Restaurant Openings Report: Week of August 03, 2014

Every week, we take a look at some of the restaurants that have opened or will soon open across the country and around the world
Restaurant Openings
Facebook/Dr. Andrew Weil

True Food Kitchen, whose latest location is now open in Houston, serves a holistic menu modeled after Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet.


Italian restaurant chain Grappa’s from Hong Kong has unveiled its seventh location in Greater China in Shanghai, in the city’s popular new Jing-An Kerry Centre. Grappa’s resides on Level Three of the South Wing with direct access to the new Jing-An Shangri-La and the rest of the development on fashionable Nanjing West Road that features luxury retail stores, restaurants, bars, and a movie theater. Created by El Grande Concepts, Grappa’s Italian chef Marco Bajma and his team prepare all the sauces, pastas, sausages, and desserts using premium ingredients, such as the finest imported semolina flour, Extra Virgin olive oils, and some of the world’s best natural cheeses from Italy and the U.S. Grappa’s also bakes its own bread fresh daily with no artificial preservatives. The extensive menu features classic renditions of traditional Italian favorites, such as the appetizer Carpaccio Di Manzo with thinly sliced beef tenderloin, a selection of gourmet pizzas baked in the wood-fired pizza oven, and signature mains including an Osso Buco of veal shank in Barolo red wine sauce with risotto, and Arrosto di Agnello di Rosmarino with roasted lamb chops, fennel, Parmesan gratin, and a rosemary Port sauce. 

Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
Tony Roma’s recently opened location within the Mangus Fashion Hall in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico includes a full bar, featuring Tony’s famous selections, such as the Citrus Habanero and Agave Nectar Romaritas, 18 televisions, and a children’s play area. To complement the inside dining experience, guests can enjoy great service and food under the outdoor, covered patio as well. The extensive menu showcases a few of Tony Roma’s iconic dishes, like the onion loaf and Tony’s World Famous Baby Back Ribs.

Local chef Ben Lloyd has recently opened his own restaurant, The Salted Slate, located in the space formerly occupied by the Farmstead cheese shop. The menu features the best locally-grown ingredients with influences from top international producers, and the restaurant’s mission centers on eliminating waste in the kitchen. Lloyd emphasizes using whole animals that are humanely raised at local farms, and the soapstone bar also features four taps offering selections of New England craft beers, a well-curated list of spirits, and unique wines.

New York
STATE Grill and Bar is preparing to open on the ground level of the Empire State Building. The dining room and bar is inspired by New York State’s rich culinary resources, showcasing local farms, bakeries, fish markets, wineries, craft breweries, and spirits. They will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner in three private dining rooms, and office catering will also be available.

On Wednesday, August 6, all-frozen food retail concept Babeth’s Feast opened on the Upper East Side. Jason Bauer of Crumbs Bakeshop and Elisabeth de Kergorlay, who was an early investor in Le Pain Quotidien, are behind the brand, which is breaking stereotypes about frozen food. The store will offer 360 products sorted into ten different categories, including breakfast, pastries, breads, hors d’oeuvres like Mini Croque Monsieur and petite fig and caramelized onion puffs, soups, side dishes, main courses, and more. 

The Food Network’s Chopped judge Maneet Chauhan will add “restaurant owner” to her résumé next month with Chauhan Ale & Masala House, which will open its doors in late August in Nashville’s neighborhood, the Gulch. With a gastro pub-inspired menu, Maneet will serve authentic Indian creations, as well as draw upon her newfound love for Southern cuisine with several delicious and unique down-home Southern classics with an Indian spin, like coriander-spiced pulled pork on corn bread, served with a green apple and cilantro slaw; and Tandoori five chili hot chicken, her Indian version of Nashville’s famous hot chicken. The chef is also foraying into craft brews, by partnering with Cool Springs Brewery in Franklin, TN, to create a line of seasonally-changing brews infused with Indian spices, such as a cardamom-saffron ale!

City Winery will open its doors in the warehouse district of SoBro this fall, and will transform an existing 30,000 square-foot warehouse into a downtown hotspot with an intimate 300-seat concert hall, restaurant, and private dining operation, as well as a fully functional winery, the first of its kind in Music City. The restaurant’s grand opening is slated for Wednesday, October 1, though on September 17 it will host the Americana Music Association’s Honors & Awards’ official VIP after party, along with a full calendar of shows during the Americana Music Festival. The Festival shows will serve as a soft opening, and the venue will also be the after-party location for the second annual Music City Food + Wine Festival.  

True Food Kitchen has opened at Phase II of BLVD with a menu dedicated to simple, seasonal fare, bringing a healthy, holistic dining experience to Galleria and Uptown diners. Named a 2013 Nation’s Restaurant News “Break-out Brand,” True Food Kitchen offers globally inspired cuisine including starters, salads, sandwiches, entrees, and fresh-squeezed juices, based on Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet that aims to counteract chronic inflammation and help people achieve and maintain optimum health. Tailoring the menu to specific dietary restrictions and allergies, True Food Kitchen offers a wide selection of vegan, vegetarian, organic, and gluten-free options, along with dishes for those following a paleo or Mediterranean diet.

The menu features year-round classics like the “inside out” quinoa burger, Panang curry, and turkey lasagna, as well as seasonal dishes like heirloom tomato and watermelon salad, corn and eggplant pizza, and strawberry rhubarb crisp. The Houston menu features several new items not found at any True Food Kitchen locations, including kale and avocado dip, a gluten-free Thai green papaya salad with kelp noodles, and gluten-free chicken Tandoori kebabs. The restaurant’s full bar serves sustainable, organic and bio-dynamic wines, local craft beers and cocktails made with fresh fruit, honey and other natural flavorings. True Food Kitchen also offers non-alcoholic “natural refreshments” including juice, herb and vegetable blends like “kale-aid” made with kale, apple, cucumber, celery, lemon and ginger and “hangover RX” with coconut water, pineapple, vanilla and orange juice. In addition to its healthy dining efforts, True Food Kitchen also strives to be an eco-friendly restaurant. Each location uses compostable take-out packaging and menus printed on paper from renewable resources. The dining room also features chairs made from recycled plastic soda bottles and reclaimed wood floors.

Newport Beach, CA
Settebello, the Neapolitan-style pizzeria with locations throughout Las Vegas, Nevada and Southern California, is opening its eighth location, this one at the Crystal Cove Shopping Center. Staying true to the traditional restrictions set by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, Settebello sets the highest standard for its pizzas and ingredients with head pizzaiolo Carmine D’Amato overseeing the step-by-step process. Featuring an exquisite indoor/outdoor space designed by Marshall Projects and a newly revamped menu offering classics like the Margherita, Marinara, and Settebello with crushed tomatoes, pancetta, sausage, mushrooms, toasted pine nuts, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil, as well as specialties specifically crafted for the Orange County location.

Los Angeles
Roy Choi's Commissary has opened its doors in Koreatown on the second floor of The Line Hotel, which is the fourth installment of chef Choi's different concepts for the establishment. Calling Commissary a produce garden restaurant, Choi recently said, "There will be a garden up there, and you'll be eating in the garden. It's a vegetable focus, but not vegetarian. I just want to make a restaurant where I'm using mostly vegetables and fruits and cooking them like I would."

When Joan McNamara opened Joan’s on Third in 1998, she realized her childhood dream of sharing good food, lively conversation, and laughs with a large, extended family by creating a place where guests truly felt at home. As her gourmet marketplace, deli, and catering business grew over the years, Joan saw a need to create a second home for her expanding business, and so introduces a second location in this month in Studio City. Just like the original, it will offer omelets, Joan’s Turkey Meatloaf, Chinese Chicken Salad, and the Magic Bar, an addictive cross between a brownie and oatmeal cookie. Joan’s extensive travels throughout Europe influenced many of the exotic yet accessible gourmet items found throughout her marketplace, including jams, Champagne, barrel-aged balsamic vinegar, cheeses, olives, and smoked nuts. 

Ocean Prime will open in Beverly Hills in fall 2014, serving lunch Monday through Friday and dinner nightly, Ocean Prime will offer guests seafood, steaks, handcrafted cocktails, and award-winning wines. Made from scratch, dishes will showcase simple, pure and regional flavors. The space will be modeled after a supper club, will seat 350 guests, and feature three private dining rooms to accommodate more intimate gatherings and celebrations, along with a lounge and bar.

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