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A computer rendering of the interior of a brewery, with tables, chairs, and bar stools, along with hanging plants throughout the dining area
A rendering of Here Today, the new brewpub planned for the waterfront
Courtesy of Here Today

Most Anticipated Seattle Restaurant, Bar, and Cafe Openings of 2021

A few places to look forward to this year

Projecting what the restaurant landscape will look like next week, let alone for a full year, is a daunting task. With dining rooms still closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many plans for future projects are still up in the air, and quite a few that planned to open in 2020 have been delayed.

But there’s reason for optimism as we enter mid-January. With a vaccine rollout in Washington accelerating, and hopefully some more government relief on the way for the hospitality industry and its workers, several chefs are looking forward to better days ahead. Here are some of the most notable upcoming restaurant, bar, and cafe openings, listed in alphabetical order. We may add a couple of more once further information is confirmed, but if you have a tip on any upcoming projects in the meantime, send us a tip.

Boon Boona

The two-year-old Renton cafe and roastery — with a focus on African coffee — will soon debut its first Seattle location on Capitol Hill, replacing the Cherry Street Coffee House. Boon Boona’s Seattle spot is a big step for the young business, and the plan is to make it a community hub, with an eye on organizing live musical performances, when allowed. Owner Efrem Fesaha says the menu will include seasonal drinks, and he hopes to boost the food menu through collaborations with local businesses from marginalized communities. No opening date, but the aim is to open by spring. 1223 E Cherry Street

Carmelo’s Tacos

The popular Mexican food window inside Capitol Hill’s Hillcrest Market will open up a second location in the neighborhood, and its first full-fledged restaurant. Carmelo’s has been a true hidden gem since opening in 2018, serving campechano, asada, and al pastor tacos that have drawn long lines. The menu at the new place will mostly be the same as the Hillcrest Market location, with a couple of tweaks, including some birria and seafood options in the mix, as well as breakfast tacos on weekend mornings. Depending on how regulations go in Washington’s reopening plan, the new Carmelo’s will start with takeout within the next two months, but there’s a patio and room for 30 guests inside the 1,300 square-foot space. 1223 E Cherry Street, space C121A

Flora Bakehouse

After a year of planning, the bakery offshoot of celebrated vegetarian restaurant Cafe Flora is planning to open in Beacon Hill Saturday, January 23, after last year’s debut was nixed due to the pandemic. On the menu will be a selection of vegan cinnamon rolls, kabocha squash croissants, and hummingbird muffins, as well as some breakfast sandwiches and a full menu of coffee. Owner Nat Stratton-Clarke tells Eater Seattle that the shop will open for takeout at first, then gradually add outdoor seating on its rooftop garden when the weather gets warmer in the spring. 1511 S Lucile Street

Hello Em

Yenvy Pham, co-owner of Little Saigon’s popular Pho Bac Sup Shop, is opening this new cafe in the neighborhood, specializing in Vietnamese roasts and snacks and located inside the Friends of Little Saigon Creative space. Hello Em has its own roastery, and while the menu is still in flux, customers can expect cá phê sữa đá and a lighter version of cá phê trung (an egg cream Vietnamese coffee). On the food side, Pham is working on what she calls the “banh mi-nini” (a pressed banh mi) and some sweets, such as salted egg red bean buns, pork floss bread, durian crepe cakes, and fresh fruit cakes rolls. Opening is tentatively scheduled for late January. 1227 S Weller Street

Here Today

The co-owners of acclaimed Belltown bars No Anchor, Vinnie’s, and Rob Roy are planning a big new brewpub. Located near the former Old Spaghetti Factory building, overlooking the waterfront, Here Today will include beers brewed onsite and spirits-free cocktails on draft. Cam Hanin — of the acclaimed pop-up Guerrilla Pizza Kitchen — has been tapped to work on the food menu. Opening date is still TBD. 10 Clay Street

Lariat Bar

Several nightlife industry veterans are prepping this wrestling-themed drinks den in White Center, which will feature vintage posters, a small ring, and a life-sized Andre the Giant decal. Though the pandemic slowed plans down, money from a Kickstarter campaign helped keep the project alive. The bar will serve Future Primitive beer, mezcal cocktails, and concession-type food, such as nachos, hot dogs, pretzels, and chili. It will also look to support independent wrestling organizations and local groups. 9827 16th Avenue SW

Limeña

This long-gestating project in Columbia City is from chef Tamara Murphy and Linda Di Lello Morton, who own the farm-to-table restaurant Terra Plata on Capitol Hill. The new spot will be housed in the former Salted Sea space, and pisco and Peruvian food promises to be front and center. There’s no opening date set — timing will depend on guidelines for restaurants and the vaccine. 4915 Rainier Avenue S

Oaky’s Tex-Mex

The former pop-up, which had a short, well-received stint at Interbay’s Batch 206 distillery in 2019, is making progress on a new Central District restaurant. Co-owner James Barrington, who also runs Wood Shop BBQ on the same block with business partner Matt Davis, are looking to open the new location sometime in February/early 2021. Though details are still coming into focus, diners can likely expect dishes that built a following when Oaky’s was in Interbay, such as carnitas tacos and enchiladas, as well as what Davis once called his “real core passion” — creamy queso. 2524 S Jackson Street

Phorale Way

Speaking of Tex-Mex cuisine, the restaurant offshoot of the popular Asian Tex-Mex street food truck and catering business Phorale should be on the horizon for early 2021. Owner Young Cho recently added a sustainable philosophy to the planned fast-casual menu at the White Center spot, partnering with a South Seattle-based group called the Preservation Meat Collective. So far, the planned menu features steak sandwiches, chimichinos (an eggroll-chimichanga hybrid), and birria, with ingredients soured from an urban garden. 9418 Delridge Way SW

Untitled Brady Williams Project

After five years at the helm of Queen Anne fine dining icon Canlis, Williams is about to strike out on his own. The James Beard Award-winning chef is leaving his post at the end of February to open up a new restaurant somewhere in Seattle proper. Details of the new project haven’t been revealed yet, but if his stint at Canlis is any indication, diners should expect a thoughtful dedication to sourcing local ingredients and a variety of global influences. “It’s been a trying year, but I’m hopeful for what’s to come and to build something for and with this community,” says Williams. No address announced yet

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