In keeping with the Eater tradition, our close of the year is a survey of friends, industry guys, and bloggers. To start in the Carolinas, Eater asked the group seven questions, ranging from the restaurants they frequented to take out to the saddest surprises of the year. Responses are in no particular order and readers are encouraged to leave responses in comments.

Q. What newcomer to the scene has you excited about this year?

KJ Kearney, founder of Black Food Fridays
Daddy’s girls bakery. Chewie cheesecakes for the MFN up for grabs!

Hanna raskin, Editor-in-Chief and Editor of The Food Section
If by “excited” you mean “unable to stop crying,” you mean the opening of Chasing Sage, which has gone on for years. I met the Chasing Sage team every Thursday afternoon between September and June and left a lot of those who reported visits not knowing if the restaurant would ever come to fruition: when I finally sat down for a meal there, my husband said i was not so emotional at our wedding. Plus, I was so worried about the well-being of the team that I never stopped wondering if the food would be good – it’s fantastic.

(In the newcomer category that I have no personal connection with: Seabird.)

Matt Lardie, freelance writer and contributor Eater Carolinas, covering NC
For me it would definitely be Seabird in Wilmington. I have now eaten there four times since it opened and Chef Dean Neff’s food has not disappointed me yet. The service is top notch, the drinks are superb, and his take on the seafood tower makes for a very fun dining experience.

Marion B. Sullivan, Charleston Magazine food editor
There are a number of exciting new restaurants. I vote for Kingstide because Daniel Island really deserves something good.

Eric ginsburg, freelance journalist and contributor Eater Carolinas, covering NC
It’s a three-way link between Young Hearts Distilling in downtown Raleigh for its cocktail menu and small platters, the whimsical new Wonderpuff boutique at Research Triangle Park, and the modest but warm Melanated Wine tasting room in the south. of Durham.

Dave Infante, editor of Fingers, an independent newsletter on alcohol consumption in America
Berkeley is for sure. I’m from New Jersey and the absolute shortage of Italian food in red sauce here in Charleston has been pretty hard to bear. No more!

Jacob Pucci, food reporter for The Fayetteville Observer
Fonda Lupita, of course, but also Mr. K Authentic Chinese Restaurant in Fayetteville, which opened in February. It’s real traditional Chinese food in a city that didn’t have a lot of it before. Braised eggplant with green beans, dry potted cauliflower, and braised pork belly are a must-try.

Jenn Rice, freelance writer and contributor Eater Carolinas, covering NC
Definitely Crawford Cookshop in Clayton. More to come on that, but I keep dreaming about the wings and the crispy catfish sandwich. The drool. Seeing Scott Crawford open a spot in a nearby town is very exciting for me. I grew up in Laurinburg, North Carolina, and always envisioned a restaurant like this downtown.

Maggie Ward, event and marketing manager of The Local Palate
Brasserie La Banque joins the local palace the Broad Street area of ​​the office this month, and I’ve already ordered the entire menu. The black cocoa salted foie gras tea towel was remarkable, but the real surprise was a duck consomme with foie gras balls. It was worth the long wait (and the caviar service and classic cocktails at the Vauté underground bar kept me going well in the meantime).

Erin perkins, editor Eater Carolinas
I’m delighted that small town restaurants are being recognized, like Seabird in Wilmington, Ilda in Sylva, Jon G’s in Peachland and Fonda Lupita in Sanford.

Stephanie Burnette, Eat Drink Carolines
Jasmine Kitchen in Greenville fills a gap for a quick, casual, handmade lunch with a fresh weekly menu. To boot, they have an amazing mission to help women.

Enzo’s in Columbia prepares memorable Italian submarines, hot or cold. I order a different one each time and there is always a chef or restaurateur eating there.

Kounter in Rock Hill has a dome smoked ahi tuna salad with nappa cabbage that I could eat everyday and they are open for lunch and dinner.

Barbara Skidmore, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering SC and Savannah
Common thread in Savannah – Chef Brandon Carter and John Benhase bring a creative approach to seasonal menus in Savannah.

Melissa Howsam, editor-in-chief Raleigh Magazine
Highgarden roof

Cele and Lynn Seldon, Seldon ink
Blacksheep, which opened in the spring of 2020 and is still a favorite here in Beaufort. Also, camp in Greenville, Oak Steakhouse in the Highlands, and Common Thread in Savannah. Frankly, we’re in awe of just about everyone who has opened this year!

Jai jones, food writer and photographer
Berkley’s. The duo behind this new addition to the Charleston scene previously operated a popular pop-up in town called We Flew South, and luckily the excellent cheesesteak with homemade cheese has come to the new restaurant. This is a great laid back neighborhood place that I have been to many times over the past year.

Kenneth andrews, Contributo Eater Carolinasr
Pink Bellies was everything we expected and more. We all knew the food was going to be good but this dining room is beautiful. As for the unexpected Berkeley’s came out of nowhere bringing back some of We Flew South’s popup favorites and showing off just how much more they had up their sleeves when they had room to – pardon my pun – spread their wings. I’m going to see myself.

Kay West, freelance writer and contributor Eater Carolinas, covering Asheville
A surprising number of newcomers to Asheville in 2021. On the full-service restaurant side, two stood out to me. Benne on Eagle isn’t a new restaurant, but Chef Cleophus Hethington is new to Asheville and to the restaurant. I loved watching him print the Dumpster menu with his exploration of African diaspora eating habits since John Fleer hired him in late summer. I was also delighted to see Linton Hopkins transform his H&F Burger into a full-fledged Holeman and Finch Public House and after many delays open the first week of December.

On the casual side, although I rarely indulge in burgers, I savor every greasy and cheesy bite of Baby Bull’s double cheeseburger with American cheese, B&B pickles, caramelized onions, and Duke mayonnaise (and a side of fries with aioli) while sitting at a picnic table on the patio overlooking the French Broad River. Baby Bull, from the owners of Admiral, Leo’s House of Thirst and Bull and Beggar, took inspiration from the popular hamburger that was once on the B&B menu. I was happy to line up at Little Chango’s new Hispanic artisan kitchen for chef Iris Rodriguez’s pupusas, adobo pork arepa and a shimmering disc of coconut milk and cardamom flan. The welcome inside is as cheerful as the sunny yellow exterior.