Plenty of people look to summer for the warmer weather and the longer days. All of that is great, but at BA, we’re busy dreaming up trips to some of the most exciting restaurants set to open in the coming months. In Denver, Sap Sua will serve food that draws on the first-generation Vietnamese American experience of its chefs. And in Austin, you’ll be able to literally drink the Kool-Aid (in cocktail form) at an inventive new spot that combines flavors like dashi and salsa macha, and reimagines al pastor in pasta form. 

More than half of these openings come from first-time restaurant owners, many of whom launched pop-ups during the pandemic. Whether from first-timers or restaurant vets, all of these openings feel like a breath of fresh air—an opportunity to meld the food chefs grew up on with other cuisines, or depart from fine dining and test out less buttoned-up approaches to cooking. 

In Detroit, chef Javier Bardauil will build on the success of his first Argentine restaurant with a more laid-back spot focused on live-fire cooking. And later this summer, seven years after opening the beloved New York Thai spot Fish Cheeks, the team will open a second restaurant revolving around charcoal grilling. 

From Salvadoran comfort food in Oakland to Laotian American cooking in Nashville, these are BA’s eight most anticipated summer restaurant openings. 

This list is organized alphabetically by state. The opening dates below are subject to change, so check restaurant websites and Instagram accounts for real-time updates.


Opening: July

Devoted fans will no longer have to run around Oakland to get a taste of chef Anthony Salguero’s wood-fired pupusas. After years of pop-ups, Salguero turned to community support in June 2021 to raise the funds and is finally opening his Californian-Salvadoran restaurant, Popoca, in the Old Oakland neighborhood. Salguero has worked in fine dining kitchens like Saison in San Francisco, but at Popoca, he wants to more casually welcome diners into Salvadoran culture and share the food he grew up with. 

Popoca’s menu will feature dishes from its pop-up days like pollo en chicha, a half chicken with fermented pineapple sauce, as well as new menu items like a ceviche mixto with local squid and wild halibut. Of course, Popoca devotees can expect their beloved pupusas, with toppings like braised short rib or grilled prawns. By day, Popoca will offer Central American pastries and coffee from local vendors before transitioning to dinner and bar service at night. 

Photograph by Sadie Jean Moe

Sap Sua

Opening: June

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