When we first met New York City baker-turned-Philly-restauranteur Pat O’Malley in 2015, he was looking like “a Mr. Fix It,” in his words, building a space he could call his own (with local chef Scott Schroeder in Queen Village. When we made their acquaintance, Schroeder and chef/pal Pat O’Malley were horsing around outside of the pair’s first joint acquisition, Hungry Pigeon, opening at Fourth and Fitzwater, and everything seemed to be going their way.
“Just like our menu, everything’s from scratch,” said O’Malley, pointing toward where the counter/bar and open kitchen in Hungry Pigeon’s 1,200-square-foot space would be located, and how they would go, seamlessly from a day’s breakfast to an afternoon’s lunch or brunch, then finally for night and dinner in what was one of Philly’s first all day-all night cafés.
And it worked. Well. Until it didn’t. Until the top of 2020 when O’Malley’s now ex-partner Schroeder used racist rhetoric as part of his Instagram account – insulting neighbors, diners and staff, who had run-ins with Schroeder before the Instagram incident. Hungry Pigeon closed for a minute, which – luckily – wasn’t too noticeable due to the pandemic. Schroeder got out of the restaurant biz and left his interest in the space to now-sole owner O’Malley. And this weekend, Sunday, October 11, Hungry Pigeon closes, only to become the brand new Fitz and Starts, on October. 14. The last day as Hungry Pigeon will be Oct. 11.
Other changes beyond a name shift will go into Fitz and Starts.
A retail bakery and a bottle shop featuring local vintners and area brewers product will now be available. The dinner menu promises to be more casual than In its past incarnation. A 20% service fee will be added to checks to get front-of-house and back-of-house employees equally paid – so no tipping. And for the time being, Fitz and Starts will operate in an outdoors only capacity, Wednesdays to Sundays, with brunch every day they’re open until 3 pm with dinner starting at 5 pm.
Looks like O’Malley has his ducks in a row, and his Fitz and Starts properly started.