Seeking what he calls a “new way forward,” Pat O’Malley is changing the name of Hungry Pigeon, the Queen Village restaurant that took a public beating four months ago after racist online comments by his former business partner.
Hungry Pigeon will become Fitz and Starts, effective Oct. 14. The last day as Hungry Pigeon will be Oct. 11.
“It’s a bit tongue in cheek,” O’Malley said of the name, playing off the location at Fourth and Fitzwater Streets and “everything that’s going on in the industry and obviously with our own personal history."
In early June, staffers lashed out after a string of posts on former partner Scott Schroeder’s now-deleted Instagram account, including one that read, “Thank you Black America. You had me at hip hop and fried chicken.” The staffers denounced what they called Schroeder’s “anti-Black rhetoric as well as his recent lashing out at former employees." Neighbors festooned the restaurant windows with messages of protest.
The restaurant briefly closed. Schroeder quickly stepped away from the restaurant, and later ceded his interest to O’Malley, who continues as the sole owner.
Other changes, besides the name:
O’Malley, who was pastry chef at Balthazar in New York before he and Schroeder opened Hungry Pigeon in January 2016 to great acclaim, said he has moved into a role as an administrator. Colin Freeman, last at Kensington Quarters, is now chef, and Emily Buckman, a Parc alumna, is pastry chef. (Her brother Ethan owns Stickman Brews.)