Chef David DiBari: Westchester’s Most Sought After Chef

David DiBari

Chef David DiBari is one of Westchester’s most sought after chefs right now. Two of his restaurants just received Michelin Bib Gourmand awards. An almost impossible feat considering only 8 restaurants in Westchester received Michelin’s Bib Gourmands (2 out of the 8 went to DiBari’s restaurants). Chef David DiBari is known for his boundary-pushing style and thoughtfully creative dishes. I witnessed this first hand at Eugene’s Diner and Bar with his Parlor Brussels dish. Who would have thought to mix Rice Crispies (yes, Kellogg’s) with Brussel Sprouts, Sweet Chili and Parmesan? Yet it works and is surprisingly addictive. Chef David DiBari took some time off his busy schedule to sit down with Suburbs 101 for an interview. He tells us about his restaurants (The Cookery, The Parlor and Eugene’s Diner and Bar), tells us where he eats on his days off and talks to us about restaurant week.

Eat Where the Chefs Eat is a column where local Chefs and food industry insiders share their favorite restaurants in the New York metro area. Learn where your favorite chefs go when they aren’t in their own kitchens!

The Parlor Brussels

Tell me more about your restaurants

The Cookery at 39 Chestnut Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY- (914) 305-2336

I opened The Cookery 10 years ago in Dobbs Ferry, NY.  It is a soulful Italian gastropub serving straight forward, locally sourced food with some sort of twist or boundary-pushing element for each dish.  You will find different cuts of meats on the menu. We are playful with the food- pushing culinary boundaries by using all parts of the animal. The menu is heavily focused on pasta and appetizers. The Cookery kitchen is run by Chef Sajin Renae.

The Cookery feels like a local pub with well-executed food.  It has a fun and energetic vibe. We are located in Dobbs Ferry which is a quaint Rivertown in Westchester, 20 minutes from NYC.  Dobbs Ferry is a fun, liberal, artsy place.

What to Order: You have to try our meatballs.  

Doughnation

Two years into The Cookery, we opened a mobile food truck called Doughnation.  It has a wood-fired pizza oven serving perfectly blistered, puffy, perfectly browned Neopolitan pizza.  We go to Farmers markets and festivals. And we rent the pizza truck out for private parties and events.

The Parlor at 14 Cedar Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY- (914) 478-8200

I’ve always wanted to open a brick and mortar pizza place. I built the same wood-fired pizza oven in Doughnation at The Parlor. My company’s motto is “Eat Serious, Have Fun”. Every step we take is a step towards that.  In line with our motto, The Parlor is a juxtaposition- fun and unpretentious with well-executed serious products. The décor and ambiance is a nod to my adolescent- punk rock in the 80s. We allow kids to write on our walls, there is writing in the bathroom walls. It looks grungy, the way it should be. 

What to Order: My favorite pizza at The Parlor is the Lemon pizza which is a pizza topped with slices of preserved lemon, smoked scamorza cheese, basil, chili, garlic, and Parmigiano.  It’s simple and has elements of Umami. 

David DiBari
David DiBari in Action

Eugene’s Diner and Bar at 112 North Main St., Port Chester, NY- (914) 481-5529

We opened Eugene’s Diner six months ago.  Walking into Eugene’s feels like walking into a 70’s basement in Hollywood. It is in Port Chester, which is a mecca for diversity with a small-town community feel. It really is a special place for me. Eugene’s is named after my grandpa. I’ve always wanted to open a diner-style concept. Diners have become lost in a sea of gigantic venues and frozen products. We wanted to express the diner in a different form.  We rip on all things serving towering stacks of light fluffy pancakes that you can add foie gras to. We make everything in-house.  Everything from the hotdogs, pastrami, spam- using great quality pork and beef.  We also do whole roast pig dinners and whole roast prime rib dinners.  At the end of the day, it is a restaurant posing as a diner, giving you all the diner hits. 

What to Order: I would definitely say my go-to’s are: Crispy Salt and Pepper eggs– sunny side up eggs, treated like salt and pepper lobster similar to what you’ll find at Chinese restaurants with ginger, scallion, salt and pepper.  Fried Bologna– griddled bologna, layered in a sesame bun with lettuce and B&B pickels. Waffles– crispy Belgian waffles served with roasted bone marrow.  Our signature dish is the 13-inch hotdog.

Crispy Salt and Pepper Eggs
Fried Bologna and 13-inch Hot Dog at Eugene’s Diner and Bar

What is your signature dish?

Hmm…I really don’t know.  I think our most famous dish is probably our meatballs, light fluffy, all-beef, a nod to my family and grandma.  It’s an heirloom recipe.  We serve it at The Cookery.

Where do you live? Why do you like living in your town?

I live in Yonkers, NY.  I live on the border of Yonkers and Hastings-on-Hudson.  Living on the Hudson River is special for me.  I love opening my deck to look out at the palisades.  And it’s close to my restaurants.  Running restaurants is a lifestyle and I build my life around it.  It’s also easy to get to the city.

What restaurants do you go to on your days off?

L’Inizio at 698 Saw Mill River Road, Ardsley NY- (914) 693-5400

When I want a great bowl of pasta, I go to L’Inizio in Ardsley.  It’s an Italian restaurant. They have amazing octopus and pasta.

Hmart at 371 North Central Avenue, Hartsdale, NY (914) 448-8888

There is an awesome place called Hmart.  I go there when it’s a rainy kind of day and I’m trying to figure out where to go. I get a deep soulful bowl of ramen.  After eating, I like that I can peruse through the aisles and get inspired with ingredients. 

X20 on the Hudson 71 Water Grant St Yonkers, NY- (914) 965-1111

When I want the classic service that reminds me of the Daniel and Jean-Georges of the world, I go to X20 on the Hudson. Peter Kelly owns elevated dining for Westchester.  He serves everything including sushi.  I will never turn down his Beef Wellington.  I consider X20 on the Hudson one of my favorite restaurants in the area.

Bread and Brine at 19 Main Street, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY- (914) 479-5243

There is a gem on Hastings-on-Hudson called Bread and Brine.  They specialize in seafood.  I think there is a need for seafood in the Rivertowns.  If I go there, I will commit to a Maine style lobster roll and a dozen oysters. 

What are your go-to restaurants in NYC? 

Lil Frankie’s at 19 First Avenue, New York, NY (212) 420-0040

Lil Frankie’s reminds me of The Cookery.  It’s an Italian restaurant with lots of energy. They serve amazing Neopolitan pizza. I go there if I want a simple bowl of pasta. 

Ivan Ramen at 25 Clinton Street, New York, NY- (646) 678-3859

I love Ivan Ramen in the city.  I go there for the Triple Pork Triple Garlic Mazemen.

Pig & Khao at 68 Clinton Street, New York, NY- (212) 920-4485

Pig and Khao is fantastic. I usually get the Sizzling Sisig!

The Cookery and Eugene’s Diner and Bar have been awarded Michelin Guide Bib Gourmands. Can you tell me more about it?

Both The Cookery and Eugene’s have just received the Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand awards. This year, the Michelin Guide has extended it’s Bib Gourmand Award to Westchester County Restaurants. There are only 8 restaurants recognized in Westchester and two of them are my restaurants!

Tell me about your restaurant week menus 

The Cookery and Eugene’s Diner and Bar are participating in the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.  Eugene’s will be a fun restaurant to go to this restaurant week. We put the priciest item on our menu and offered it at the restaurant week price ($32.95 dinner prix-fixe).  During restaurant week you can order our TV dinner which is served on a sectional platter and you have the option of choosing your protein, sides, salad, soup and dessert.  Plus the customer can choose one of the breakfast items as a starter on top of the TV dinner.  Definitely go to Eugene’s for restaurant week. It’s playful and fun. 

Suburbs 101 is a media sponsor of the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week. November 4-17, 2019. $22.95 Prix-Fixe Lunch. $32.95 Prix-Fixe Dinner.

David DiBari Eugene's Diner and Bar
Eugene’s Diner and Bar

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About Suburbs 101

Suburbs 101 is an online lifestyle guide for the New York Suburbs of Westchester County, Long Island, Fairfield County and Northern New Jersey.  Get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to live in the New York suburbs through our interviews with local suburbanites and features on Food, Fashion, Home, Travel, and Local Events. Be sure to Follow Us on InstagramLike Us on Facebook and subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter.