‘Bird & Bao’- Taiwanese restaurant to fill Suffolk Sports
As part of the South Ocean Avenue Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame subdivision aided by the Village of Patchogue’s Business Improvement District, Northport native and French Culinary Institute graduate Conor Swanson plans to open Patchogue’s first Taiwanese place, Bird & Bao, as the second restaurant to occupy the space.
Swanson, 27, head chef and owner, said he would be serving the Taiwanese street food, bao buns, with an emphasis on fried chicken rather than the commonly found pork belly, though both will be served. Further emphasizing the “bird” and paying tribute to his last name, he landed on Bird & Bao as the name of his new place.
After graduating from culinary school, Swanson took a few jobs in the city, working for restaurants such as Momofuku while living in Brooklyn. He learned a lot about Asian cooking while working, but most of his love for the Taiwanese night market, he said, came from eating and dining in Queens.
“I just love spicy foods that pop,” he said of the inspiration behind opening his own place. “There is just nothing like this out here.”
The restaurant will also serve rice bowls, cucumber and herb salads and edamame, with a New York City vibe featuring clean, white subway tiles, wood counters and concrete walls.
Swanson said he plans to move from Northport to Patchogue to be closer to his first restaurant, while also sourcing as locally as possible with proteins from the East End and Asian ingredients imported from the city.
The space, once opened, will be “fast casual,” with a small, self-seated dining area, a pickup counter and takeout. He signed the lease in October and renovations are currently underway, awaiting approvals from the village planning board during a public hearing scheduled for Jan. 22. The application, according to the planning department, requests allowable use in D3 zoning for a takeout restaurant with about 14 seats. Swanson plans to open sometime in spring/early summer.
According to BID executive director Dennis Smith, approximately 2,500 square feet remain available and can be leased by one or two spaces, both with separate entrances.
“I’m just happy that the spaces are filling up and we are eliminating vacancies,” he said, explaining that Swanson’s Taiwanese restaurant fills a void in the community. Another missing cuisine, he said, is Greek. “I wish Conor all the best with his new restaurant and [we’re] glad to have it in Patchogue.”
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