New York, NY
This season-one alum is set to open a wood-grilled pizza joint in NYC's Financial District called PizzaVinoteca in February 2012. The 45-seat casual sit-down eatery, which Asprinio hopes will become a national chain, will feature reasonably priced Roman-style pies, a concept that he calls "recession-proof." To drink, expect craft beers, low-priced vino and housemade root beer (32 Water St.).
[Also see: Reality vs. Reality TV: 5 Misconceptions About Being a Chef]
2. Richard Blais
Restaurant: The Spence
City: Atlanta, GA
The Top Chef: All Stars winner, known for his wildly innovative and unconventional cooking techniques, will open this new eatery, a partnership with Atlanta restaurant group Concentrics, in winter 2012. Although Blais is known for molecular gastronomy, for this project, expect more traditional dishes like housemade pasta, burgers and wood-roasted meats (75 Fifth St. NW).
3. Leah Cohen
Restaurant: Pig & Khao
City: New York, NY
Cohen, formerly of Centro Vinoteca
, has been spending time hosting pop-ups at Manhattan's LTO and traveling throughout Southeast Asia. She's currently still looking for a space in the East Village for her new Asian eatery, Pig & Khao,
which will draw inspiration from the continent and feature cuisine from many different countries. No opening date has been set although signs point to late winter.
4. Tiffani Faison
Restaurant: Sweet Cheeks
City: Boston, MA
This season-one finalist will soon open Sweet Cheeks, her take on Southern BBQ, in the next few weeks. Promising an "ingredient-driven" menu, a large outdoor space and a "serious beverage program," it has all the makings of a down-home hit. Look for it to open in mid-October in Boston's Fenway neigborhood (1381 Boylston St.).
5. Hung Huynh
City: New York, NY
who had previously been cooking at kosher Midtown eatery Solo
, is teaming up with the EMM Group (Abe & Arthur's
) for this seafooder opening in the Meatpacking District this Saturday. Expect a relaxed atmosphere and a focus on sustainable fare (21 Ninth Ave.).
6. Stephanie Izard
Restaurant: Little Goat
City: Chicago, IL
Following up on the success of her barely eight-month-old eatery Girl & the Goat
, this Top Chef
project on Randolph Street will be a no-fuss diner/bakery concept inspired by the East Coast. The 100-seat eatery will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and will feature private dining and a bar. Look for a late fall opening.
7. Brian Malarkey
City: La Jolla, Seattle, Denver, Etc.
Malarkey has major expansion plans in the works, hoping to open 15 new restaurants that will be riffs on his existing San Diego eateries Searsucker
. Locations are planned for Seattle, Denver, Houston and more, and the cuisine will vary locally. And that's not all: in March 2012, Malarkey will debut a new La Jolla project with partner James Brennan and designer Thomas Shoos that will have either a "non traditional Italian" or a "neighborhood fish market" theme - the duo has yet to decide.
8. Spike Mendelsohn
Restaurant: Good Stuff Eatery
City: Arlington, VA
There are rumors that this fedora-loving chef will be taking his popular burger spot, Good Stuff Eatery
, to other cities like Philly and Chicago. First up, however, the chef tells us he'll be expanding to Crystal City in Arlington, VA, this spring.
9. Kevin Sbraga
City: Phildelphia, PA
This season-seven winner will soon be opening a small-plater in Philadephia, a prix fixe concept that will feature the chef's "personal rendition of American food," offering items like meatloaf with truffles and foie gras. Expect the 65-seater in late October/early November (440 S. Broad St.).
10. Ryan Scott
Restaurant: Name TBD
City: San Francisco, CA
Though this season-four vet has been busy with his 3-Sum-Eats
truck, he'll soon open a yet-unnamed, brick-and-mortar eatery that will be a fast-casual concept modeled after San Francisco's Myth Cafe
(68 W. Portal Ave.).
11. Dale Talde
City: Brooklyn, NY
The Top Chef Chicago
/Top Chef All-Stars
alum is gearing up to open his Asian-American eatery Talde
in the next few weeks in Park Slope, Brooklyn. For his first solo venture, the former Buddakan
chef will partner up with Thistle Hill Tavern
owners John Bush
and David Massoni
to open a 70-seat space that will fuse American and Asian (namely Southeast Asian, Chinese and Japanese) cuisines. It will feature a chef's counter facing an open kitchen (369 Seventh Ave.).
12. Bryan Voltaggio
Restaurant: North Market Kitchen
City: Frederick, MD
The DC-based season six vet will open North Market Kitchen, an ambitious 10,000-sq.-ft. eatery in Frederick, MD, that will include a 200-seat dining room, a specialty store, an exhibition kitchen, a raw bar, a cheese counter, a patisserie and more. He's modeling the venture after NYC's Eataly, the massive Italian food market launched by Mario Batali (331 N. Market St., Frederick). He's also planning a yet-to-be-named bistro/steakhouse in DC's Chevy Chase Pavilion (5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW).