The New Year is usually the time to celebrate new beginnings, but the coronavirus has made that a challenge for 2021, following a year in which Dallas saw a brutal number of closures.
But with a vaccine and a new President, we may have reasons to be optimistic about the future. We should maybe follow the example set by these Dallas restaurateurs who are betting on a better year ahead.
This list represents an annual tradition which we first debuted in 2013. And we try to do them all, not just the "anticipated" ones, lame.
Some of these we've written about; others haven't been written about at all.
Here's our list of restaurants set to open in 2021:
Ame. Former Hattie's space in Bishop Arts will become home to a new upscale Indian restaurant from the owners of 8 Cloves in the Dallas Farmers Market. Opening in February.
Bagel Cafe 21. Bagel shop is opening in Richardson at 1920 Coit Rd. with 21 varieties of bagels including plain, everything, onion, rosemary olive oil, blueberry, pumpernickel, and more. Owners Lisa and Kyriakos Kouzoukas previously owned Bagel Fresh Deli in The Colony. They'll open in late January.
Bam's Vegan: Smoothies & Wraps. Vegan stand at Dallas Farmers Market from chef Brandon Waller will open brick-and-mortar location in Irving at 2301 N. O'Connor Rd. In addition to dishes like blackened cauliflower Alfredo pasta, they'll sell vegan bottled products. Opening January.
BB.Q Chicken. Korean fried chicken franchise with more than 1,000 locations worldwide is opening a location at Belt Line and Plano Road in Richardson. They fry their chicken in olive oil and also offer Korean dishes such as bulgogi rib eye and kimchi fried rice. This will be the fifth location in DFW, following Plano, Carrollton, and Arlington.
Berni Bean Coffee. Mom-and-pop coffee shop opening in downtown Dallas takes on a revolving-door location at 400 N. Saint Paul St. that's been home to a series of indie cafes including Real Nice Place, Mad Hatter's, Tootsie's Cafe, and Trolley Stop Cafe. Opening January 19.
Biscuit Bar. Local biscuit-centric chain will open its sixth location in Coppell in a former Mooyah Burgers space at 104 S. Denton Tap Rd. Other locations are near SMU, Deep Ellum, Plano, Arlington, and Fort Worth.
Blaze Pizza. Neapolitan-style concept is firing back up with a location opening in Richardson at 1450 E. Belt Line Rd., in the Richardson Village center. In DFW, there are currently four locations in Frisco, Arlington, Fort Worth, and Grand Prairie.
Bonchon. Korean concept known for its crunchy-chewy fried chicken will open a second Dallas location in Addison in February. The chain is now headed by Dallas restaurant vet Flynn Dekker, and they're relocating their headquarters here from New York.
Boxochops. African restaurant is opening in Plano at 8500 Ohio Dr. in the former Treatz Bakery space where it will serve the same sweet and savory Nigerian-style snacks including meat pies and "puff puffs," Nigeria's version of doughnut holes, that founder Vivian Anuolam has been doing out of her home since March 2020.
Brasão Brazilian Steakhouse. Quintessential Brazilian-style steakhouse with meats roasted over an open flame and a massive salad bar hails from San Antonio. It'll open in Plano at 5741 Legacy Dr., in the former Henry's Tavern space, in the spring.
Carbone. Michelin-starred Italian-American restaurant from New York is opening in the Design District, in the former Wheelhouse-Sassetta complex. The Sassetta side will be high-end while the Wheelhouse side will be more casual with a simplified menu. Sassetta is relocating to Joule Dallas hotel downtown.
Carte Blanche. Chef-driven restaurant-bakery from husband-and-wife chefs Casey and Amy La Rue will open in the space at 2114 Greenville Ave. previously occupied by Mudsmith, the coffee shop that closed in October 2019.
Chido Taco Lounge. Taqueria opening in a former SmashBurger at 6959 Lebanon Rd. in Frisco is from first-timer Blaine McGowan, who developed a following after having hosted dinner parties out of his home.
Christies Sports Bar & Grill. Uptown Dallas old-timer closed in July, but is rebooting at 2817 Greenville Ave., in what was briefly burger joint Slater's 50/50, but used to be Greenville Avenue Bar & Grill. Opening January 22.
Clean Juice. Juice bar franchise will open a second location in Frisco at the Starwood Shopping Center at Lebanon Road and Dallas North Tollway in March.
Cry Wolf. East Dallas restaurant from chef Ross Demers will open in a former Subway at 4422 Gaston Ave. Demers envisions a warm, personal place with open kitchen, limited menu, and 28 seats. The cuisine is "1960s Paul Bocuse meets California French."
Curry Up Now. Indian fast-casual concept from San Francisco will open its first Texas location at the Grandscape in The Colony at 5752 Grandscape Blvd. Menu includes a tandoori fried chicken sandwich, sweet potato waffle fries, and fried cheese ravioli with tikka masala dip. Opening in March.
Dave's Hot Chicken. Nashville hot chicken chain from Los Angeles has signed a lease for its first Dallas restaurant at 14750 Preston Rd., in a former Boston Market, which closed in 2019. It'll open in the spring.
Distinctive Vines Wine Lounge. Wine bar with a little extra will open in historical building just south of downtown Dallas at 1110 S. Akard St. They'll be open all day so you can get coffee, drink wine, or a little of both. Opening in late spring.
Dutch Bros Coffee. Drive-thru coffee company from Oregon plans to open 11 locations in Dallas-Fort Worth, starting with Plano at 750 W. Spring Creek Pkwy., opening in the spring; and McKinney at 1401 N. Custer Rd., opening in the summer.
Ebb & Flow Legacy. Deep Ellum restaurant-bar from a group that includes Dallas Hale (Shell Shack) is opening a second location in Plano at 7300 Lone Star Dr. #C-125, which was previously an Olivella's and before that, Coal Vines. It'll open this spring.
Egusi. African soul food restaurant will open in downtown Dallas in the former Cafe Izmir space at 211 N. Ervay St., where they'll do health-conscious AfroSoul food in an authentic and sustainable manner.
The Elwood. Food & beverage veterans including owners of Cold Beer Company in Deep Ellum and Fillmore Pub in Plano will open this bar in McKinney at Hub 121, a mixed-use development in the works at the northwest corner of Alma Road and SH 121. Early 2021.
Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea. Coffee concept from Chicago will open its first shop in Dallas, in an office building in the Knox-Henderson district, at 4514 Cole Ave. They have 8 locations in Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and L.A. Mid-2021.
Federales Tequila & Tacos. Chicago-based tequila and taco chain with bro vibe will open a location in Deep Ellum at 2820 Commerce St., in the one-time home of Sankofa Cafe, in the fall.
Fiery Hot Chicken. Indie Nashille hot chicken place will open in Plano at 151 W. Spring Creek Pkwy., at US-75, in the same area as 99 Ranch, Daiso, and 85° Bakery.
Firehouse Subs. This is the 37th location in the DFW area for this Florida chain, opening at 6411 E. Northwest Hwy. #120, in the new-ish center near Abrams Road on January 25.
Greenville Avenue Pizza Co. Small Dallas pizza chain with locations on Greenville Avenue and in East Dallas is opening a third in Richardson that will be double the size with new features including big patio, indoor-outdoor bar, and private event space. It'll be at 520 Lockwood Dr., next to Lockwood Distillery, near Belt Line Road and US-75, and will open in winter 2021.
Harper's. Deep Ellum restaurant-bar from Milkshake Concepts (Stirr, Vidorra, Citizen) will open at 2551 Elm St, alongside the Pittman hotel in The Epic complex with a menu from chef Jacob Williamson (Five Sixty). Opening in March.
Hawthorn. Seafood and steak restaurant from Aphelia Restaurant Group (Oak, Pakpao Thai, El Bolero) is opening at the AT&T Discovery District in downtown Dallas at 211 S. Akard St. in mid-January.
Hot Chicks Chicken. Nashville hot chicken concept with boozy slushies from One Entertainment Group (Landmark, The Yard, and Texas Republic) debuted in Plano in December and will open two more in late spring, in Willow Park, west of Fort Worth, and in Dallas, near SMU.
Joe Leo Fine Tex Mex. New concept from FreeRange Concepts (The Rustic, MUTTS Canine Cantina, Bowl & Barrel) is opening at 2722 N. Fitzhugh Ave., taking over the space occupied by El Bolero, now closed. Early spring.
Kyodai Handroll & Seafood Bar. Frisco restaurant with sushi and affordable omakase just softly-opened a second location in Carrollton, in the fomer Zero Degrees space.
Laili. Stocks & Bondy stall at Dallas Farmers Market will become home to a Mediterranean shwarma bar from the folks at 8 Cloves, who occupy the stall next door. Launched their soft opening on January 22.
Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee. Georgia-based chain with nine locations in Atlanta, Boston, Houston, and Bradenton, Florida, will open a coffee shop in Deep Ellum, in the mixed-use Novel building in the spring.
Lucky's Hot Chicken. Nashville hot chicken from Vandelay Hospitality Group (East Hampton Sandwich Co., Hudson House) will open in the former Digg's Taco Shop at 6309 Hillcrest Ave., near SMU. The first Lucky's opened in a cool mid-century building at 4505 Gaston Ave.
Main Line Coffee Bar. Coffee shop is opening at Harvest Hall, a food hall in downtown Grapevine, where it will serve coffee, pastries from Main Street Bakery, doughnuts from Dough Boy Donuts, Azucar Ice Cream, plus spiked coffee and ice cream drinks. Opens January 30.
Main Street Food Hall. A developer in Frisco is plotting a food hall near the Frisco Fresh Market with 10 restaurants, two bars, three live music venues, and 30+ TVs. In November, they opimistically forecast an early 2021 opening.
Manpuku. Premier chain of Japanese barbecue, aka yakiniku, restaurants will open its first location in Texas at 2023 Greenville Ave., in the former Yucatan Taco Stand space. This will be the first not only for Dallas and Texas, but also the first in the U.S. outside California. Spring.
Mendocino Farms. California chain will open a second Dallas-area location at Prestonwood Place shopping center in Addison. The first opened in Dallas in November 2019. They're known for good quality-ingedients and killer sandwiches, including a vegan Reuben that made CultureMap's Top 5 bites for 2020.
Meridian at the Village Dallas. The most high-profile of the myriad new concepts coming to the Village Dallas, thanks to its name-brand chef Junior Borges. Opening in the spring.
National Anthem. New restaurant from chef Nick Badovinus will open in the triangular Magnolia Oil building, part of a new district being formed on the eastern edge of downtown Dallas called the East Quarter. Date still TBD.
New York Pizza & Pints. Small local chain serving pizza and draft beers is opening a location in Flower Mound Town Center at 2701 Cross Timbers Rd. in the spring.
Nusr-Et. Steakhouse concept founded in 2010 by famed Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe, nicknamed Salt Bae and now a meme because of the flourish he uses while seasoning steaks. There are a half dozen locations and more coming soon, including one in Dallas at 1900 Pearl St. Ostensibly opening any minute now.
Paris Baguette. International bakery-café concept with one location in Lewisville will expand its DFW presence with a second location in Carrollton, in the same center as H-Mart at 2625 Old Denton Rd. It'll open in the spring.
Parry's Pizza. Denver-based restaurant group known for New York-style pizza and craft beer has its eyes on Texas, with one location already open at Grandscape in The Colony, and two more teed up for McKinney 3705 W. University Dr., and Irving, opening in the summer.
P.F. Chang's To Go. P.F. Chang's chain will bring its brand new takeout-only concept to Dallas-Fort Worth. It's a smaller model focused on to-go only, and will open in Irving, McKinney, and Flower Mound in the summer.
PT Neighborhood Pizzeria. New concept from veteran restaurateur Rich Hicks (Pie Tap, TacoLingo) is a fast-casual spinoff of Pie Tap — "basically Pie Tap's cool little brother," Hicks says. It'll open in the former Ming Place China Bistro at 5715 Lemmon Ave. at Inwood Road, in late May or early June.
Postino. Hip wine bar concept chain, which has 13 locations in Arizona, Colorado, and Texas, including two in Houston, has built a following thanks to great prices on wine, a menu of sharable items, and expansive patios on which to drink and eat. They'll open their first Dallas location in Deep Ellum in the spring.
Primo's MX. Fourth location of this growing Tex-Mex chain is going into The River Walk at Central Park, a mixed-use development coming to Flower Mound that's set to open in the spring, following Primo's three other locations in Uptown, at The Statler, and on Hillcrest Avenue.
Sabaidee. Sweet family-run Asian restaurant featuring Lao & Thai cuisine, has a new location by Addison, at 5365 Spring Valley Rd. at Montfort Drive, north of Galleria Dallas. It's a little smaller than their other three locations on Lemmon Avenue, Rowlett, and Prosper. Opening mid-January.
Sassetta. Great Italian restaurant from hotelier Tim Headington which was formerly in the Design District will relocate to the Joule Dallas hotel in downtown, where it will take over the space previously occupied by Americano, which was itself another good Italian restaurant.
Scooter's Coffee. Drive-thru specialty coffee chain with the motto "Be Amazing" opens its 13th location in Texas in Rowlett, at 8505 Lakeview Pkwy., with a grand opening event January 25-29.
Sfereco. Second location of this Italian-American concept that first debuted at the Statler Hotel will brings its meatballs to The River Walk at Central Park, a new mixed-use development coming to Flower Mound in the spring.
Shoyo by Jimmy Park. Shoyo is the name of the new restaurant from acclaimed sushi chef Jimmy Park (Nobu, Nori Handroll) opening in the Daddy Jack's space at 1916 Greenville Ave., where he'll offer a unique and extremely personal omakase experience. Late spring.
S&J's Hot Chick. Hot chicken place opening at 2201 W. Northwest Hwy. has chicken sandwiches, chicken strips, sides, and shakes. Owners include the folks from Big Guys Chicken and Rice in Deep Ellum. February.
Spider Murphy's Pub. New bar at 2810 Henderson Ave. informer Bar Stellar space is from Feargal McKinney, owner of two other Henderson Avenue bars, Old Monk and The Skellig. Early 2021.
Sporting Club and BLÜM at the Sporting Club. New bar concept near Deep Ellum at 2516 Florence St. is from the SoClutch group (Concrete Cowboy, Clutch, Sugar Room). It features two concepts side by side. One is a high-energy restaurant and bar. The other is an outdoor space with games. Cuisine is a combination of Italian and Southern food. Early February.
St. Francis Pub. Bar in the works from infamous bar veteran Francis J. "Frankie" Carrabetta, is at 2555 Inwood Rd., previously home to longtime dive bar Chesterfield's which unfortunately did not survive the virus. Opening by summer.
Sushi Box. A third location of this cheap sushi chain is opening in Frisco at 8426 FM 423. Other locations are in Rockwall and Wylie. It'll open in the summer.
Thunderbird Pies. Detroit-style pizza concept from the folks at Cane Rosso and Zoli's Pizza has a permanent location at 7328 Gaston Ave., next door to Cane Rosso White Rock, in the space vacated by craft beer brewery On Rotation. Opening in March.
Tian Tian. Chinese restaurant will go into former Crab Station at 18101 Preston Rd. in North Dallas, where they'll serve authentic dishes including Peking duck. Opening in early summer.
Torchy's. Austin taco chain known for green chile queso is opening two locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth market: Mansfield, at 1671 East Broad St.; and Frisco, in the Shops at Stonebriar at 2947 Preston Rd. Summer.
The Trove. Unusual hybrid in Oak Cliff at 320 W. 7th St. combines gemstone-themed cocktails with a selection of jewelry and a lounge experience. Their subhead is "lounge - jewelry - tapas." Opening January 21.
Vice Park. Latin-influenced nightclub is under construction at 2601 Gaston Ave., from the SoClutch group, which owns restaurants and bars in Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston including Concrete Cowboy, Clutch, and Sugar Room. Winter.
Villa Azur. Super-glitzy Mediterranean restaurant supper club concept from Azur Hospitality in Miami will open on the ground floor of the Victory Park hotel, in the space previously occupied by Cook Hall, which closed in the spring due to the pandemic. The opening is slated for mid-2021.
The Village Dallas. At least eight restaurant concepts are opening at the mega residential development in the middle of Dallas this spring including Buzz and Bustle, a neighborhood coffee shop; and Dive In, a two-story restaurant and bar.
White Rhino Coffee. Small coffee chain known for coffee, pastries, and Southern bistro fare is opening two locations: in Dallas, in the former Londoner Pub at 2909 Thomas Ave.; and Fort Worth, at 1201 8th Ave. In DFW, they have locations in Oak Cliff and Arlington. Tentatively opening in February.