Restaurant Spotlight: A Real Name-Changer

Fun, eclectic menu choices await discovery at this newly rebranded Dobbs Ferry eatery.

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Shrimp and grits with andouille sausage

Like the artist formerly known as Prince, the Dobbs Ferry restaurant formerly known as The Rare Bit is now known as The Bit — a change that its owners say more accurately reflects its new menu and focus.

The Bit’s name change happened in August, but the restaurant changed lanes in mid-2019, after its December 2018 opening. Originally conceived as a British gastropub, it served such items as the signature Welsh rarebit and beef Wellington. The restaurant was a partnership between Scott Broccoli and David DiBari, two popular Westchester restaurateurs. The two dissolved their partnership in the summer of 2019. Broccoli recounts that the British gastropub theme didn’t catch on. “The original concept may have worked in Manhattan, but in Dobbs Ferry, it wasn’t well embraced,” says Broccoli, who suggests the menu may have been too heavy. The name change “allows us to put the British connotation and name in the rearview mirror.”

Tuscan gnocchi with white beans

Broccoli also notes that rebranding, especially with Executive Chef (and now co-owner) Evan Kalogiannis on board, was an easy decision. “The food on our eclectic menu doesn’t miss a beat,” Broccoli enthuses. For his part, Kalogiannis says the new name allows him to explore different cuisines and not be wedded to one culture in his cooking. “I don’t have to stay on a specific path.” He laughingly admits that somebody glancing at the menu would think that it’s all over the place and doesn’t make any sense. “But once a customer eats here and tastes the food, and if they get to know us, then it makes total sense.”

Smoked XL drumsticks, General Tso’s style

So, customers can roam the globe with appetizers, including smoked XL drumsticks flavored with such choices as jerk (GF) and General Tso’s, or the cheesy Pete’s meatballs (named after Broccoli’s dad). Among the entree highlights, there’s a shrimp and grits boosted with andouille sausage; Tuscan gnocchi with white beans, sundried peppers, broccoli, roasted garlic, and Parmesan; and falafel, which can be made vegan upon request. Sides veer into the comfort food range; one standout is their Nashville hot fried chicken fried rice.

Nashville hot fried chicken fried rice

Vegan options are always on the menu, including a vegan dessert. Kalogiannis says that last year when takeout was the order of the day, The Bit would have themed weeks with different cuisines. “Customers would order from us every week because of the variety; doing a little ‘bit’ of everything really solidified the name change.”

Falafel at The Bit

Kalogiannis aims to keep bringing that combination of food and events to The Bit. In February there was a Mardi Gras event, there’s a New Orleans Jazz Fest running now through the 17th, and there’ll be a game dinner on December 1st and 2nd. Noting the large growth of vegan customers or just those asking for the option, Kalogiannis will be hosting a Vegan Dinner in January. There are also numerous gluten-free options.

“We’re receiving a lot of positive feedback,” Kalogiannis reports. Noting that Dobbs Ferry is one of the Westchester towns that has experienced a recent influx of residents from New York City, Broccoli says, “We want to be a neighborhood place where customers can come multiple times a week.”

The Bit
23 Cedar St
Dobbs Ferry

Abbe Wichman is a Westchester-based food and drink writer. Will walk miles for food, as long as it’s on city sidewalks and not a hiking trail. Bourbon drinker and Yankees fan. Find her on Instagram @abbewichman and on Twitter @abbe_wichman.

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