By Vanessa Packer
Photography By Libby Gray
BELOW DELANCEY, on a stretch of Orchard Street still trickled with tenement houses and storefronts from another era, a bustling neighborhood of forward-thinking food and drink establishments have grown roots. At the center, an Aussie expat hub with seasonal specialties, locally sourced ingredients and energy healing crystals to boot! Created by the same team behind popular casual-chic eateries Ruby’s in Nolita, and Everleigh in LA, Dudley’s is an approachable, friendly spot for carnivores and herbivores alike. Most recently, bonberi brunched there on smashed avocado toast, kale caesar salad and the most delicious bowl of brussel sprouts and quinoa with lime dressing. We wondered, how does this growing Aussie population seems to master the art of balance and effortless health, without being “clean living”? To find out more, we chatted with Ben Dos Remedios, who runs the operations at Dudley’s and revealed everything from the concept behind the beloved cafe to why he can’t live without his fave Aussie pantry product, Vegemite. Lucille Ball may not approve, but we do.
What is the concept behind Dudley’s?
Dudley’s was born out of the success of Ruby’s, the first cafe Nick Mathers opened in New York city on Mulberry Street in Nolita. We wanted to create a slightly more sophisticated version of Ruby’s with the addition of a full bar and more seasonal menu. Our main aim was to become a new local favorite eating spot.
We noticed the crystals throughout the venue, what purpose do they serve?
The crystals were added after we opened as we found it helpful with our taking over the energy of the space. We believe the crystal help keep a positive space with clean energy.
How would you describe your personal approach to health and nutrition?
I am a big believer in fresh seasonal produce to help get great flavors out what I am eating, I think there is a real difference between the quality of local produce and the main stream bulk supplied market. I personal believe a healthy lifestyle consists of a balance between exercise and your diet. You cannot just eat healthy and not do any exercise or vice versa.
Growing up in Sydney, was there a special dish your mom made growing up that you still crave to this day?
I always loved my mum’s roast chicken. It’s simple and delicious and reminds me of all my family eating together.
We noticed a ton of veggies and whole ingredients on the menu, are you interested in serving (semi) healthy options?
We try to keep a balanced menu so each dish offers something different. It’s very hard these days in the restaurant game with special diets of our customers, it ends up creating a lot of frustration in the kitchen when customers ask to change the way they have created a meal. I think having more dishes with veggies as the main item allows people who may not want pasta or meat a few options to choose from.
What is your favorite dish on the menu?
My favorite dish is consistently changing as the seasons change, which is great as I get bored easily. Right now I am loving the Arctic Char for dinner and the farro salad during the day.
Working at the restaurant, you must have little time to eat. Take us through a day in the life when it comes to meals from morning to bedtime.
My staff have gotten use to making me a cappuccino as soon as I arrive in the morning. If I eat breakfast or have time to I will have a egg sandwich or a birch muesli. If I get time to eat lunch, I will have the farro salad with avocado and usually by the late afternoon, the kitchen has created a special for the dinner menu, which they will want me to try so that often becomes my dinner. When I do go out for dinner with my wife we usually head to our favorite Moroccan restaurant Cafe Mogador.
What is your guilty indulgence?
Nowadays it’s soda as I find it hard sometimes not wanting to drink a Coke or something sugary rather than plain old water. I think we are so much more informed, there are more and more things we are learning that are not good for us.
What Australian products (grooming, food or otherwise) can you not live without?
Vegimite is a given. We serve it in the restaurant for breakfast.
FOR DUDLEY’S BRUSSELS & QUINOA RECIPE, CLICK HERE