On Sunday, November 6th and Monday, November 7th we’re hosting a special two night dinner series to celebrate Fedora’s 99 year history.
Fedora was not named after the popular hat, but after it’s former proprietor, the beloved Fedora Dorato. Her family first opened the building to the public during Prohibition as a speakeasy accessible only by hidden staircase. In the 50s, Fedora hung the eponymous sign and opened her doors to a neighborhood of misfits, artists, poets and activists. Hers was a true neighborhood restaurant that stood in stark contrast to the stodgier dining scene dominating downtown at that time. Her legacy is something that has helped shape what we do, and we want to honor it.
In honor of National Seafood Month, our chef Matt Griffin penned a piece for Vice Munchies sharing why he's made a commitment to serving and eating only sustainable seafood. His piece delves in to the dangers our over reliance on the Big Three:
"Salmon, tuna, and shrimp have accounted for over half of the seafood consumed in the US for over a decade. This acceptance of the same streams of fish and the lack of diversity in our seafood consumption leads to an unsettling truth: We are basic bitches when it comes to eating seafood. A pumpkin-spice latte in the left hand and a spicy tuna roll in the right. If we want to reverse current trends that have nine out of ten fisheries being fished at or above their sustainable limits, and experts predicting a total collapse of marine biodiversity in the next 35 years, we need to be willing to make changes to our daily diet and the ordering habits of both restaurants and diners. Becoming more knowledgeable about the hazards of our reliance on the “Big Three” seafood varieties is a good place to start."
To learn more about how to make greener seafood choices (and why you should think twice before eating that spicy tuna roll), check out Matt's piece here.
At the beginning of this year, we joined a movement of like-minded restaurants in adopting a hospitality-included model that eliminated tipping at our restaurant Fedora. We’ve spent the months since deeply engaged in conversations with our staff, management and guests over the changed experience. After much reflection, we’ve decided that Fedora will return to the same tipping model as our other restaurants.
Beginning on Monday, May 9th, our menu prices will no longer include service and our dining room team will go back to sharing the tips they receive each night. We will be maintaining the increase in compensation for our kitchen team that this change initially made possible.
While we made the determination that a gratuity free system does not work for our business at this time, we continue to believe that it has the potential to change hospitality for the better. We hope it’s the future for more restaurants, including our own, and we’re thankful for the support of our colleagues who remain committed.
Our guests have been really receptive to our efforts to make this change, and we want to say thank you. We hope you’ll come and visit the Fedora team you know and love soon.
Happy Cooking Hospitality Founder
We're psyched to have signed on to support the Billion Oyster Project, a local ecosystem restoration and education initiative that aims to improve New York Harbor and reconnect us to the water. Our chef Matt Griffin has long been committed to more sustainable seafood and fishing methods, and thanks to him we are now one of a handful of NYC restaurants that donate all our shells to BOP in an effort to restore a billion live oysters to our harbor by 2035. Exciting to know that all the oyster shells we collect now go towards harvesting thousands of new baby oysters!
Learn More about the Billion Oyster Project
"The huge global demand for seafood is depleting many varieties of fish from the ocean at a faster rate than they can reproduce. Fishing gear and practices can be indiscriminate, resulting in massive amounts of unwanted and unconsumed fish––or bycatch. Fish farming, or aquaculture, seems like it should be part of the answer, but it has its share of environmental issues too. But we're not condemned to a fish-free existence just yet; there lies hope in those waters. Consumer and restaurant purchasing decisions play a vital role in the future of our oceans; if we can take pressure off of the threatened stocks, they have proven they can bounce back."
Learn about why we're so committed to serving sustainable seafood in this piece that Chef Matt Griffin penned for Life & Thyme magazine.
Driven by our chef Matt Griffin's longtime commitment to sustainable seafood, we have partnered with Seafood Watch, a program created by California's Monterey Bay Aquarium that helps consumers and businesses choose responsible seafood. Seafood Watch recognizes restaurants across the country that help raise awareness and steer clear of seafood on their 'Avoid' list. Fedora and our sister restaurant Bar Sardine down the block represent the second and third restaurants to be added to the partner list here in Manhattan.
We're proud to be a part of Seafood Watch's efforts to help people make better seafood choices for healthy oceans. To learn more about how you can make sustainable seafood choices when you dine out or cook at home, visit the Seafood Watch website.
Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly, our Executive Chef at Fedora and Bar Sardine, has decided to make a move and will be leaving New York City in May to relocate to his native Montreal, where he plans to open his own restaurant in the future.
Mehdi is an incredible chef whose commitment, skill and creativity are infectious to everyone lucky enough to work with him. He has also been instrumental in building Fedora and Bar Sardine from the beginning, channeling his talent towards creating original (and insanely delicious) food.
If you know Mehdi, then you share our admiration for his sweet demeanor, thoughtfulness and charming accent. And even if you don't know him personally, you've experienced his culinary mastery, whether it is the burger at Bar Sardine, his skill with raw fish or his ability to transform something you think you know in to a much more delicious version of itself.
He's also nurtured the team at both these restaurants, and it is through his leadership that we have someone internally now ready to step into a new role. Beginning May 2, longtime Chef de Cuisine Matt Griffin will take over as Executive Chef at both Fedora and Bar Sardine. Four years ago, Matt joined our company after stints at Rick Moonen's RM Seafood in Las Vegas and New York's famed Le Bernardin. He has been the Chef de Cuisine at Fedora since 2012, a position he has also held at Bar Sardine since it opened in July 2014. Matt's influence has been felt for many years at Fedora and at Bar Sardine, both in the kitchen and on the menu, and we're excited for him to continue to grow with our company.
We hope you'll join us in welcoming Matt into his new role, and in sharing our gratitude, love and thunderous applause for Chef Mehdi.