The 13 most anticipated restaurants of 2013

What to look forward to this year
The just-installed floor at KR SteakBar.

Last year, Richard Blais got back in the kitchen with the Spence, Fifth Group opened a sustainable seafood spot (Lure), and the Optimist was named “Restaurant of the Year” by Esquire Magazine. Giovanni Di Palma drafted plans for a miniature Little Italy near Georgia Tech (see Bar Antico below), Shaun Doty got into the fast-casual chicken market with the opening of Bantam and Biddy, and numerous local chefs appeared on Chopped.

What will 2013 bring? We’ve compiled the 13 most anticipated restaurants of the year—just to give you a little something to look forward to.

KR SteakBar
Scheduled to open in late February after months of delays caused by permitting, KR SteakBar will be the fourth restaurant in Chef Kevin Rathbun’s growing empire. More affordable than Rathbun’s and Kevin Rathbun Steak, KR SteakBar—located in ADAC, newly open to the public, in Peachtree Hills—will tout Italian-inspired small plates targeted at the 20- and 30-year old set.

Chef Kevin Gillespie recently left his longtime post at Woodfire Grill and plans to open this Glenwood Park restaurant in the spring. With a name that represents his Southern upbringing, Gunshow will have an “open format” . . . what that means exactly has yet to be revealed.

The General Muir
The West Egg Cafe team is branching out, Jewish deli-style. The General Muir will open in the new Emory Point city center early in the year. Todd Ginsberg, formerly of Bocado, will take the lead in the kitchen.

King Duke
Ford Fry supposedly has three new metro-area restaurants in the works. The first, King Duke, will take over the former Nava space in Buckhead and serve colonial American cuisine. This hearth cooking restaurant is estimated to open in March.

Bar Antico
Antico Pizza’s Giovanni di Palma opened Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano in December 2012. Next up in his Piazza San Gennaro plans is Bar Antico, where he hopes patrons will enjoy dessert and after-dinner drinks. The gelato shop and bar are set to open near Georgia Tech in the spring.

After several pop-ups in the fall, Villains’ “wickedly good” sandwiches will open in the former Little Azio space in Midtown come February. Alex Broustein (Grindhouse Burgers), Jason McClure (formerly of FLIP), and Jared Lee Pyles (formerly of HD1) promise a new, decadent take on regional classics.

The sister restaurant of Shaun Doty’s Bantam and Biddy, Chick-a-biddy will be a smaller rotisserie chicken spot in Atlantic Station. Look for it in the spring.

If everything goes according to plan, Inman Park residents can expect a new restaurant, led by chef Mel Toledo (formerly of Bacchanalia), on DeKalb Avenue this winter. Not much has been said about the food, but ai3 is designing the interior, so you can expect a fun vibe.

Ink & Elm
Said to celebrate the history of Druid Hills and particularly Frederick Law Olmsted’s role in designing it, Ink & Elm will open in Emory Village this winter and feature a lounge, tavern and dining room specializing in Southern cuisine.

Chai Pani
This Indian street food restaurant helms from Asheville and is moving into the old Watershed space in Decatur. It will likely open in the first quarter of 2013.

Angus Brown and Nhan Lee of Octopus Bar have been scouting locations to turn their late-night sensation into a restaurant that serves dinner at regular hours. The opening date is yet to be determined, but we do know Brown is traveling to Vietnam this winter, so spring or summer seems more likely.

Bruce Logue bought the old Sauced space from Ria Pell and plans to open BoccaLuppo, an Italian-American restaurant, there in the spring. Logue promises a pasta bar, local cheeses, and perhaps some old favorites from his days at La Pietra Cucina, such as Calabrese sausage.

Airport eats
Okay, we cheated a bit here. So many well-known Atlanta restaurants are opening outposts in Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport this year that we just couldn’t name them all individually. We’re excited for Varasano’s Pizzeria, Ecco, Chicken & Beer (from Ludacris), Twist, and more.