Vegan hitmaker Ravi DeRossi is switching things up at his East Village Cuban rum bar and restaurant Cienfuegos — which will become a vegetable-heavy spot inspired by Texas-style barbecue next year.
After nearly a decade of rum and Latin American food, DeRossi says it’s time to pivot to a new cuisine. Honeybee’s, first reported by EV Grieve, will open around March or April of next year as a vegan barbecue restaurant, with dishes like “pulled pork,” “brisket,” “burgers,” and “fried chicken” made entirely from vegetables, DeRossi tells Eater.
He says Honeybee’s menu is still in its infancy, but he’s experimenting with a blend of mushrooms and other vegetables to create his own “meat” patties, to be served with different barbecue sauces. He says he wants to avoid “fake meat” products like seitan — instead honing in on vegetable dishes with barbecue flavors.
The brisket, for example, will be made from a blend of chopped vegetables, spices, and herbs stuck together with “vegan meat glue” and sliced like meat, he says.
DeRossi brought on chef Amira Gharib to helm the kitchen. She’s spent time in fine-dining kitchens like Daniel Boulud’s Boulud Sud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Matador Room in Miami.
At Honeybee’s, drinks will center almost exclusively on whiskey, specifically rye and bourbon, a first for the cocktail bar owner. All-American craft beers will also be served, he says.
“I just love opening new places, and I always have a million different concepts going on in my mind,” he says of the change. The restaurateur owns a network of restaurants and bars in NYC, such as Ladybird and Avant Garden, one of few fine-dining vegan restaurants in the city. (DeRossi used to focus on cocktail-centric venues but pivoted to vegan cuisine a couple of years ago.) He is also working on a vegan sushi and dim sum restaurant in the East Village called Fire & Water.
Cienfuegos is located on the second floor of a corner space at 95 Avenue A, on East Sixth Street, also the location of his cocktail bars Mother of Pearl and Amor y Amargo. It will stay open until the end of the year, and in 2019, the upstairs space will close for renovations.