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Denver, CO – Campus Lounge
The corner of South University Boulevard and East Exposition Avenue proved unlucky for two ownership groups who tried to make a go of it after Jim Wiste sold his decades-old Campus Lounge in 2016, but a new team hopes the third time will be a charm. The founders of Recess Beer Garden in LoHi are behind the latest effort, and they plan to return some of the neighborhood ambience and sports-bar vibe to the space. The new ownership group will keep the Campus Lounge name. Recess co-owner Owen Olson says he grew up in the neighborhood and remembers going to the Campus Lounge with his parents, so honoring its history is a priority. Olson says the bar will reopen to the public on January 29.
Seattle, WA – Chengdu Taste
Six years ago, when Chengdu Taste debuted in San Gabriel Valley to rave reviews from the Los Angeles Times’ late, great restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, the wait for a table was up to four hours. (That’s not a misprint.) Co-owner Sean Xie said he loves this area, and Seattle was the first city outside of Los Angeles he targeted for expansion, but red tape and other delays meant he had to wait three more years.
Chicago, IL – Ambria
A historic collaboration between two of Chicago’s most successful restaurant groups plans to resurrect a long-dead French icon in 2020. Principals of the Alinea Group and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises are implementing “major renovations” inside the historic Belden-Stratford building in Lincoln Park to turn part of it into Ambria 2020, a reboot of the French classic that closed in 2007 after a 27-year run. Expect legendary chef Grant Achatz to “moderniz[e] the very best classical dishes and ingredients” inside a space that will be “all new, modern, and stunning” with “nods to the original.” It’s currently slated to open around mid-year.
Austin, TX – Simi Estiatorio
Greek is coming to downtown Austin with the arrival of the new fine dining restaurant from owner George Theodosiou. While there is no attached chef as of yet, the restaurant will fly in fresh seafood straight from the Mediterranean region every day. Expect items like grilled octopus, seafood orzo, and assorted whole fish, paired along American and Greek wines.
San Francisco, CA – Baia
Plans for the upcoming vegan Italian restaurant Baia, which is set to replace Jardiniere on Grove Street in Hayes Valley, were announced less than a month after chef Traci des Jardins closed her flagship restaurant in April. Tracy Vogt, the owner of a 32-acre farm animal sanctuary in Sonoma, is leading the meatless venture alongside Matthew Kenney, a California-based restaurateur who has multiple upscale vegan restaurants across the country.
Detroit, MI – Coriander Kitchen & Farm
Following a successful Patronicity campaign last fall, Coriander Kitchen & Farms’ partners are preparing to start construction on their canalside restaurant and bar in the former Fisherman’s Marina in Jefferson Chalmers. Gwen Meyer and Alison Heeres teamed up in 2014 to start their business and currently operate a small farm and catering business with seasonal pop-ups hosted by Detroit River Sports. The pair were finalists in the Hatch Detroit competition in 2016. The farm-to-table restaurant will feature affordable cuisine with a relaxing patio along the canal. RL Concetti is working with Meyer and Heeres on the interior design.
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