Of all the things to look forward to in 2016 -- around 230 days of heavy clouds (again), the Seahawks probably not winning the Superbowl (again) -- the thing we're most excited by is hitting all of the new Seattle bars and restaurants planning to open this year. So excited, in fact, that we put together a list of eight spots you absolutely can't miss in 2016:
Acquired Taste: Blood Rice Cakes With Timothy DeLaGhetto and Justina Valentine
South Lake Union One of a gaggle of new spots opening on 9th Ave in South Lake Union, this second outpost of the boisterous Cap Hill bar -- inspired by the Portage Bay bar that became the original Red Robin -- promises much of what you get at the original: Americana all over the walls, and on the menu in the form of "gourmet" hamburgers, chicken wings, etc. Oh, and don't forget $1 Rainiers. Look for it to open early 2016.
Georgetown Yes, one of Seattle's most prolific restaurateurs (Li'l Woody's, 95 Slide, Fat's Fried Chicken & Waffles, etc.) is opening a casual south-of-the-border-inspired spot built around a huge grill, and boasting a sprawling outdoor space, and he's doing it with help from one of Seattle's most exciting chefs (Sitka & Spruce, the Corson Building, Bar Sajor, etc.). That should be enough to get anyone excited.
Laurelhurst (& other locations) And now for the Josh Henderson/Huxley Wallace portion of the list: first up, a fast-casual burger joint that's starting out just east of UW/the University Village and planning to open in February, but has plans to take over Seattle with as many as eight to 10 outposts in the works.
Laurelhurst From the same crew behind Westward and Quality Athletics (and the above burger place!), this 38-seater next to the Burke-Gilman Trail, that will open its doors in February, promises an all-day brasserie-style menu starting with house-made pastry in the morning and continuing... well, all day.
South Lake Union Yes, it's another restaurant from the Huxley Wallace crew. And yes, it's another new restaurant in South Lake Union, but what sets this place apart is that Josh Henderson will actually be in the kitchen cooking up the food he loves most from his childhood, and his travels around the world, on the corner of Westlake and Mercer. Oh, and if that's not enough for you, these guys are also opening a "sexy taco" spot and a bottle shop/bar sometime in 2016, quite possibly around March.
Ballard Opening in the Ballard Public Lofts and Market building, this refined eatery from a former Book Bindery chef, who also worked at Per Se in NYC and at restaurants in Paris, is planning to lace you with contemporary American cuisine made with French technique. But sadly, not for six months or so, as it's not set to open until mid-2016.
Downtown It'll be the third Seattle area location for this international dumpling joint, but there's no doubt people are eagerly anticipating the day its doors open on the fourth floor of Pacific Place mall this summer... if only so the lines at the Bellevue and University Village locations get a little shorter.
Belltown One of two new projects from the family behind Seattle's famed Rob Roy (the other spot's a taproom/oddities shop called No Anchor), this nautically inspired tavern is going for a tropical feel with a menu full of rum-based drinks like classic Mai Tais and grog... but because it's the Rob Roy crew you can expect elevated 'tails of all kinds and a full-service food menu.
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Bradley Foster is a former Thrillist editor who hasn't tried any of these spots (duh, they don't open until later in 2016), but he totally will. Unless the line is too long at Din Tai Fung, obviously.