chef Scott Howell, as a fine dining restaurant and quickly rose to acclaim. The menu was seasonal new Southern cuisine with heavy French and Italian influences. After the restaurant closed, chef Matt Kelly (Mateo, Mother & Sons, and Vin Rouge) took an interest and decided he wanted to keep the tradition going. “Nana’s has always been a great neighborhood restaurant in the American South,” says Kelly, “and that’s what I want to do.”

Also, keep an eye on:
Emmy Squared (Downtown)
Max Jr.’s (Brightleaf District)


RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

Keep an eye on:
Brodeto (Raleigh Iron Works)
Sapo and Coqui (Unknown)
The Mill (Olde Raleigh Village Shopping Center)
The Preserve (Unknown)
Village Tavern (North Hills)


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