Is Dill Fresh Mediterranean Grill the Next Chipotle?
New City restaurateur Frank Ficarra pioneers the high-end take-out model.
Photos by Laura Murray
"I had never worked with dill before,” says Frank Ficarra, chef and owner of Dill Fresh Mediterranean Grill. “The only dill I knew was dill pickles.”
It was in 2014, when Ficarra was working at 8 North Broadway in Nyack under Constantine Kalandranis, that he first conceived of his current endeavor. To Ficarra’s surprise, nearly every dish he prepared at 8 North Broadway incorporated the herb in some way; its sweet, grassy aroma filled the kitchen. Inspired by his work, he returned home one night and scribbled out a preliminary menu with his vision for Dill.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Ficarra opened Chipotle in Woodbury Commons as a manager. He’d long admired Steve Ells (founder of Chipotle and fellow CIA graduate), and his time at the high-volume restaurant gave him insights into the chain’s success and ideas for how to take his own business one step further.
“I wanted to do something different than just the fast casual [restaurant],” Ficarra says. “We call it the ‘high-end take-out’ model, where we have the quality and speed of a Chipotle, the utility of a McDonald’s — meaning we can go anywhere: We can be in an airport, we can be a drive thru, we can be a little kiosk — and then we also have the retail of a deli. We offer salts, spices, and olive oils for people to come in and purchase.”
Like Chipotle, Dill gives customers the option to build their own plate.
Choose between a wrap, pita, rice bowl, or salad bowl, and then customize your order for optimal deliciousness. A sample combination: Greek pita with kofte meatballs, smoked baba ghanoush and quinoa tabbouleh, diced cucumber, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and mild harissa.
Sound like a mouthful? It is.
Dill also offers a family-style meal, where groups of 2–4 or 4–6 people can select a protein plus a slew of sauces, toppings, spreads, and sides to share.
Folks with a hankering for falafel need not leave the house. Dill will deliver anywhere in Rockland County for a fee, and residents of New City benefit from a neighborly perk: free delivery.
Ficarra has come a long way from blocking out kitchen space in his head. Three years after he jotted down his vision, Dill Fresh Mediterranean Grill has diversified the New City dining scene. And though its doors have been open for just over six months, Ficarra is already looking to expand.
“I want this to be a food mecca, a food haven; I want it to be a little, smaller version of Eataly right in your backyard.”
Open Mon–Sat, 11 a.m.–9 p.m.; Sun, 12 p.m.–8 p.m. 14 N. Main St, New City, 845.628.3455; www.dillmedgrill.com.