With the changing of the season comes some highly anticipated restaurant openings to enjoy in the calm fall months before holiday mayhem ensues. Read on for our top picks for new restaurants across the country that you should check out this autumn.
The historically posh Fontainebleau Miami Beach just paid homage to its past by reopening Chez Bon Bon, the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel’s original coffee bar and patisserie shop. Led by executive chef Jordi Panisello, the sleek space features cake domes suspended from the ceiling, cases of decadent desserts and stations where shopgoers can watch truffles, pralines, macarons, éclairs and bonbons crafted before their eyes. The delicate classic cakes are ready for pick-up on the spot and specialty cakes, crafted by Angela Louise Encio, can be ordered in advance. In addition to exquisite pastries, chocolates, and gelato, the café also offers a menu of light bites such as quiche lorraine, croque monsieur and grilled vegetable pizza.
Coltivare opened in Houston with much pomp and circumstance at the start of this year, as owners Ryan Pera and Morgan Weber already had quite a following since their first venture, Revival Market, opened in 2011. The locally focused grocery, prepared food and meat market was known for its pop-up dinners, kolache (a Czech pastry stuffed with savory or sweet fillings) bake sales and butcher classes, all using pasture-raised and antibiotic-free meat from its own ranch. Coltivare, located just down the road, focuses on fresh, simple, Italian-inspired cuisine with the same all-natural meat as well as pristine produce from its 3,000-square-foot garden. The menu constantly changes, but a recent one spotlighted a salad with shredded duck, arborio, farro, pine nuts, pole beans, celery and verjus; a charred octopus dish with melon, cracked coriander and oregano; and crab ravioli with sorrel, pea shoots and mushroom broth. Pizzas are a huge draw and range from the basic (tomato, basil, mozzarella) to the more innovative (portabella and pickled mushrooms, walnut puree, crescenza — an Italian cow’s milk cheese — red onion, parsley, walnut oil). The fowl on the chicken and prosciutto pizza is brushed with Italian salsa verde before it’s grilled in the Josper, a hybrid charcoal oven-grill that lends a subtle smokiness to the meat. The amaro-focused cocktail program ranges from the boozy to the refreshing, all perfect for leisurely sipping in the sunbathed distressed-wood dining room.
Named after Denver Bronco legendary quarterback John Elway, the eponymous restaurant delivers winning favorites to guests of Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton Denver and diners only coming for the steaks, racks of lamb, crab legs and signature salmon. The restaurant, bar and lounge were all completely renovated recently, and the NFL icon himself was in attendance for the unveiling. A new private dining space called John’s Room can accommodate up to 12 diners who can see the bustling kitchen through an expansive viewing window. (The view might be best on NFL Sundays, when the kitchen hauls out steaks, smothered burritos and other morning treats for the Game-Day Brunch Buffet.) The room also has an HD TV and audio-visual capabilities, making it a solid choice for a business meeting or a game-day celebration. The lounge features dark wood floors, a stone fireplace and a locally made community table while a stunning onyx wall separates the bar from the restaurant. The Wi-Fi-enabled space is also equipped with plenty of charging stations, a convenient addition to the modern interior facelift.
Recently opened in Four-Star The Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grand Lakes, Highball & Harvest intends to be the name that comes to mind when people think of elevated Southern cuisine in a modern, elegant setting. Speaking of the name, “Highball” is not only a nod to classic cocktail culture, but it is also the word for a train conductor’s signal to depart at full speed. “Harvest” references the railroad-inspired restaurant’s commitment to farm-to-table practices; its produce and herbs are grown onsite in a 7,000-square-foot garden on Whisper Creek Farm, then used in both the creative dishes and the handcrafted drinks. The menu, created by chef de cuisine Mark Jeffers, draws influence from his Florida roots and Southern travels from Charleston to New Orleans. Highlights include the Southern Spread (pimiento cheese, smoked fish dip, pickled vegetables, benne seed lavash and sourdough spread served in a tackle box), smoked lamb brisket with boiled peanut “baked beans” and collards, and grilled corn chowder with pig “popcorn” (crispy pig ears similar in consistency to pork rinds) and grilled corn relish. In a display of true Southern hospitality, oysters are shucked tableside by chefs and served with housemade hot sauce and crackers. Many of the cocktails are also crafted at the table by bar chefs for a personalized and educational experience. The savory Dill or No Dill combines gin, elderflower, cucumber, dill and lemon, while the sweeter Doc Holliday comes with vodka, blueberry jam, grapefruit and house ginger beer. As a testament to the restaurant’s intense attention to detail, the ice is infused with farm-fresh herbs and fruits, then hand sculpted at the bar with a Japanese ice saw.
Co-chefs Eddie Russell and Matt Palmerlee worked side by side for years at Athens, Georgia’s now-shuttered Farm 255 before founding well-loved supper clubs Coterie & Tie and The Four Coursemen and putting together The Cooking Channel Show Belly Up. In opening their first restaurant together, Last Word in Atlanta’s Fourth Ward, they wanted to focus on the joy of gathering with friends over delicious food, no matter the occasion or type of cuisine. The dining room is decked out in white subway tiles, finished concrete floors, cerulean hued booths and a redwood communal table for parties of eight to 12. Menus vary by the calendar, but supper club fans can look forward to seeing some favorite dishes, such as the absinthe panna cotta with scallop, mushroom, chervil and cracker. Groups will find lots of unique shareable plates, too, like the lamb belly shawarma with traditional Lebanese accoutrements, housemade flatbread, house-cured pickled turnips and spicy peppers. The restaurant is slated to open in early October.