CORRECTION 12/16/22: A previous version of this article indicated that Kaan is located in Portland, Maine. It is in in Portland, Oregon.
The tribulations faced by restaurants following the pandemic these past two years haven’t faded entirely, but the industry is showing signs of promising change. Consumer values have shifted, and the unpredictable effects of inflation and food supply shortages have presented numerous challenges for budding and seasoned restauranteurs. Christina Davie Donahue, president and chief revenue officer of Buyers Edge Platform, says, “It’s a new experience for all [restaurant] operators. We’ve weathered through many recessions over time and have had to scale back based on consumers not coming through the door. But this is different” (Forbes). Lettuce, for example, continues to rise in price in an unprecedented turn, leaving even major fast food chains without the leafy green on top of menu staples.
Still, such pressures have a way of forging resiliency, and the latest crop of eateries across the country is nothing short of thrilling for food lovers. Whether you’re fortunate enough to be a resident of the locales listed or are looking for worthwhile stops on your travels, we hope you’ll enjoy our compilation of the country’s best in new eateries this year. While there are certainly some big names featured in our rankings, we wanted to highlight small businesses and first-time restaurant owners. We also researched criteria such as consumer reception, innovation and technique, and the mission of each establishment.
Veganism is one of the fastest-growing dietary trends globally. Gone are the days of lackluster lentil loaves — the offerings at Philadelphia’s Pietramala are enticing enough for even the staunchest carnivores. That said, there are no meat alternatives on the table at this vegan restaurant. “Every year, there’s a new vegan product, a new, better, quote unquote, vegan meat. I don’t want to eat that. I want to eat vegetables. I want it to be real food that anyone can enjoy, not just vegans,” chef Ian Graye told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The restaurant isn’t only focused on presenting exemplary vegan fare; it also incorporates produce farmed in Pennsylvania. Because of Pietramala’s dedication to using the freshest seasonal foods, the menu changes quite frequently. Past entrees have included Fried Chicken of the Woods, made from locally foraged mushrooms, and Caraflex Cabbage, which is brined and prepared in a similarly painstaking manner to a Thanksgiving turkey. Pietramala’s extraordinary attention to detail and commitment to highlighting seasonal harvests creates dishes that no one will want to miss.
When it comes to seafood, nothing tastes better than a fresh catch. In San Francisco, restaurants are fortunate enough to partner with local fishmongers to bring diners directly in touch with the finest seaside delicacies. But none are quite as close as Ancora, one of the Bay Area’s newest establishments proud to offer its guests a panoply of locally-sourced seafood. “Ancora’s partnership with Water2Table is unlike other seafood restaurant[s] in the city. We’re able to source seafood directly from local fishermen and women, allowing us to cook fish caught that morning the same night in the restaurant,” Executive Chef Nick Anichini told Forbes.
Anichini hopes that Ancora will be the go-to destination for guests who share a fondness for what he describes as hyper-local seafood -– and local produce. A la carte menu selections vary from Plankton Tagliolini with caviar, topped with leek fondue and bottarga, to sweet buttery Pacific Oysters. There’s also a prix fixe menu available for $125 per guest, which includes both of the aforementioned options plus other tempting plates, such as San Francisco-sourced anchovies with pan con tomate.
Even those with minimal interest in the culinary arts can easily recognize celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson from his appearances on Food Network hits like “Top Chef Masters,” “Iron Chef,” and “Chopped All-Stars.” The award-winning chef and food activist developed the concept for his latest restaurant, Hav & Mar, during the early, isolated months of pandemic lockdowns in 2020. Samuelsson knew it was time to shift toward something new, and he wanted to emphasize sustainable offerings and elements of nature in his next venture. “This is a place where Black excellence is going to be celebrated outside Harlem, so our goal is to work with Black and BIPOC winemakers and farmers,” Samuelsson told Vogue.
The name “Hav & Mar” is a nod to Samuelsson’s Swedish and Ethiopian roots, bridging the cultures together in a two-sided translation of “ocean” and “honey.” The airy dining room is filled with nautical whimsy — Black mermaids grace the restaurant’s walls, designed through the collaborative efforts of creative director Derrick Adams and Atelier Zébulon Perron. Naturally, seafood options appear frequently on the menu, like the Seaside Waffle, topped with shrimp, mussels, octopus, and uni butter, or the signature Black Mermaid Plateau, starring poached lobster amid other freshly caught delicacies. Plant-based guests can choose from mouthwatering smoked plantains or roasted green garden curry, while meat eaters have the option of beef tartare or Amish-style H&T roasted chicken.
The latest English restaurant in New York, Lord’s, is a remarkable joint effort from Dame’s Ed Szymanski and Patricia Howard. The two drew inspiration from the offal-centric concept popularized by chefs Fergus and Margot Henderson when drafting ideas. “This my wheelhouse. This is the kind of food I fell in love with and made me want to cook,” Chef Szymanski told Eater. Szymanski’s commitment to serving the finest English fare has attracted the attention of myriad New Yorkers who are just as enamored with his cooking style.
Fans of English pasties will be overjoyed with Lord’s impressive, golden-crusted bakes served atop charming antique dishware. There’s a delectable twist to every classic here, from pig’s trotters in meat pie fillings to the curried lamb scotch eggs. But despite the justifiably meat-centric menu, Szymanski hasn’t forgotten about Lord’s vegetarian and pescetarian guests. Diners seeking meatless mains can satisfy their appetites with dishes like savory mushroom kebabs over lentils or steamed clams paired with quintessentially British black pudding and cider. There are several desserts, including Guinness sponge and apple trifle, but Lord’s take on the aptly-named Queen of Puddings would win any episode of “Come Dine With Me” with its perfectly toasted meringue finish.
Midtown Manhattan is a neighborhood beloved by tourists, but many New Yorkers try to minimize their time there. Except for classic midtown spots like Keens Steakhouse and Jimmy’s Corner, many of the area’s food and drink establishments are chain-based to appeal to travelers and lunch crowds. However, that’s changed recently with the arrival of fine dining restaurants like Le Rock, a new brasserie from the minds behind Tribeca’s Frenchette.
While Le Rock’s menu is an ode to traditional French cuisine, it also includes some bygone recipes to entice curious diners, like the tablier de sapeur. “[Guests are] the ones pushing the industry, and pushing chefs to be more inventive. So let’s give them a lot more credit, rather than dumb things down,” chef Riad Nasr told Resy. Le Rock’s wine list has more than 200 selections to peruse, and there are even non-alcoholic cocktails, such as the tarragon and garden pea-infused petit pois. Moreover, those with sweet tooths will surely be satisfied with Le Rock’s assortment of desserts. The after-dinner confections include everything from perfectly baked profiteroles to tipsy baba aux muses verte, thanks to pastry chefs Mariah Neston and Michelle Palazzo.
Chef Evan Funke isn’t one to rest on his laurels. The pasta-obsessed proprietor opened the Venice, California hotspot Felix Trattoria in 2017, instantly capturing the hearts of Italian food lovers. Now it appears he’s done it again with his latest Roman-inspired venture, Mother Wolf, in Hollywood. Since its unveiling in early 2022, it’s become one of the most popular restaurants in Los Angeles — and it’s even attracted visits from former First Lady Michelle Obama and Beyoncé. “It’s not just the atmosphere … it’s the anthropology of all of these ancient dishes we’re creating and having our service staff being able to speak to those so you have a richer understanding of the entire experience,” Funke told Surface.
Funke’s predilection for handmade pasta is abundantly clear in Mother Wolf’s menu. After all, this is the same chef who steadfastly consumed cacio e pepe for nearly a month straight to master the dish. Of course, his take on the recipe is available for diners at Mother Wolf to try for themselves, in addition to mouthwatering pasta plates like the olive-studded puttanesca. A must-try at Mother Wolf is the pizza — guests rave about the pies, replete with authentic Italian toppings like mortadella, and cooked to perfection in the pizza bar’s wood-burning oven.
There’s no shortage of sushi restaurants in Los Angeles, especially in Little Tokyo, but Sawa is quickly creating a name for itself as one of the area’s newest and most sought-after options. If omakase is what you’re after, look no further than this refined Japanese eatery’s approach to the chef-led adventure. Although Sawa shares the same founders as its neighboring sister eatery, the exquisite Kaneyoshi, it certainly bears some distinguishing elements. “Kaneyoshi is traditional, but the base here is using Edomae techniques and adding additional things. It’s a little more fusion style,” executive chef Anthony Nguyen told Eater.
Even native Angelenos feel it’s somewhat daunting to find Kaneyoshi, and pinpointing Sawa’s entrance is no easy feat, either: The new sushi bar possesses a near-speakeasy level of hiddenness from street view. The whisper of exclusivity was an intentional touch from Nguyen, as the restaurant’s design only allows a small number of diners to be served at once. Sawa’s omakase features 17 seasonal courses with some eccentric twists along the way, from cherry-smoked chutoro to soy sauce cheesecake. Guests may also opt to include an alcohol pairing with their meal — and one must-try cocktail is the Japanese God Father, an amaretto-tinged potion of whisky and matcha.
The story of Ipoh Kopitiam’s creation is heartwarming. Chef Kenji Tang never set out to open a restaurant but was encouraged to do so purely through the merit of his cooking skills. After routinely offering up free leftovers from his lockdown-inspired kitchen exploits, feedback for Tang was swift from admiring fans. Friends and family insisted that the dishes were too good to give away and suggested that the home chef start selling them instead. As an appreciation for crowdpleasers like Hainan chicken grew, he asked his supporters to gauge their interest in a potential eatery based on the hit recipes. Soon after, Ipoh Kopitiam sprang to life, opening its doors in early January of this year — and in that brief timeframe, it’s even joined the ranks of the 2022 California Michelin Guide.
Tang’s esteemed Hainan chicken remains one of the restaurant’s bestsellers, but other popular items include the fragrant bak kut teh (herbal soup) and char kway teow (stir-fried flat noodles). Malaysian coffeehouses largely inspired Ipoh Kopitiam, so it’s no surprise that its hot milk teas and coffees are customer (and owner) favorites, often paired with buttery kaya or coconut jam toast. It seems that the decision to introduce Tang’s cooking to the masses has paid off: The public is just as smitten with his flavorful menu as day one fans, and reviews for the young eatery are positively glowing.
The culinary landscape of Detroit is interwoven with everything from paczki to pizza, and locals feel strongly about their favorite spots. Still, the arrival of the Motor City’s latest eatery, Petty Cash, is an exciting new option for foodies. Chef Kelly McBride joins forces with Art Hicks, Rufus Bartell, and former NFL player Ron Bartell Jr. to bring a different dining experience to the metro Detroit area. “I wanted a restaurant in the neighborhood where it’s upscale casual, not white linen, but it is that medium where I feel good about this place. We are not a bar, but you also do not have to put on a tie,” McBride told the Detroit Metro Times.
Chef McBride travels internationally at least once monthly in search of heightened inspiration for Petty Cash. The global influence is most visible on the pages of its dinner menu, where a bouquet of flavors tempts diners with entrees from jerk lobster to baharat-infused lamb ribs. On Friday and Saturday evenings, patrons can sample the restaurant’s late-night plates, including the pistachio pesto and pecorino-laced Brussels sprouts that everyone’s abuzz over. One meal you won’t want to miss at Petty Cash is brunch — guests are taken with dishes like the fried chicken and sweet potato biscuits, as well as the unique tea offerings crafted by Nice’s Tea House.
Although Atlanta already sees its fair share of sun, one new establishment is a veritable ray of light on the city’s culinary scene. Wylie & Rum may have only opened for business in August 2022, but it’s garnered a steady stream of admirers ever since. The fusion restaurant draws inspiration from the brightly-flavored cuisines of Cuba, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Polynesia to create dishes that many patrons describe as some of the best they’ve ever had. “When you spend your formative years eating certain food every day, you fall in love with it,” co-owner David Lewis told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
It’s easy to see why this tropical oasis has cultivated a fast following from the city’s food lovers. Dishes like the jerk chicken bowl delight fans nostalgic for the taste of Atlanta’s Bridgetown Grill, the long-shuttered Caribbean spot where Wylie & Rum’s current owners met nearly three decades ago. Other stars of the menu include the creamy black and white soup (another Bridgetown-era fixture), jackfruit-stuffed vegan plate, and guava cheesecake.
Mediterranean food has been served out of American kitchens for over a century, but there’s been a noticeable emphasis on the cuisine in one region over the past few years. In fact, Florida residents can attest to a spate of Middle Eastern restaurant openings in recent months alone. So what sets Surfside’s latest Israeli eatery, Neya, apart from all the others? Its contemporary take on the classics may not be kosher, but Neya’s generated serious buzz with its fine-dining approach to traditional Mediterranean fare under executive chef Ben Siman Tov.
After settling into the establishment’s spacious 2,700 square foot dining room, try one of the bar’s signature cocktails, like the basil-infused Neya Martini or cucumber mojito. As for food, it’s not easy to resist a plate of lush shakshuka, an Israeli breakfast staple brimming with tomato sauce, poached eggs, and freshly minced aromatics. Neya’s version, studded with chunks of grilled halloumi cheese and foraged greens, is absolutely divine. Guests aren’t shy about their feelings for the Surfside restaurant’s cuisine, as many reviewers describe dishes like the wagyu ribeye as the best they’ve ever had.
Este is the type of restaurant that pescetarians dream about. The Austin eatery opened its doors in early October 2022, and its extensive menu is, naturally, filled with myriad seafood options. “Este will focus on the canvas of heirloom corn masa and cooking seafood with a Mexican point of view…I’m not only looking forward to cooking this way at Este, but also having it be a place where I get to eat on my days off,” chef Fermín Núñez told The Austin Chronicle.
It’s hard to say which menu items you should sample first, but the snapper-based Este ceviche is a worthy contender, accented by tangy pickled vegetables and bursts of lime. As far as must-try entrees, patrons simply can’t get enough of Este’s grilled seafood, from the hazelnut-chipotle marinated squid to the butterflied shell-on shrimp. If you’re dining with partners who are less than enthusiastic toward the jewels of the sea, there’s always the half roasted chicken or cauliflower ceviche. Don’t forget to sample Este’s drink selections, either — even teetotallers can enjoy thoughtfully fashioned cocktails like the non-alcoholic Guavamente, a harmonic blend of guava, vanilla, lime, and grapefruit.
New eateries may come and go in Texas, but Lees Den restaurateur Benjy Levit hopes the second time’s a charm. Levit named his latest eatery after a long-closed Chinese spot that operated from late 1957 to 1988 along Houston’s South Main Street. The proximity of Lees Den to local venues and hotels meant the original eatery served countless stars, like The Carpenters, during the height of its success in the 1970s. Levit remembers the family-friendly establishment fondly, recalling how its founder, Lee Yin Chung, went above and beyond patrons’ expectations (via Chron). Sadly, Chung died in 2001, but Levit’s careful reinterpretation of the legendary restaurant would surely make him proud.
Today’s Lees Den is a midcentury oasis, with tiki-inspired touches throughout the comfortable 60-seat wine bar. Lees’ general manager and wine director, Chrisanna Shewbart, entertains guests with an impressive wine list consisting of 400 bottles that can also be purchased to go. The updated dinner menu is certainly Asian-influenced but not strictly Chinese, incorporating dishes like nori-crusted halibut and duck egg rolls. Lees’ pillowy Japanese milk bread served with butter and smoked trout roe is a colorful, crowd-pleasing starter. Equally as charming as its fare is the establishment’s décor, undoubtedly influenced by the concept of a classic 1960s “den.” Inside the dining room are amber glassware centerpieces, avocado-green booths, and hardwood accents that echo what the original Lees may have looked like during its golden days.
In May 2022, culinary duo Oliver and Nicolas Poilevey opened the doors of Obélix, a bistro serving classic French cuisine with a few innovative quirks. Shortly after the loss of their parents, the legendary chef Jean-Claude and Susan Poilevey, the family’s oldest establishment in operation, La Sardine, was faced with unavoidable closure in 2020. Despite the recent hardships, it’s safe to say that the two brothers have upheld the standard of excellence associated with the family name in Obélix. Although much of the menu is a marked departure from standard French fare, it’s certain to satisfy patrons from all walks of life.
There are escargots bourguignons, 10-day, dry-aged duck breasts, and a stunning “Le Plateau” seafood tower, but one plate has made waves throughout culinary circles. Perhaps the most controversial item on the restaurant’s menu, the foie gras taco, or Foie-Co, is an unapologetic display of fusion food at its finest. “It’s really good. It’s ‘holy s***’ good. It’s going to be the most expensive taco in Chicago,” Oliver Poilevey told Eater. While some may remain unconvinced of the taco’s appeal, others are avid admirers of the far-out dish. Another striking creation is the caviar sandwich, a brunch menu entree filled with three types of caviar and cured egg yolk. Obélix also incorporates seasonal produce from local farms to present truly unforgettable specials, like the ratatouille pithivier with Sungold tomato sauce.
The success of founder Alexis Carbajal and Chef Juan Alberto Ayala’s Phoenix Coqui food truck, founded in 2017, led to the grand opening of its brick-and-mortar incarnation in April 2022. Ayala’s authentic Puerto Rican recipes come from his grandmother, tempting patrons with what he describes as “savory, not spicy” notes (via Phoenix New Times). According to Phoenix Coqui’s website, the establishment’s mission is “To serve real Puerto Rican food with warm service that feels like home.” And it clearly succeeds in doing so, judging by its loyal customers.
“We take a lot of care in cooking … [It’s] just very hearty soul food of the Caribbean. These are flavors that are going to be brand new to a lot of people. Definitely try the plantains, it’s more delicious than what people know,” Carbajal told ABC15 Arizona. In addition to the tostones, or plantains, diners can choose from home-cooked delicacies like pastelón (a layered dish containing beef, cheese, and plantains), pernil (slow-cooked pork), and mofongo (mashed plantains, similar to fufu). Furthermore, it’s easy to see why Phoenix Coqui’s desserts are some of its bestsellers — the restaurant’s pastelillito de guayaba, for example, is a heavenly package of sugar-dusted puff pastry filled with guava paste that’s difficult to keep in stock.
In Japan, it’s common to observe standing sushi spots influenced by the preferred way of eating sushi during the Edo Period. The practice isn’t exactly routine in Central Florida, but diners are flocking to its newest Japanese eatery, Edoboy, to experience it firsthand. In fact, even “Iron Chef” star Chef Morimoto took a liking to the Orlando standing sushi bar (via Tasty Chomps).
At the time of writing, Edoboy does not accept walk-ins and advises its diners to book time slots through the dining app Resy — and yes, even guests like Chef Morimoto are asked to make reservations. Each meal lasts around an hour, and guests can choose up to 12 pieces of sushi or hand rolls from the provided ordering sheet. Among the nigiri options are toro (bluefin fatty tuna), hotate (Japanese scallop topped with uni), and ikura (salmon roe). Hand roll options include the Sake Ikura (Faroe Island salmon, roe, and shiso) and tempting blue crab, garnished with truffle Kewpie mayonnaise. Following the sushi course, patrons are treated to house-made miso soup crafted from the fish bones of the day.
After the success of their downtown DC fried chicken establishment, Little Chicken, Casey Patten and Michelin-star Chef Gerald Addison decided it was time for something different. “Gerald and I have a common interest in Italian-American cooking and a side obsession with pizza, and this is the real deal pizza,” Patten told Washingtonian. With that, the duo unveiled the Italian-American comfort food haven, Grazie Nonna, to DC diners in the fall of 2022.
At first glance, Grazie Nonna is a far cry from your family’s neighborhood Italian haunt. The remarkably tall ceilings and elegant candelabras are fit for a scene from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” However, you’ll quickly feel at home once you get a taste of what the restaurant offers. The menu is inspired by influential cooks like Patten’s grandmother, Nancy Russoniello, and features a variety of Italian standards. Try starting things off with the Nonna Platter, an antipasto that resembles the Italian flag with ingredients like fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and arugula. Pizza is arguably the star of the show, and guests can choose from an assortment of hand-tossed pies, all topped with aged and fresh mozzarella. That said, pasta lovers won’t want to walk away without tasting the classic Sunday Sauce over rigatoni, infused with short rib, hot sausage, and fennel.
Chef Aidan McGee knows what it takes to produce an authentically Irish menu — after all, he’s a second-generation chef from Donegal, Ireland. “We’ll make our own Irish soda bread and freshly picked crabs. A real marriage of New England and Ireland together. That’s the connection we want to get across,” McGee told The Boston Globe. McGee opened The Dubliner in the spring of 2022, and the Irish pub and restaurant has quickly earned a spot as one of the city’s most bustling meeting places.
Upon entering, guests are greeted by The Dubliner’s bar, which proudly serves up some of the best pours of Guinness you’ll find in the states. Tucked neatly behind the bar is a cozy dining room adorned with vintage beer posters and memorabilia. Diners who arrive early enough for brunch can experience The Dubliner’s full Irish breakfast, complete with authentic white and black pudding. While the array of cocktails, whiskeys, and wines available is certainly impressive, it’s worth noting that the eatery can also whip up picturesque drinks from its robust coffee menu. Other classic dishes available throughout the day include real lamb-based shepherd’s pie, Irish seafood chowder, and slow-cooked Irish stew. Don’t miss out on the establishment’s weekly Sunday roast dinner, a traditional meal accompanied by golden potatoes and statuesque servings of Yorkshire pudding.
In mid-city New Orleans, there’s a new soul food spot in town. Chef Lisa “Queen Trini” Nelson was already something of a citywide legend for her award-winning plates and sold-out menus at local events, expertly blending the flavors of New Orleans with her signature Trinbagonian style. Needless to say, fans were delighted when the chef’s first brick-and-mortar restaurant, Queen Trini Lisa, opened its doors in early 2022. To ensure that every Island-inspired recipe at Queen Trini Lisa would be nothing short of extraordinary, Nelson spent countless hours perfecting each dish. “Doubles is a kind of street food that you buy in town — you don’t really make it at home. I couldn’t get anybody to share the real recipe, so I kept working on it until it tasted right,” Nelson told Gambit.
Doubles, turmeric-spiced flatbreads filled with curried chickpeas, is one of the must-try items at Queen Trini Lisa. Another celebrated favorite is the coco bread fish sandwich, a tropical medley of fried fish, plantain, and pineapple slices inside a classic Jamaican roll. There’s also Nelson’s award-winning barbecue jerk chicken: a tangy, one-of-a-kind recipe served alongside fried plantains. All the side dishes at the New Orleans eatery are vegan and gluten-free, from the rice and peas to the Caribbean-style spinach, and can be sampled together in the Vegan Plate.
After four years of dinner events, pop-ups, and artful planning, celebrated chef Gregory Gourdet welcomed eager Portland patrons to his newest venture, Kann, in August 2022. “This restaurant is a very personal project, and while it was created to honor my heritage and its cuisine, it is very much a culmination of all the influences I have had in my life,” Gourdet stated to The Haitian Times. The foundations of Haitian gastronomy are certainly alive and well at Kann, from the watchful plantain ripening process to the smoky flavors imparted by its wood-fired hearth.
Lucky guests may find themselves seated at the chef’s counter, where they can observe the preparation of foods like pikliz, a piquant cabbage condiment essential in Haitian fare, or peanut creamed greens. There’s no denying the appeal of the starter menu, and the plantain brioche muffins, served with herbal epis butter, are an exceptional choice. Kann’s hearth-fired menu includes some of its most popular dishes, such as peppered red cabbage, king salmon, and tamarind-glazed duck. The dessert menu, crafted by pastry chef Gabby Borlabi, offers a unique assortment, from shaved soursop ice with coconut and basil to an exquisitely grilled pineapple upside-down cake.
Cordelia may be one of the newest restaurants in Cleveland, but its dedication to serving incredible Midwestern-inspired plates has claimed everyone’s attention. Chef Vinnie Cimino paired up with owner Andrew Watts to create something magical with Cordelia, named after Watts’ great-grandmother. During a lengthy renovation process, Cordelia’s team worked tirelessly to source the establishment’s components sustainably, with everything from furniture to flatware arriving from secondhand shops.
Part of the eatery’s appeal lies in its down-home atmosphere, fostered by the hospitality skills of both Cimino and Watts. “You tell us any dietary preferences you might have and then you sit back and relax while we start sending out plates in waves … we’ll make certain points about our menu and show off different things that we’re playing with,” Cimino told Cleveland Magazine. There’s no way you can go wrong in choosing anything from the menu, but the jammy eggs, fried chicken, and burger box are considered some of the finest selections. Fans of pastrami are sure to fall for Cordelia’s “Tongue on Toast” platter, garnished with an array of jewellike mustard seeds.
Anyone who’s ever been disappointed with a lackluster lunch at an unfathomable price understands why owner Craig Edmunds founded Cold Shoulder Gourmet. The Kenyan-born sandwich expert wanted to provide local workers with an affordable, delicious bite without the exorbitantly high price tag. What Edmunds didn’t expect, however, was the cultlike following that the restaurant would amass. At this Charleston sandwich shop, it’s like Black Friday every day, but instead of the year’s most coveted toy, it’s the “sandos” that customers are clamoring for. The grab-and-go meals utilize ingredients from three local producers: The Smoking Goose Meatery, King Tide Farms, and Saffron Bakery.
The sarnies are simple, but their quality fillings, like ‘nduja, fresh hydroponic greens, and Wagyu beef bologna, make them extraordinary enough to sell out daily. Hungry customers show up as early as 8 am, and rarely do supplies last past mid-afternoon. “It’s really awesome that the community has been coming out in force. It’s the reason I’m selling out every day. They’ve just been wanting this and needing this in this area,” Edmunds told West of Free Press. Edmunds makes it a point to serve a $5 sandwich daily, including one “sweet” option, but most of the menu offerings are $13.50 (as of December 2022).