He’ll be bringing a meat-free Avant Garden outpost to a building somewhere near McCarren Park later this year:
Ravi DeRossi is about to go all-in with veganism. The restaurateur behind Avant Garden and Death and Co. has been thinking about environmental waste and factory farming, and now, he wants to put his money where his mouth is. DeRossi plans to make as many of his 15 bars and restaurants animal-free as possible — starting with tiki bar Mother of Pearl, which will be eliminating all animal products on February 14.
DeRossi started off in the cocktail bar business about 11 years ago, first opening The Bourgeois Pig, a bar and restaurant that serves cheese plates, fondue, and charcuterie. It remains one of his most successful projects, but it’s the next business he’s turning animal-free. In the summer, he’s reopening it as a vegan wine and tapas bar called LadyBird as part of his vegan transformation. From there, he’s going big with his hit vegan restaurant Avant Garden, expanding it into several different concepts in Williamsburg in the fall and winter…
Perhaps most ambitiously, Avant Garden will be expanding into a massive four-way project in a new building on Manhattan Avenue near McCarren Park in Williamsburg with a to-be-announced address, DeRossi says.
One space in the building will become an Avant Garden bistro, a casual restaurant with cocktails and lower price points than the current Avant Garden. Another space will house an Avant Garden tasting table, with a six-seat chef’s counter and dishes made from vegetables that will be grown on a planned rooftop garden of the building. It will be more upscale and host two seatings at dinner every day. A third space will contain a vegan butcher, selling a vegan cheeses, meats, salads, and sandwiches that’s open all day. They will open in the fall, at the earliest.
And in the basement of the building, DeRossi plans to build a huge commissary kitchen as a base for a new casual concept called Avant Garden and Club, a vegan sandwich shop that will have several locations in the city.
DeRossi says he feels better about this decision than anything else he’s ever done. He’s not worried about losing business from dumping animal products, he adds. “I’m more worried about my conscious and living without the weight on my shoulder of the damage I’m doing, and the suffering of animals,” DeRossi says. Eventually, he wants to only be a part of vegan concepts, even if it means lower sales. “I’ve been such a strain on society for 40 years now,” he says. “It’s time for me to be more productive.”