As a busy summer nears its end and Pumpkin Spice Latte season creeps in, here’s Eater’s guide to the most anticipated restaurants scheduled to open in Seattle in fall 2018. (A few of the biggest players should look familiar to readers, as they’ve slipped from projected summer timelines.) Restaurants are listed in roughly chronological order of their most recent expected opening date.
Location: 2115 Westlake Ave., Denny Triangle
Key Players: Randy Garutti
Projected Opening: Late September
The Situation: Delayed from summer to late September, the East Coast’s cult burger chain is nevertheless finally opening its first Washington outpost so fans can gorge on Shackburgers, chicken sandwiches, concretes, milkshakes, and maybe even hot chicken, chicken tenders, and local collaborations — a Canlis burger, perhaps? CEO Garutti is an alum of that hallowed fine-dining institution, after all, and a Shake Shake/Canlis pop-up in June drew hours-long lines. Shake Shack’s large outdoor area means the insanity can spill outside, too.
Location: 2101 7th Ave., Denny Triangle
Key Players: Sea Creatures (Renee Erickson, Jeremy Price, Chad Dale)
Projected Opening: October
The Situation: Renowned chef Erickson (Bateau, the Walrus and the Carpenter, and more) and her business partners just opened the first of two new public ventures in the Amazon Spheres: Deep Dive, a dark, stunning bar. Up next, slightly delayed from summer to October, is Italian restaurant Willmott’s Ghost. It’s inspired by Erickson’s college stint in Rome, Italy, where she says she first fell in love with food, and named for a silvery green summer bloom known as Eryngium giganteum, or Miss Willmott’s Ghost. The restaurant will offer quick meals like pizza bianca, salads, small fried bites, and salumi to suit the working crowd, as well as pasta and other diverse Italian dishes at dinner.
Location: 1701 Western Ave., Pike Place Market
Key Players: Bryan Jarr, Zoi Antonitsas
Projected Opening: November
The Situation: Little Fish is a wildly ambitious sequel, expanding upon the size and scope of Jarr’s tiny, European-style Jarrbar in every way. Inspired by the quality but also the showmanship of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Seattle Fish Guys, and other makers in the historic market, the new restaurant will feature a microcannery, an exciting component that will allow diners to view the preservation of local seafood on-site. The large space overlooking the water in the Marketfront expansion will also have an open kitchen where incomparable chef Antonitsas (formerly of acclaimed Westward) will combine these tinned experiments with steaming bowls of clams, fried and soured cod, and more fresh PNW fish — to great effect, judging by her previews. It should be a perfect fit for an iconic location.
Location: 701 5th Ave, Columbia Tower, downtown
Key Players: Jack Timmons
Projected Opening: November
The Situation: 2018 is the year of the expansion for Jack’s BBQ, a SoDo barbecue darling thanks to its Central Texas-style smoked cocktails and meats, especially the tender slow-cooked brisket. The restaurant is opening expansions in the Columbia Tower (currently aiming for November) and South Lake Union (projected for December), and even joined the roster at Safeco Field this season.
Location: International District
Projected Opening: Late fall
The Situation: Nicknamed the “Starbucks of Taiwan” for its staggering ubiquity and rabid following, 85°C’s entry into the Seattle area has been well-received. But so far the chain has danced around the edges of the city, opening in Federal Way, Tukwila, and Lynnwood, so it’ll be interesting to see what reception awaits it in the International District. As always, expect long lines for specialties like iced sea salt coffee and the “calamari stick” — a squid ink-based bread roll with Swiss cheese inside and garlic spread on top — as well as fresh breads and pastries like Asian-style brioche buns infused with fruit and Western-style sweets like apple pie and macarons.
Location: 2306 6th Ave., Denny Triangle
Key Players: Brian Clevenger
Projected Opening: Fall
The Situation: Prolific pasta chef Brian Clevenger (Vendemmia, Le Messe, and more) is opening his first fast-casual restaurant this fall, serving lunch to the Amazonia office crowd 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. With just 19 seats, the restaurant is planning to increase its output with preorders for pick-up and delivery of quicker versions of the chef’s loosely Italian dishes with fresh pastas and local produce — like rigatoni with pork shank and red cabbage. Leading the charge with Clevenger are chef Jason Brzozowy and general manager Zach Saffle, both veterans of sibling restaurant Raccolto.
Location: 5429 Ballard Ave. NW, Ballard
Key Players: Adam McQueen, Lexi
Projected Opening: Fall
The Situation: Old Ballard Liquor Co. may have closed this summer, but Nordic cuisine is on the rise in the neighborhood, with chef and distiller Lexi planning to reopen her former aquavit distillery and cafe as a bar and restaurant any day now, Freya making waves at the Nordic Museum, and Skal honoring Viking traditions with a rustic drinking hall. Lexi will run the kitchen here, too, teasing roasted or rotisserie game meats like goose, elk, and rabbit alongside, of course, boards of fish pickled on-site and aquavit cocktails. Locals are ready to hoist a tankard, if Skal’s highly successful crowdfunding campaign is any indication.