Named Avant Garden, it is being opened by Ravi DeRossi, who has become quite well-known for his cocktail inventions. In addition, DeRossi has just set up a non-profit organization to fundraise for charitable groups whose goal it is to end animal cruelty.
The restaurant aims to serve quality, upscale food and has been a dream of DeRossi for many years. Indeed, DeRossi himself refers to it as a “a ‘passion project’ … having grown up vegan himself, and stayed vegan most of his life.” His “biggest obstacle” – over the last decade or so since he has dreamed up this idea – has been finding a “good vegan chef” and now, with Andrew D’Ambrosi (who has been head chef at his seafood restaurant in Bergen Hill), has found the right guy.
DeRossi came to that discovery after tasting D’Ambrosi’s hen of the woods mushroom dish. Given that DeRossi has always hated mushrooms he was shocked at how much he loved this. He then discovered it was vegan so put D’Ambrossi to the challenge to make more vegan dishes. He completely rose to this challenge making a variety of dishes for that seafood restaurant to try them out and the rest, as they say, was history.