We’ve been to more places than we care to admit where waiting an hour or more to eat is de rigueur. We’ve watched enough Food Network to have instant association with orange crocs and linguini pasta. And, to be frank, we’ve chowed on way more compost cookies than we even want to think about.
But, while there's a brand-new, must-try food empire popping up every week, it's time we highlighted the small selection of spots you may not have realized are burgeoning on big-freakin'-deal status. They’re not only working with incredible eats, unparalleled talents, and a business model that’s growing faster than your disdain for traffic on a holiday weekend — but a course for the future that’s impressive. In other words? You may be chowing in the presence of the Tom Colicchio, David Chang, or Eataly of tomorrow, and not even realize it yet.
Ahead, check out the eight restaurant, chefs, and innovative foodies we think are changing the culinary landscape. And, you know, if you want to use this as a short list to where you absolutely need to cross off your “to-eat” list, there's no harm in that either.