Field Failing’s path to the kitchen wasn’t exactly straightforward: After beginning a career in biotech, he decided to try professional bike racing, which required him to find a restaurant job to support himself. He fell in love with the restaurant industry, and he worked his way up to sous chef before going back to business school. When he graduated, he took a job in finance with David Burke to learn the back-end of ownership, and then he prepared to step out on his own.
Frustrated by his inability to find healthy food on the go during his training days, he was inspired to fill the void, so he sketched out Fields Good Chicken (101 Maiden Lane, 646-895-6831), a grilled and roasted poultry concept opening this week in the Financial District.
“Fried chicken is everywhere,” Failing explains. “But it seems like grilled and roasted chicken is an underserved market. Usually, it’s dried out because it doesn’t receive the same attention and care as other foods. I want to elevate that.” Grilled and roasted chicken is also a bedrock of healthy eating for many people, and it makes a good anchor for a concept that aims to give people quick, healthy options.
Failing is doing different preparations of the bird — like barbecue, herb-grilled, yakitori, and roasted and pulled off the bone — on four sandwiches, four salads, and four bowls using additional ingredients that are scratch made in house. Look for dishes like the Christina’s Kale — named for Failing’s fiancee and made with kale, quinoa, pickled onions, yakitori chicken, and a ginger vinaigrette — or the FGC BBQ, a sandwich built with pulled barbecue chicken and granny smith apple slaw.
Order your dish at the counter, and then take it to go or find a seat for a quick bite. “That allows people to customize and see the ingredients,” says Failing. “I love that model — people eat with their eyes, and putting them under a nice light is a good way to engage the customer.”
The owner put his first restaurant in the Financial District, he says, because he wanted to serve “people during the work day looking for a quick meal with good quality food,” and that audience is built in downtown. But Fields is built with expansion in mind: Assuming this location takes off, Failing will look at Midtown and other locations in the city before expanding outside of New York. “It’s definitely built with scalability in mind,” he says.
And the years-long process, he says, has been rewarding: “This is a labor of love for me, and something I’m really passionate about. Most recipes started in my kitchen, which is tiny. I’ve gone from having little mason jars with pickled onions and my fiancee as my taste-tester to a full restaurant.”
Fields Good Chicken will be open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 16, 2014