“No growth hormones, no antibiotics,” says Dirty Bird To-Go founder Joseph Ciriello. “It’s the way I eat. I want to know where my food is coming from—especially at the low end, and especially with chicken. I’d never buy a Perdue supermarket chicken.”
Dirty Bird To-Go opened today in a narrow, attractive space on Chambers between Hudson and Greenwich. The “To-Go” in is there because of trademark issues (even though the original Dirty Bird flew the proverbial coop). It wasn’t a big issue because the first Dirty Bird To-Go, which opened in 2006 on W. 14th St., had only 10 seats. The new restaurant, with a row of side-by-side tables, will seat around 20 once the final table is done.
“We do feel like we’re adding something that doesn’t exist,” says Ciriello. “I live in Soho, I have a lot of friends here, and a lot of our customers are having families and moving to Tribeca and Battery Park City. They were saying. ‘We need you down here!’”
The menu is the same at lunch and dinner, and it is indeed all about chicken—fried, slow-roasted on a rotisserie, in “finger” form, in sandwich wraps and salads and chicken soup. (I can vouch for the friend chicken. I haven’t had it since circa 2003, when Adam suggested we order Popeye’s because it was good, and it wasn’t, not at all. Dirty Bird’s, meanwhile, was perfectly crispy and blisteringly hot; the tangy, liquid-y barbecue-ish sauce on the table was a keeper, too. And I inhaled the sauteed garlic kale.) The restaurant will be on Seamless and other sites in about a week; a beer-and-wine license is likely at some point. In the meantime, there’s fresh lemonade.
UPDATE: In the comments, Zoe asked the follow-up question that I should have—in essence, where exactly does the chicken come from and how is it treated? I pointed it out to Ciriello, who emailed this over:
“Thank you for your questions. The kind of chickens we sell at Dirty Bird to Go are important to me—we like to source our chickens from producers who are transparent with the way the birds are raised—the quality of life of the chickens is something that we take very seriously, we are concerned with things such as the distance they travel to be processed and the conditions of the farms—after all, how an animal is treated while it is being raised contributes to how it tastes. We are constantly exploring new producers and suppliers to ensure that the product is the most local and humanely raised and can meet our needs.
We purchase whole chickens (which we receive delivery 6 days—ours is never frozen), which are butchered on premises and the bones are used to make our soup and stock. The birds are distributed and raised exclusively for FreeBird Chicken and come from 25 independently owned family farms located in eastern Pennsylvania. All the chickens feed on 100% vegetarian diet, all of them are free to roam in a protected environment. There are no additives to their drinking water and definitely no antibiotics or growth hormones in their feed.
At this time, each of the owners are certified to at least Step 2 of the the Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards with all farmers ultimately striving to achieve Step 5+. My understanding of this standard is that each of the farms will be independently audited to the requirements of each Step. Please let me know if you have any more questions.”
Dirty Bird To-Go is at 155 Chambers (between Hudson and Greenwich); 212-964-3284, dirtybirdtogo.com. Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
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