Greenville has been a restaurant boomtown for at least five years. Keeping up with all of the new concepts and second locations of established restaurants has been nearly impossible as they pop up downtown and beyond.
But looking ahead to 2020, the velocity seems to have slowed, though there’s still plenty of “new” to anticipate. For example, the majority of this list has been announced previously and maybe has even made our most-anticipated rundown in the past two or three years. (Thank goodness The Commons finally opened in November so it didn’t land on the list a fourth consecutive year).
So that means we’ve been waiting literally years for these to open, which will make it all the more satisfactory when they do. And by the way, there are plenty in the works not included on this list as restaurant owners finalize their plans, so stay tuned for more first-quarter announcements.
NEW! — Maestro Bistro and Dinner Club
104 S. Main St.
Projected opening: February
Chef Samuel Dominguez, formerly executive chef of Hall’s Chophouse, Breakwater, and Rick Erwin’s Nantucket, is keeping this new project vague on details, but he is channeling his passion for cooking into his own restaurant now. The address announced Jan. 2 is the former Famous Toastery location (formerly Two Chefs) in Poinsett Plaza between Nose Dive Gastropub and TD Bank. Demo has begun, and the space will be under construction through January with the goal of providing a unique dining experience for all Upstate foodies.
120 S. Main St., Simpsonville
Projected opening: Spring
After two years of hunting for a location, Jorge “Papi” Barrales of Papi’s Tacos is ready to introduce his authentic Mexican cuisine to downtown Simpsonville. He and son Jorge Barrales Jr. have recently taken ownership of Papi’s from Table 301 restaurant group as has always been the plan. Going beyond the tacos and tortas at the original location under The Lazy Goat, the new restaurant will allow Papi to serve a full menu of specialty items along with a full bar.
Urban Wren Winery
116 N. Markley St. (Markley Station)
Projected opening: Early 2020
Owners Don and Nick Lincoln launched this hobby-turned-business venture in 2018, and now, with advanced sommelier Eric Cooperman (formerly of The Cliffs) on board, the urban winery and restaurant is set to open early 2020. The restaurant will offer an à la carte menu of small plates, tapas and shareable dishes, as well as a reservation-only, six-course prix fixe chef’s table experience. The location also includes event space, a retail shop and a full production area where Urban Wren will produce its own wine.
1278 Pendleton St.
Projected opening: January
Dobra Tea, founded in 1993 in the Czech Republic as a collective of like-minded, tea-loving individuals, is nearing the opening of its first South Carolina location, with Joe Passalaqua as operator. In addition to teas from around the globe presented to guests in an 85-page tea journal, the Asian-fusion menu also includes lunch and dinner items, many of which are plant-based or gluten free.
The Cook’s Station
Corner of Butler Avenue and Buncombe Street
Projected opening: April
Chef Teryi Youngblood Musolf, former South Carolina Chef Ambassador and founding chef of Passerelle Bistro, has been named the culinary director for the new combined location of a longtime Greenville retail establishment. The new restaurant inside the 11,000-square-foot building will serve fresh, interesting grab ‘n’ go items using as many local ingredients as possible. Expect breakfast staples like hot cereal, the breakfast sandwich, omelettes along with some on-the-go items like brekkie slice (it’s Aussie and delish), individual breakfast casseroles, stuffed breads, raw breakfast bars and all the pastries. For lunch, look for deli favorites and featured sandwiches, hot and cold plates of composed meals, and seasonal soups. All of this will be within easy walking distance of Heritage Green.
307 E. Washington St.
Projected opening: Late Summer
From the creative minds behind Willy Taco comes a hot-chicken joint that will give Fireforge Crafted Beer customers an additional onsite food option. The former auto shop in front of the brewery will take on a clean, vintage feel with a heavy emphasis on comfort food from former South Carolina Chef Ambassador William Cribb. Chicken fried, grilled, shredded and loaded with flavor will be accompanied by Southern sides like loaded goat cheese grits and pimento cheese mac and cheese. For brunch, hot chicken and donuts made the working menu. Along with other cocktails, a Cheerwine slushie with “bourbon, lime and good times” is also listed on the sneak peek we got.
Swordfish Cocktail Club
220 Coffee St.
Announced opening: Jan. 2
Can we get an “Amen!” for this one? These cocktail masters have been working at landing a downtown space for at least four years, and probably longer. But, the wait is almost over, and those who never made it to the elusive Thursday night secret location will now have the opportunity to enjoy the full experience as the owners intended. Members of the club will have special perks, but the bar specializing in pre-prohibition, classic cocktails will be open to the public.
9 Anderson St.
Projected opening: Early 2020
Partners Stephen Phillips and Nick McSherry are more than ready to open their bar in the West End. Construction delays have kept that from happening sooner, but they’re hoping for January. Frequent pop-ups at GB&D, The Whale and Methodical Coffee have kept the creative juices flowing and future customers engaged. Exile’s relaxed bar environment aims to be inclusive of everyone, regardless of cocktail knowledge or experience, and even those not drinking alcohol will have a variety of mocktails to choose from.
118 N. Markley St. (Markley Station)
Projected opening: Spring 2020
Co-owner Drew Nesemeier brought his Charlotte, North Carolina, pay-by-wristband taproom concept back to his hometown of Greenville when he announced this second location for the brand. The main taproom will have 40 taps, and 15 taps will have wine, as well. The rooftop, currently under construction, can be reached by a central stairwell, will have the same taps as the ground level, and include yard games along with some great views of downtown.
126 Augusta Road
Projected opening: January
The 13-restaurant outdoor food hall is so close to opening, we can almost smell the marinara from The Pasta Addict — one of the local spots on the roster. Announced in November 2017, this project has nearly worn out everyone involved, but the result will be worth it. The remainder of the tenants are Mike’s Philly Cheesesteak and Roast Pork; Sweet Sippin’; authentic German cuisine from Prost!; Cocobowlz; HenDough; Mercado Cantina; KO Burger; Al Taglio; Greenville Beer Exchange; Saki Saki; Rocky Moo; and West End Coffee Roasters.
556 Perry Ave.
Projected opening: Late Spring
Four beverage-centric businesses will open by late spring in the adaptive reuse project in the Village of West Greenville. Six & Twenty Distillery, LaRue Fine Chocolate, Carolina Bauernhaus Brewery & Winery, and Unlocked Coffee Roasters will take control of their spaces to begin build out in January with the goal of opening ASAP. Six & Twenty will feature a cocktail lounge and small-plate food offerings; LaRue will offer artisan chocolates, desserts, cheeses, wine, bubbles, beer and cocktail list offerings in addition to coffee and tea drinks, hot chocolates with house-made marshmallows, and creative nonalcoholic cocktails; Carolina Bauernhaus will have an outdoor space for a beer garden and entertainment area to serve its handcrafted ales, ciders, and meads using locally sourced yeast, hops, fruits and grains; and Unlocked Coffee will roast its coffee and serve specialty drinks in its cafe.
813 Laurens Road
Projected opening: Late 2020
Home Team BBQ’s sixth location and new to the market Double Stamp Brewery will anchor the 12-acre mixed-use development that will also include other restaurant, retail and office tenants. With plenty of onsite parking and green space to roam, this location was ideal for Home Team’s family-friendly model when it brings its famous wings and comfort food from the Lowcountry to Greenville.