This season, there are many restaurant openings around town: new places from celebrity chefs; establishments serving tapas, burgers, and Asian small plates; and a fair share of watering holes emphasizing craft cocktails. Here is a look at some of the most anticipated.
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Catalyst (just opened). Chef-owner William Kovel, formerly of Aujourd'hui, makes his contribution to the growing deliciousness that is Kendall Square. Chef de cuisine is the estimable Anthony Mazzotta (Lucca Back Bay). The menu is highly seasonal, and its chicken logo practically squawks "Farm to table!" Right now, dishes include seared, spice-crusted hiramasa with orange-yuzu syrup and cucumber radish salad; corn ravioli with scallions, Thai basil, and chanterelles; tournedos of beef with rainbow chard, taleggio ravioli, and bordelaise sauce; and a root beer float with mint, sassafras-ginger syrup, and crushed blueberries. There's also a bar menu, and Catalyst will soon be open for lunch and brunch. At the bar, you'll find classic cocktails and updates, as well as a drink called The Undecided: "Bartender's Choice -- Trust Us." 300 Technology Square, Cambridge. www.catalystrestaurant.com.
Storyville (Sept. 16). The space formerly known as Saint was formerly known as Storyville, the '50s jazz club where Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald performed. The name returns, and so do the food and drink of the era. Chef Louis DiBiccari (Sel de la Terre) crafts small plates that riff on retro dishes such as beef Wellington and duck a l'orange. (Most likely to gain a cult following: baked beans "on steroids": molasses baked beans with guanciale, foie gras, bacon bits, and homemade bread crumbs.) William "English Bill" Codman, recently of Woodward, is taking charge of the libations. He'll feature tiki drinks and classics, with a slant toward New Orleans cocktails. 90 Exeter St., Boston. www.storyvilleboston.com.
Firebrand Saints (September). Chef Gary Strack of Central Kitchen and the Enormous Room has partnered with MIT on this restaurant. Yes, it's in the Kendall Square area. (At this point, it might be quicker to note when restaurants aren't opening in that neighborhood.) The menu will feature sandwiches, rotisserie-cooked items, and more. 1 Broadway, Cambridge. www.firebrandsaints.com.
Wahlburgers (soft opening late September). Alma Nove chef Paul Wahlberg, celeb brothers Mark and Donnie, and family friend Ed St. Croix open a burger restaurant, irresistibly called Wahlburgers. In Hingham, Wahlburgers will offer a variety of burgers with toppings, hot dogs, fries and onion rings, and shakes. Expect a sort of diner-meets-childhood nostalgia-meets Hollywood vibe. A super-duper sound system will play everything from Motown to Katy Perry, there will be vintage diner-style booths, the walls will be decorated with Wahlbergernalia, and nine bicycles will hang from the ceiling, "representing a shared childhood memory of Wahlberg children," according to a press release. The patio is designed to resemble a schoolyard, but it has an 8-foot fireplace, which my schoolyard certainly never had. 19 Shipyard Drive, the Launch at Hingham Shipyard, Hingham.
The Hawthorne (October). Jackson Cannon of Eastern Standard and Island Creek Oyster Bar has long had a following for his cocktail program, through which he introduced many in Boston to craft bartending and classic drinks like the Jack Rose. Now he is opening his own craft cocktail bar, the Hawthorne, right nearby. (Some possible insight into the name choice.) It will be located in the space formerly occupied by the Foundation Lounge at the Hotel Commonwealth. 500 Commonwealth Ave., Boston.
Red Lulu (October). At the end of 2010, Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar opened, bringing sexy Gothic vibes, vertical nachos, and cotton candy to Back Bay. Each meal begins with an amuse-bouche of grapefruit granita with tequila over dry ice, smoking like a cauldron. All of this ought to go over well in Salem, where sister restaurant Red Lulu opens next month. 94 Lafayette St., Salem. www.redlulusalem.com.
Trade (October). Rialto chef Jody Adams (above) branches out with this new restaurant on the ground floor of Atlantic Wharf, right on the harbor and near the Greenway. Offering lunch and dinner, Trade aims to be fun and lively, the kind of place you can pop into for a bite or sit down at for a more-formal meal. Small plates, flatbreads from the wood oven, and other dishes are inspired by Adams's travels and will be prepared with local, seasonal ingredients. Cantabrigians, never fear. Adams will still be at Rialto, in addition to working with Trade executive chef Andrew Hebert, who was formerly executive sous chef at Rialto. 540 Atlantic Ave., Boston. www.trade-boston.com.
Descent (mid-October). Descent re-creates a Prohibition-era speakeasy in a subterranean space at the W Hotel. Speakeasies may be so 2010, but there's real talent behind the project. Sasha Petraske, who has shaped the New York cocktail scene with bars such as Milk & Honey and Little Branch, was involved with the initial design and concept. London uber-bartender Charlotte Voisey, winner of just about every cocktail award there is, is heading the drinks program. (It would be great if she were behind the bar more often than Jean-Georges Vongerichten is in the kitchen at Market.) 100 Stuart St., Boston.
Sweet Cheeks (mid-October). Chef Tiffani Faison (Rocca, "Top Chef," pictured above) opens a barbecue place in the Fenway. In preparation, she traveled through Texas, researching the 'cue there. On Twitter, she promises "smoked meats, sweet tea, whiskey, suds & southern kindness north of the mason dixon." Sounds like a perfect fit for the Fenway. 1381 Boylston St., Boston.
backbar (late October). Journeyman the restaurant begets a bar/lounge called backbar. Located just behind the restaurant but operating separately, it will offer cocktails classic and new; wine, beer, aperitifs, and digestifs; and an a la carte menu featuring favorite dishes from Journeyman's tasting menus. The bar manager is former Drink bartender Sam Treadway, back from a stint in Hawaii. This bodes well for the cocktails. 9 Sanborn Court, Somerville. www.backbarunion.com.
Kika Tapas (late October/early November). The burgeoning Kendall restaurant scene gets another addition with Kika Tapas, located in the Watermark building on the corner of Third Street. The restaurant comes from the owners of Tapeo in Boston and Solea in Waltham. Expect Spanish small plates and sangria. 9 Broad Canal Way, Cambridge. www.kikatapas.com.
All Star Pizza Bar (November). The folks behind All Star Sandwich Bar take on brick-oven pies in this space across the street. (ASPBar doesn't have quite the same ring as the sister establishment's acronym.) You'll find pizzas adorned with fig jam, gorgonzola, and Granny Smiths; chile relleno ingredients with a mojito drizzle; potato skin toppings such as bacon, caramelized onions, and cheddar; and Buffalo duck confit with blue cheese. There will also be salads, sangria, and beer. 1238 Cambridge St., Cambridge. www.allstarpizzabar.com.
Moksa (November). Patricia Yeo (above) made the South End more delicious with her Asian small plates at the now-defunct Ginger Park. Then she partnered with the owners of Om, to run that restaurant and open this new one, Moksa, in Central Square. Unlike Om, Moksa will be Yeo's own baby, and it will be exciting to see what she does with the "Pan-Asian izakaya." 450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. www.moksarestaurant.com.
South End Buttery (November). Take 2. The South End cafe gets another outpost, right on the path to Back Bay station. Rejoice, caffeine-addicted commuters. Along with the beverages, there will be baked goods and sandwiches. 37 Clarendon St., Boston.
L.A. Burdick (late fall). Watch out, Max Brenner. An army of little chocolate mice is about to march into Back Bay. You likely know L.A. Burdick from its Cambridge branch, where the hot chocolate is so thick and chocolate-y, it puts many others to shame. Now the chocolate shop gets a Boston branch. Located between Newbury and Boylston streets, it is sure to become a popular pit stop for shoppers. 220 Clarendon St., Boston. www.burdickchocolate.com.
Others to look forward to:
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The former Redline, in Harvard Square, will reopen with a new name, concept, menu, and look in late fall. It's a great location. Let's hope for something equally great.
It's sad to see Gargoyles in the Square close after a long run in Somerville. But the owner of Pizzeria Posto, also in the neighborhood, is taking over the space. It will be a Mexican restaurant called the Painted Burro. Opening date to come.
Also arriving soon in Somerville, this time in Union Square, is Casa B. The restaurant will serve tapas and pinchos. It's operated by two Somerville residents from Puerto Rico and Colombia. They previously ran a personal chef and catering business called Tentempie, which specialized in Latin American fusion. Opening date to come.
Todd English says Olives will reopen before the holidays. It's time, Todd. Make it happen. Make it great. Surprise the naysayers. Make us happy.
Later in the year, Poe's Chester Square Pub comes to the South End, at the corner of Tremont and Mass. Ave. It will feature international pub fare -- "spanning the globe from Russia to Africa to New Zealand." There will be beer and wine from around the world, too, and an interactive menu that accepts requests via Twitter. The chef is Brian Poe of Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake. (Hey, when you've got a really cool last name, you have to make the most of it.) Also in the works from Poe, in the former Shangri-La space in Beacon Hill: Tip Tap Room, a casual restaurant featuring tweaked bar food. (Think game tips instead of steak tips, with a rotating selection of elk, yak, alligator, etc.) If the project proceeds as planned, look for it to open in early 2012.
Also coming in 2012: The Aquitaine Group has taken over the Rocca space in the South End. They're turning the former Italian restaurant into ... an Italian restaurant. More details when we've got 'em.
What's cooking in the world of food.
ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.