Next year certainly has a lot of promising bakeries in the pipeline. But here's a look at the bar and restaurant projects we will be obsessing about in the coming months.
Ballard Annex Oyster House
The team behind Matador and Kickin' Boot Whiskey Kitchen are transforming the former Thaiku address into a haven of oysters, lobster rolls, and chowder. The opening is looking more like March.
The kitchen is gluten-free by design, the lineup of 20ish ciders on tap, naturally so. This Pike/Pine bar will offer still more proof that hard cider is on the rise. It's due around February.
Joshua Henderson is transforming the old Hollywood Tavern building in Woodinville into a "beast"of a space, dispsensing a steady stream of destination-worthy cheeseburgers and whiskey. Cross your fingers for a June opening.
Manu Alfau is still locking down a location after his original fell through. But we're still pretty damn excited about his Dominican-leaning sandwich bar.
Mutsuko Soma was the chef at Chez Shea and is on the verge of opening her Japanese gastropub in Wallingford, a partnership with the owners of Miyabi in Tukwila. Her handmade soba noodles deserve to be a menu mainstay.
The Old Sage
Chefs Dana Tough and Brian McCracken's next spot, a few doors down from Tavern Law, will be all about Old World-style smoked meats, wood-fired plates, and whiskey. It should open in the former Local Vine space in the first few months of 2013.
An apothecary-styled cocktail bar is destined for the former Old Town Alehouse address. The ownership includes the team behind Bimbo's and Cha Cha, and two cousins moving home to Seattle after working at New York's Apotheke.
Matt's in the Market owner Dan Bugge's new whiskey-and-meat bar is right across the hall from his iconic restaurant, and should (hopefully) be open by the end of January. Tyler Palagi's on board to run the food program.
Eric Donnelly, the chef at Toulouse Petit, is a fish guy at heart. And his Fremont restaurant will be all about globally sourced, sustainable seafood. No lame fillets and rice pilaf here; Donnelly is gearing up for composed dishes and reasonably-sized protein servings.
Matthew Lewis of Where Ya At Matt food truck fame is still ironing out a firm opening schedule for his brick-and-mortar spot in the former Buckaroo Tavern. But once Roux arrives, expect "sexy truck" food, a solid cocktail program, and plenty of New Orleans influence.
Serious Falafel (and other T-Doug projects)
No, that's not the real name of Tom Douglas's impending falafel shop. The permit and buildout process is moving slowly, but Team Douglas reports the falafel shop is still set to open at the Paramount. His four new places in the Via6 complex are tentatively set to open this spring, maybe around April.
Bastille chef Jason Stoneburner and wine director/manager James Lechner will be splitting their time between the Ballard bistro and this new "Northwest restaurant with Italian techniques" across the street.
Now that Bait Shop is open, Linda Derschang and team can focus their attentions on this 19th Avenue East spot, named for her daughter. Look for it in the latter half of 2013.
Apparently Deming Maclise and James Weimann don't need much sleep. Because in addition to opening Stoneburner, the duo behind Bastille, Poquitos, and Macleod's has a massive German-style beer hall (with indoor bocce courts and housemade sausages and pretzels) on tap for 12th Avenue. It's slated to open in late January and you can bet it will be breathtakingly stylish.
Keep an eye on the former Wonder Freeze counter in Pike Place Market. In the next few weeks, it will reopen as a destination for Italian-style roasted sandwiches.
BONUS: EXCITING RETURNS
Mike Easton's pasta salon in the Procopio gelato shop is moving to its own space in Pioneer Square. More space means more room for projects like charcuterie, and more seats for his many fans. The reopening is set for January 7.
The elation-inducing Japanese bakery shuttered its Bellevue and ID locations to focus on opening a new flagship location where Interbay meets Queen Anne. Cross your fingers for a January opening (and reopening of the other two locations).