Restaurant Openings Report: Week of November 30, 2014

Every week, we take a look at some of the restaurants that have opened or will soon open across the country
Credit: Michael Tulipan

Cooklyn has opened on Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

Atlanta
Popular Atlanta restaurateur Guy Wong of Miso Izakaya will bring his latest concept, Ton Ton, to the Central Food Hall at the Ponce City Market in spring 2015. The menu will comprise Japanese ramen, yakitory, sushi, noodles, rice, and other Japanese dishes.

Chicago
Chef Homaro Cantu, owner of Chicago’s Michelin-starred Moto restaurant today announced Cantu Restaurant Group’s latest offering, Berrista, will open Monday, December 8th. Located in Chicago’s Old Irving Park neighborhood, the eatery will feature homemade "healthy junk food" made with and without sugar. Think: donuts, pastries, sandwiches, fresh fruit smoothies, coffee, tea, and more. Planned hours will be Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday, 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., closed Sunday. “Berrista is changing the face of coffee and sugar,” said Cantu. “It is built upon a curious jellybean-shaped fruit called the Miracle Berry, which is able to change sour and bitter flavors to taste sweet. Our belief for Berrista is to give customers the flavors they crave, but to do so in a way that's healthier for them. Flavor is always in season—we invite you to enjoy your vices.”

New York
Reminiscent of the heyday of post-war Brooklyn, cocktail bar Branch Ofc. arrives in the burgeoning Crown Heights neighborhood this December. The diner meets cocktail lounge aesthetic was created by 15-year industry vet and owner Christopher Buckley, who spent years working at nearby Franklin Park, and hopes to fill a void he sees for a 'locals' bar on the south side of the neighborhood. The posted menu, similar to vintage subway signage, includes the $11 signature cocktails: Branch Ofc. (Jameson, lime, and bitters); Vero Beach Fizz (Cruzan rum, grapefruit, and ginger); and Note to Clara (Beefeater, lemon, and cava), in honor of Tom Meany’s wife. Beer drinkers can get a Schaefer can ($4), which was the official sponsored beer of the Dodgers, or any of the five drafts (IPA, Stout, Pilsner, Brown ale, Seasonal) in a frosted mug ($7). For snacks, patrons can munch on one of four paninis, a bag of chips, pickles, nuts, or cookies.

Cooklyn, a seasonal American restaurant with two veterans of Michael White’s empire on the opening team, has opened in Prospect Heights. The restaurant will strive to celebrate local Brooklyn purveyors, winemakers, artists and artisans. The chef is Anthony Theocaropoulos, who grew up in an Italian-Greek family and has worked under Michael White, Masaharu Morimoto, and Mario Batali. The menu includes octopus and pork belly with smoked potatoes, fava beans, and watercress pesto; venison wontons with mortadella and whole grain mustard; sea urchin Capellini, and “Duck Duck Cous:” seared duck breast with duck confit and warm cous cous salad. The cheese plate is sourced from Stinky Brooklyn, bread from Brooklyn Bread Company, and the coffee from Toby’s Estate. Desserts will include three creative sundaes with housemade ice creams, as well as two plated desserts meant to be shared: pumpkin custard, and a candy bar of chocolate and hazelnut.

West Village-based Italian restaurant and bakery Risotteria, self-desribed as a "gluten-free heaven," is opening a second location on the Upper West Side by early April 2015. The new space is under construction on Amsterdam Avenue at West 78th Street, taking the spot vacated by Westway Food Market this past June. Larger than the Bleecker Street locale, the northern outpost will still focus on gluten-free risotto, Neapolitan pizza, and Paninis, and will also sell gluten-free baked goods, including homemade breads and desserts.

sweetgreen, the chain of organic, seasonal kitchens with 27 locations along the East Coast, will open two additional stores this month: one in Nolita (100 Kenmare Street) on Wednesday, December 10, and another in Williamsburg (162 North 4th Street) on Tuesday, December 16. In what has become an opening day tradition at sweetgreen, both of the new stores will host "Pay What You Want" from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the day before, with 100% of proceeds benefitting two local charitable partners: GrowNYC (NoLita) and Education Through Music (Williamsburg). The new locations will also unveil an exciting new open kitchen design prototype for sweetgreen created by Leong Leong, the NY-based, internationally-renowned studio from brothers Chris and Dominic Leong, whose previous work includes 3.1 Phillip Lim, Opening Ceremony, LVMH, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, and MoMA PS1.

Philadelphia
Starting Monday, December 8, chef and owner Kevin Sbraga invites guests to be instantly transported to the 1980s at Juniper Commons, his new restaurant on South Broad Street. The restaurant will boast quintessential American dishes from chef Sbraga and executive chef Greg Garbacz, one of the most extensive gin lists in the city, reimagined classic cocktails, and a soundtrack of the greatest hits from the decade. The chefs worked to create a menu of recognizable dishes from the 1980s, updated for modern tastes and executed with quality ingredients, like peel n’ eat shrimp cocktail, a shellfish tower, and Caesar salad fort prepared tableside; Guests can then move on to impeccably roasted selections from the open kitchen’s Grillworks Grill, such as the wood roasted chicken and prime rib dishes, available daily, or one of the rotating specials featuring Duck a l’Orange, branzino, and suckling pig.

Kate Kolenda is the Restaurant and City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @BeefWerky and @theconversant.

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