Rowdy Rooster’s Vada Pao, Photo: Paul McDonough

Last week, Rowdy Rooster, New York City’s Indian Fried Chicken innovator restaurant, began offering a special menu with proceeds benefiting City Harvest, the city’s first and largest food rescue organization. 

For the rest of June, all proceeds from the restaurant’s Mango Lassi and Vada Pao (a battered and fried potato pattie with thecha and chutney on a bun) will help feed New Yorkers in need. 

City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions. The partnership between the anti-hunger organization and restaurant comes at a time when food insecurity remains at record highs in the city. According to a new report from City Harvest, 55 percent more New York kids are going hungry today and one in four children “don’t know where their next meal will come from.”

Rowdy Rooster is the latest adventure by Unapologetic Foods, a restaurant group known for owning several Indian food restaurants in New York City, such as Dhamaka, Adda, and Semma. The tiny East Village fried chicken joint is led by Chef Chintan Pandya and Restaurateur Roni Mazumdar.  Chef Chintan and Mazumdar are also members of City Harvest’s Food Council.

Having traveled extensively across South-East Asia, Chef Chintan learned the local recipes that might not have found their way outside of  neighborhoods in the region. Mazumdar moved to the Bronx from Kolkata, India at the age of 13. While he loves his dose of fried chicken, he never truly found his dream version that he remembered from a street cart on the outskirts of Kolkata. Both Mazumdar and Chintan worked together to serve some of the boldest spices that fried chicken has met to New Yorkers at the Rowdy Rooster.