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Previewing the Fall Season: 2007 Edition

[Photo: Flickr/bluejake]

Welcome to Fall Previewing, kids. This time of the year means a couple things. Summer vacation has passed, locals get back in the swing of things and as the holidays near, tourists begin to flood town: in other words, it's the perfect time for new restaurants to open. The autumnal months have traditionally been the most popular time of the year for restaurants to debut, and this year is no exception.

A bevy of restaurants large and small is slated to open at some point this season. Here's what we've already got our eye on:

1) The arrival of celebrity chefs: Rick Bayless is finally escaping the Windy City and he's chosen Macy's Union Square for his Frontera Fresco. Closer to the water—actually, right on the water—South America's biggest celebrity chef, Gaston Acurio, has reserved Pier 1.5 for the latest, greatest branch of La Mar Cebicheria Peruana.

2) A slew of mega projects: First, there's Mint Plaza, which was originally slated to open around Labor Day. New branches of Chez Papa, Sushi Groove and Blue Bottle Coffee are all on the agenda there. Meanwhile, the Fillmore Center, featuring Yoshi's (of Oakland jazz club fame) and a swanky soul food joint, seems to have a pretty firm November date set. And perhaps the granddaddy of all the mega-projects is Pat Kuleto's storied Rincon Park undertaking. Waterbar and Epic Roast House? Heavy, heavy stuff.

3) Local chefs branching out: Charles Phan (Slanted Door), Hubert Keller (Fleur de Lys) and Nate Appleman (A16) are all in various stages of extending their respective empires, not to mention the local god's extracurricular activities.

The problem is, restaurants rarely get off the ground on time, which is to say that nailing down opening dates is a bit like reasoning with that homeless guy on Market Street: it's going to take some time before you get somewhere. But that's why we're here.

Over the next several weeks, we're going to be providing the latest word on the all the big-name openings on tap, when you should start caring about them, and when you should start trying to score a primetime reservation.

Stay tuned. It's going to be fun. We'll be back with more preview chaos soon, but in the meantime, let us know any and all findings, be it juicy gossip tidbits or some new plywood on your block. We just love those tips.
· 2007 Fall Restaurant Preview: San Francisco [Zagat Buzz]
· Pre-Plywood Report: Peruvian Mega-Eatery Part of Most Expensive Lease in Six Years [~ESF~]
· A Peek at the Mint Plaza Doings [~ESF~]
· Upscale soul food restaurant planned for Fillmore Center [Chron]