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10 Biggest Seattle Restaurant Openings to Watch in 2020 (So Far)

These places could define the year in dining

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A closeup view of Chengdu Taste’s mung bean jelly noodles with chili sauce.
Chengdu Taste’s mung bean jelly noodles.
Amaelinda B Lee/Eater

seWith a New Year, comes plenty of great new food to try. Seattle restaurants closed on a volatile note in 2019, but the early buzz for this year is full of major names, popular international chains, and rising star chefs staking their claim in the city with some exciting projects. These are a select few to keep an eye on — and, no doubt, there will be many more to come. (Restaurants are listed in roughly chronological order of their most recent expected opening date.)

Musang

Location: 2524 Beacon Ave S, Beacon Hill
Key player: Chef Melissa Miranda
Projected opening: January 9
What to know: This Filipino restaurant — launched from a successful Kickstarter campaign — was on Eater’s fall “most anticipated” list, but some delays pushed back the opening. Still, diners won’t have to wait long to sample star chef Miranda’s well-crafted comfort food dishes, such as pork sinigang, beef mechado, and bola bola (bacalao and rockfish fritters with apple ketchup). The grand opening is set for next Thursday, with previews — that began before the holidays — ramping up again this weekend.

Taku

Location: 706 East Pike St, Capitol Hill
Key player: Chef Shota Nakajima
Projected opening: Late January
What to know: Over the past year, 2018 Eater Young Gun Nakajima has honed his vision for a new restaurant focused on Osaka’s famous kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers). Among the initial offerings will be snacks that include lotus root, shrimp, and beef shortrib, alongside a colorfully-named dish called the Fuckit Bucket: 10-15 skewered items served family style. There will also be street signs, Japanese lanterns, manhole covers, anime posters, a giant Godzilla head, and a custom unicorn door adorning the small space, with a Toki highball machine on hand (one of only a few in the city).

Chengdu Taste

Location: 504 5th Ave S, International District
Key player: Managing partner Sean Xie
Projected opening: February
What to know: The wildly popular Sichuan restaurant chain that started in the Los Angeles area six years ago plans to open its first Seattle outpost at the historic Publix building sometime in February. When it arrives, diners are in for a treat, from mung bean jelly noodles to cold spring onion chicken in pepper sauce that, as Eater LA wrote in its Essential Sichuan Restaurants guide, “is as silky as the best Hainan chicken, imparting that familiar citrusy-grassy numb taste that deepens with each bite.”

Meet Korean BBQ

Location: 500 East Pike St, Capitol Hill
Key players: Owner Heong Soon Park
Projected opening: February
What to know: This Korean barbecue spot from the owner behind Bacco Cafe and Chan plans to bring wood-fire grilled bulgogi and wagyu beef to East Pike Street within the next month or so. Park tells Eater Seattle that his new restaurant will be “traditional Korean BBQ with a modern twist,” serving up a variety of high-end meats, including Kurobuta and Iberian pork. It’ll take over the space vacated by Trove, the multifaceted Korean restaurant from Rachel Yang and Seif Chrichi, which closed last summer.

Phnom Penh Noodle House

Location: 913 S Jackson St, International District
Key players: Dawn, Diane, and Darlene Ung (daughters of original owner Sam Ung)
Projected opening: Early March
What to know: This popular Cambodian restaurant in the International District closed in the spring of 2018 after 30 years in business, but is now attempting a comeback. The restaurant’s owners have raised funds via Indiegogo to reopen at a new location, and are currently finalizing construction in the Thai Binh building on Jackson Street. From all accounts, the revived Phnom Penh will carry over a smaller menu with favorites from the original restaurant, including its signature noodle soups and chicken wings.

The Flour Box

Location: 5520 Rainier Ave S, Hillman City
Key player: Baker Pamela Vuong
Projected opening: Spring
What to know: Vuong’s pop-up of the same name has earned a loyal following over the past two years with plush brioche doughnuts — and she now has found a permanent home in Hillman City. In addition to doughnuts, the new bakery plans to offer fried-to-order beignets, pavlova, sweet and savory toasts on house-made brioche, and more. Many of the items will be inspired by Vuong’s childhood, travels, and favorite memories, which will include Asian-influenced flavors and ingredients, especially.

Hai Di Lao

Location: Pacific Place, Downtown
Key players: CEO Zhang Yong
Projected opening: Spring
What to know: The late great Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold described this chain as “the Ferrari of Chinese hot pot restaurants,” and it’s currently setting up its first Seattle location inside Pacific Place as part of the shopping center’s redevelopment. Hai Di Lao — which earned its place on Eater LA’s Essential Chinese Restaurants — is known for its rich broths, sauce bar, and entertaining table-side service, which includes staffers dancing as they stretch noodles into waiting bowls of soup. This outpost — and a planned restaurant at Bellevue Pacific Center — will be its first U.S. expansion outside of California.

Milk Drunk

Location: 2800 16th Ave S, Beacon Hill
Key players: Chef Logan Cox and Sara Knowles
Projected opening: Summer
What to know: The husband-and-wife team behind highly acclaimed Beacon Hill restaurant Homer recently announced plans for a new ice cream and fried chicken-focused place in the neighborhood. The new fast casual spot will open sometime this summer in the same building as Perihelion Brewery and will have cocktails as well as an extensive soft serve menu that includes dips, toppings, waffle cones, and more.

Here Today

Location: 10 Clay St, Belltown
Key players: Co-owners Christopher Elford and Anu Apte-Elford
Projected opening: Summer
What to know: The cocktail power couple behind acclaimed Belltown bars No Anchor, Vinnie’s Raw Bar, and Rob Roy are planning to open a brewpub next to the former Old Spaghetti Factory building, overlooking the waterfront on Clay Street. And there are some rising stars in tow. One of their partners is Averie Swanson, formerly of Austin brewery Jester King, and consulting on the food side is up-and-comer Cam Hanin, who runs the well-attended fermented pizza pop-up Guerrilla Pizza Kitchen.

That Brown Girl Cooks

Location: 2320 E Union St, Central District
Key player: Chef Kristi Brown
Projected opening: TBD
What to know: Brown has been operating her successful catering business of the same name for years now, but will finally open a full-service restaurant this year in the Liberty Bank Building, an affordable housing complex designed to honor the neighborhood’s African American heritage. The menu will reflect what Brown calls “Seattle soul” — dishes tinged with Southern and Northwest influences.

Phnom Penh Noodle House

913 South Jackson Street, , WA 98104 (206) 785-6936 Visit Website

The Flour Box

5520 Rainier Avenue South, , WA 98118 Visit Website

Taku

706 East Pike Street, , WA 98122 (206) 829-9418 Visit Website

That Brown Girl Cooks

2320 E Union St, Seattle, WA 98122 Visit Website

Ha Di Lao

600 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101

Here Today

10 Clay St, Seattle, WA 98121

Milk Drunk

2805 Beacon Avenue South, , WA 98144 Visit Website

Meet Korean BBQ

500 East Pike Street, , WA 98122 (206) 695-2621 Visit Website

Chengdu Taste

504 5th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

Musang

2524 Beacon Avenue South, , WA 98144 (206) 708-6871 Visit Website

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