When Maria Hines was named one of the top new chefs in the country by Food and Wine magazine, she used that momentum to open her first restaurant, Tilth, the celebrated New American spot in a little Craftsman house in Wallingford.

When Hines -- by then a James Beard award winner -- beat out Iron Chef Morimoto in a cooking competition on national TV, she proceeded to open Golden Beetle, her more casual Eastern Mediterranean spot in Ballard.

Now, nothing big has happened, but I've really grown fond of being a restaurant operator, a chef-owner, Hines said -- and she's planning a third new restaurant. If all goes well, Agrodolce, a Southern Italian restaurant with an emphasis on Sicilian cuisine, will open in Fremont as early as late January or February.

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