The South is amassing restaurants with national acclaim like a collection of prized cast-iron skillets. And 2017 is sure to bring even more. From a famed pit master’s new outpost to a modern twist on a lakeside fish camp, these are some of the soon-to-open restaurants our editors are most excited to visit.
Opening in January, One Fifth will be a playground for Chris Shepherd of Underbelly. He’s planning to reinvent the restaurant—formerly a church—roughly once each year for the duration of his five-year lease. First, One Fifth Steak (pictured above). “This menu is basically the stuff I like to cook at home when I have friends over,” Shepherd says. Of course, his dinner parties aren’t quite like most people’s. “We have our beef supplier wet-aging porterhouses for a hundred days at a time,” says the chef, who prides himself on waste-not whole-animal butchery. They’ll share the menu with elegant presentations of offcuts like chuck flap and lamb neck. In August, the restaurant will close so it can reopen in September as One Fifth Romance Languages—serving dishes from France, Italy, and Spain.
Cornelius, North Carolina
In 2015, Joe Kindred moved from San Francisco to his hometown of Davidson, North Carolina, and, with his wife, Katy, opened Kindred restaurant. They’ve since earned raves for their cheffed-up small-town fare—country ham and country pâté, fresh pastas, and pillowy milk bread. Opening this spring on the shores of Lake Norman, Hello, Sailor is another kind of homecoming for Joe. “When I was growing up, the space was a little fish camp called Jack’s,” he says. “We used to take the boat up there.” The menu is still evolving, but one thing’s certain—fried fish, and Kindred is already lining up sustainable sources. “It’s going to be simple, but fun.”
Rodney Scott’s Bar-B-Que
Charleston, South Carolina
For years, Charlestonians have been driving two hours north to Hemingway, South Carolina, to eat at Scott’s Bar-B-Que. Now they’ll have an in-town option. By the end of January, the internationally acclaimed whole-hog pit master Rodney Scott will open up shop in the Holy City. And he’s floated a few possible additions to the famously minimalist menu he serves at his hometown joint. “I want to do more turkey, year-round,” Scott tells us. “I might do ribs by the slab, because people love ribs. We’re definitely thinking about mac and cheese, and maybe a baked potato cooked in the coals the old-fashioned way.” There may even be beer.
After building her résumé at two of New York’s finest, Blue Hill and Per Se, then at Nashville’s Pinewood Social, chef Julia Sullivan (left) is partnering with industry veteran Allie Poindexter to open her own restaurant in Germantown next month. With a raw bar and a wood-burning oven, Henrietta Red will become Music City’s go-to spot for oysters from all over the country and soul-warming roast chicken. “We wanted to build a comfortable restaurant where you’ll love to just sit and eat,” Sullivan says. “Plus, we felt like this town needed a great oyster bar.”
“More than anything, I’m excited about the shrimp,” says chef Duane Nutter, who until recently ran the best airport restaurant in the country: One Flew South in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson. In March, the native of Morgan City, Louisiana, will be riffing on the flavors of his Gulf Coast childhood at Southern National in downtown Mobile. “I’m not going to call this a seafood restaurant, but you could throw a rock from the front door and hit the bay. It’ll definitely be seafood-heavy.”