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Restaurateur Ravi DeRossi – known for his impressive string of vegan and vegetarian establishments – is turning his Cuban New York City rum bar into a vegan barbecue restaurant.

De Rossi’s Cienfuegos has operated as a Latin American restaurant in the East Village for nearly ten years. Ready for a change, the entrepreneur announced he will close Cienfuegos, and in its place, open a new restaurant named Honeybee’s.

Speaking to East Village publication EV Grieve, DeRossi assured that Cienfuegos, which also serves plant-based food, is still a favorite venue of his. “[B]ut it’s time for a revamp,” he said. “I was either going to update the decor, menu, etc., or completely change the concept. In the end I decided it would be a lot more fun to change the concept.”

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While Honeybee’s menu is still being developed, DeRossi revealed to Eater that the restaurant will serve up plant-based meats such as pulled pork, brisket, fried chicken, and burgers. Instead of using products like seitan, he says he will be combining vegetables with barbecue flavors, building on the trend of turning vegetables, and fruits, center plate. Nearby popular New York City restaurant Duck’s Eatery makes a whole-roasted smoked ham-style watermelon that’s so popular there’s more than a month-long waitlist.

Along with the Texas-style menu, beverages at Honeybee’s will focus almost solely on whiskey – especially rye and bourbon – marking the first time DeRossi has opened such a venue. All-American craft beers will also be on offer.

DeRossi named Honeybee’s after his dog, who was a major influence on his decision to remove animal products from the menus of many of his eateries. Since then, he has continued to monopolize New York by opening new venues. “I just love opening new places, and I always have a million different concepts going on in my mind,” DeRossi said to Eater.

In April, it was announced that upscale vegan eatery Avant Garden, owned by DeRossi, would be opening up a second location. A month later, it was reported that DeRossi would also open a plant-based sushi and dim sum restaurant called Fire and Water.

Cienfuegos is located at 95 Avenue A, on East Sixth Street. Honeybee’s will open at this location in spring 2019.

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Chef Ravi DeRossi Is Turning His Rum Bar Into a Vegan Whiskey and BBQ Joint, Honeybee’s
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Chef Ravi DeRossi Is Turning His Rum Bar Into a Vegan Whiskey and BBQ Joint, Honeybee’s
Ravi DeRossi is turning his plant-based Cuban rum bar, Cienfuegos, into a Texas-style vegan barbecue meat restaurant, called Honeybee's, based in New York.
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