Despite the pandemic, restaurants are still opening. Here are the ones we’re really excited about.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants have shuttered at an alarming rate. Some estimates suggest that 75% of all independent restaurants will permanently close by the end of 2020.

Yet even when most cities were only allowing takeout, new concepts continued to open: some used ghost kitchens, others opted for a delivery-and-takeout model until accommodating guests became possible.

As we continue mourning old favorites, and fear the closures still to come, some exciting new restaurants are opening this fall in limited capacities, giving us a small sense of hope. Here are a few concepts we’re looking forward to.

Aba (Austin, TX)

When: October 1

The opening will mark Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ first project outside of Chicago and the second location of Aba, a beloved Mediterranean spot. Chef Partner CJ Jacobson says the menu pays homage to his California roots while incorporating flavors and techniques from Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, and Greece.

1011 S Congress Ave., Building 2, Suite 180