Photo by Will Engelmann.
Here’s an update to a story we first brought you last week. As you might recall, Dewey Dufresne told us he was temporarily closing BYGGYZ, his sandwich shop on Clinton Street, while he searched for new investors. The shop is still ending normal operations, but thanks to a new anonymous investor, BYGGYZ will continue to have a weekend presence at 37 Clinton St.
As Dufresne explained, the new capital is enough to operate on Saturdays and Sunday as a “pop-up,” and to keep a stall at Smorgasburg on Saturdays. The larger goal is to lock down more capital and to solidify a business plan for a larger scale version of BYGGYZ (with potentially multiple locations throughout the city).
BYGGYZ has won critical praise for its inventive sandwich creations. Dufresne, dad of influential chef Wylie Dufresne, said the shop on Clinton Street never attracted enough business to survive. Clinton Street is notoriously a tough place to run a retail business, especially one dependent on daytime foot traffic.
Photos by Will Engelmann.
You unfortunately only have a few more days to sample Dewey Dufresne’s wonderfully creative sandwiches at BYGGYZ on Clinton Street. In an interview yesterday morning, Dufresne told us he’s temporarily closing the shop at 37 Clinton Street at the end of this month.
Dufresne is hoping to find new investors for BYGGYZ, which has earned strong reviews since opening in September of 2017. But like so many restaurant operators before him, Dufresne discovered that doing business on Clinton Street is a risky proposition. Foot traffic just isn’t there in the daytime. While people flocked from across the city to try out the carefully constructed sandwiches, BYGGYZ never attracted the local following it needed to survive.
Back in 2011, Dufresne won praise at the San Gennaro Festival for his decadent “Byggybeef”sandwich, featuring braised short-rib. That was the signature item on Clinton Street, but other offerings received critical accolades, as well. New York Magazine named “the karrottom,” Dufresne’s vegetarian flavor bomb, the best sandwich of 2017. Gothamist touted BYGGYZ’s chicken sandwich as one of the best fried chicken sandwiches in the city. Grub Street called Dufresne’s newish (weekend only) breakfast sandwich one of the best egg sandwiches in New York.
Dufresne, of course, knows the Lower East Side. In 1999, he opened 71 Clinton Fresh Food, the restaurant that made his son, Wylie, one of the world’s most influential chefs. He was also involved in WD-50, Wylie’s critically acclaimed temple of molecular gastronomy that was forced out of business by luxury condo developers in 2014. But Dufesne has always had an emotional attachment to the block, which prompted his decision to give Clinton Street another try. In the next iteration of BYGGYZ he’ll likely choose a busier location, with built-in foot traffic.
If you want to sample Dufresne’s sandwiches on the LES, your last chance will be July 1.
We have been waiting for a very long time for this one. At noon today, Dewey Dufresne will finally swing open the doors of his new sandwich shop. It’s called BYGGYZ and is located at 37-39 Clinton St., just a couple of doors from Donnybrook.
News of the restaurant began circulating in the spring of 2015. There have been all sorts of construction-related delays (let’s not go into the sordid details).
Dewey and several partners opened 71 Clinton Fresh Food in 1999, the restaurant that made his son, Wylie Dufresne, a world famous chef.
As Grub Street put it, “Call in sick. Take a personal day. Tell the boss you have a family emergency. The Great Sandwich Wait is finally over on Clinton Street.” More from New York Magazine about the opening menu:
…the BYGGYBEEF sandwich Dufresne debuted (six years ago at San Gennaro) — a pomegranate-braised flavor bomb with pickled vegetables, melted American cheese, and “Xxollent sauce” (mayo, mustard, and sweet peppers) — is still the main attraction… The streamlined opening menu offers three more options: a triple-pork BYGGYPYGGY with cheddar, pickles, and peppers; the BYGGYBYRD (like a turducken in sandwich form), which combines chicken-liver pâté, smoked duck, and hot turkey breast; and the Tuna SOF, for south of France — like a pan bagnat, except the “bathed bread” in this case isn’t rustic and French, but marble rye from a bakery in the Bronx.