French Culinary Institute graduate and Kings Park native Conor Swanson spent the past five years living in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan restaurants.
He spent quite a lot of that time experimenting with immensely popular pork buns, or steamed Asian bread rolls.
“I was always experimenting with them, and putting the [Taiwanese] fried chicken in there,” he told GreaterPatchogue this week. “For me the fried chicken was way more appealing than the pork belly. Something I could eat every day.”
His perfected brand of fried chicken bao buns — as they’re also called — will be the centerpiece and the inspiration behind Swanson’s vision for “Bird and Bao” in Patchogue.
Swanson, 27, and now living in Northport, is looking to open in the former Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame building on South Ocean Avenue sometime this summer.
His plans for the 1,200-square-foot space go before the village Planning Board Jan. 22.
“I had my fill of Brooklyn and wanted to come back to Long Island, and open my own place,” he said. “And I would always come out to Patchogue where I have friends on River Avenue. And my sister lives in Patchogue.”
Last year he zeroed in on the space next to the new Fry Daddy’s on South Ocean.
He’s looking to transform it into a New York City-style take-out joint with seating for around 15.
“It’s going to be pretty bare bones, the duct work open,” Swanson said of the design. “I want concrete floors, very urban looking but super-clean and minimal.”
As for the clientele, he’s hoping to draw foot traffic from locals and visitors alike — with plenty of deliveries going out.
“And I wanted something that was more for the lunch crowd. If you have a half-hour, you could come in and grab something really good, really tasty, and be able to go back to work,” he said.
Bird & Bao will also be offering pork and tofu buns, five spice fries, salads, chicken and rice bowls and more. Click here to see more dishes on Instagram.
If the Planning Board approves the plans, Swanson expects to start work soon after.
Photo: The Crispy Chicken Rice Bowl that wll be served at Bird & Bao.
(Credit: @birdandbao on Instagram)