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There’s a new group of restaurateurs in town and they’ve got a very simple mission – transform restaurant culture from the inside out by paying employees fair and livable wage. Radical, I know, but the team at Velveteen Rabbit know they’re up for the task.
Founded by Chef Brian Cartenuto and his wife Wendy Brundige, Velveteen Rabbit is a restaurant group dedicated opening up new spaces that can be vessels for change in the industry at-large. Their mission to create the best restaurant possible by providing workers with fair wages, access to health care and other benefits, and profit for sharing for all employees. As they put it, “We feel that our little Butterfly Effect from the West Village can spark change around the Industry.”
Their latest step in sparking that change is a brand new restaurant called Bird Dog. Envisioned as a New American restaurant, Bird Dog is described as “Italian with a Southern Drawl.” Featuring fresh, locally sourced meat and vegetables from regional farmers, Bird Dog will combine the best of Italian food with everything you love about Southern cuisine.
A Florida native, Brian previously served as the Executive Chef for While We Were Young. He was also the owner and founder of Tucker Duke’s, the popular Florida-based restaurant that specialized in in creating “unexpected twists” on comfort food. As with Bird Dog, sustainability was at the forefront of the conversation and Brian became known for his dogged pursuit of fresh and seasonal ingredients.
As it stands, Bird Dog is arriving at 525 Hudson Street, on the corner of West 10th Street and Charles Street. Replacing Flip Sigi which previously occupied the space, Flip Sigi was known for their unique Filipino take on tacos. Already approved for the necessary licenses, Bird Dog is beginning to serve customers a private tasting menu, giving locals a sneak peak while they gear up to open for the general public. The Bird Dog team is hoping to be fully operational by the end of the month, but be sure to follow them on Instagram to watch out for any openings for their private tasting menu.