Opening a restaurant is one of the riskiest financial moves someone can make. Many won’t even make it to their one-year anniversary, and the odds of a restaurant leading its chefs and owners to fame and fortune are slim at best. But sometimes a restaurant opens, and people across the country stand up and take notice. It doesn’t happen too often, but it happened for these 12 restaurants this year.
Most restaurant openings are decidedly not “big.” Usually it’ll attract a bit of local interest and curiosity while it’s under construction, a handful of writeups once it opens (if that), and either it’ll sustain enough business once whatever buzz built up around its opening dies down or it won’t. But big restaurant openings — the really, really big ones — can start getting buzz a year or more before they actually open. Major newspapers and food sites like Eater, along with a hired public relations firm, keep the momentum going, ratcheting up the excitement. And if a big-name chef or restaurant group is involved, it’s not surprising to see reservations filling up before it even opens. Whether or not the restaurant is able to keep the tables full after that is dependent on plenty of factors, but a big opening is usually enough to sustain the momentum for quite some time.
These 12 restaurants opened with lots of fanfare, buzz, well-established chefs at the helm, and the wind in their sails, moreso than just about any other restaurants that opened in 2017. They may not be the best restaurants that opened this year — for some, it’s far too early to tell — but they were definitely the biggest. Whether they’ll still be going strong at this point next year is anyone’s guess (we have a feeling they will be), but for the time being, they’re among the hottest restaurants in the country.