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Is this the biggest thing to happen to NYC’s vegan food scene in years?


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New York City celeb restaurateur Ravi DeRossi is on a mission to turn all 15 of his bars and restaurants into vegan hotspots, Eater reports. And it’s all happening ASAP.

DeRossi, who first made a splash in the city’s foodie scene with The Bourgeois Pig 11 years ago—and hasn’t slowed down since—decided that actions speak louder than words. “If we’re going to do something to help this planet, it needs to start,” DeRossi told Eater. “It needs to be me not just preaching, but me just doing it. I’m in the position to do it.”

First up to undergo an animal-free transformation is DeRossi’s tiki bar, Mother of Pearl (pictured), which will overhaul its menu—under the direction of star vegan chef Daphne Cheng (who will remain involved in her Exhibit C and Society C projects), we’ve learned—starting February 14. (Happy Valentine’s Day to us!)

This summer, The Bourgeois Pig—known for its not-at-all-vegan cheese plates, fondue, and charcuterie—will reopen as a vegan wine and tapas bar called LadyBird. Then he’ll open a second location of his vegan restaurant, Avant Garden, in Williamsburg in the fall or winter. The massive project will include a casual restaurant with cocktails (and a more affordable menu), a tasting table, a vegan butcher (who obviously slices and dices food of the plant-based variety), and a commissary kitchen.

DeRossi is a vegetarian-turned-vegan himself, and he runs a nonprofit against animal cruelty called Beast. He says he’s not worried about lower sales—he’s just worried about his impact on this planet. “I’ve been such a strain on society for 40 years now,” he told Eater. “It’s time for me to be more productive.”

First Ben & Jerry’s, now DeRossi’s empire. Who’s the next vegan convert? Give us your predictions in the comments!

(Photo: Mother of Pearl)