Crispy Bird offers comfort food with a sophisticated twist
Writer / Jon Shoulders
Photographer / Brian Brosmer & Provided by Crispy Bird
Add southern-inspired fried chicken establishment to Patachou Inc.’s diverse, growing list of restaurants and cafes throughout Central Indiana.
The Indianapolis-based company, which boasts six popular Café Patachou locations and was founded in 1989 by Martha Hoover, started formulating the idea for Crispy Bird, a casual, southern-style restaurant concept, a few years after Hoover’s son David found himself trying to recreate the tasty fried chicken sandwiches he would pick up in Los Angeles, while attending the University of Southern California.
Throughout culinary school in Paris and an internship at a renowned restaurant in Copenhagen, David’s affinity for simple, savory fried chicken remained, and in 2016 he teamed up with Martha and the rest of the Patachou Inc. staff to develop the Crispy Bird menu and concept.
“With practice and passion for fried chicken, David fell in love with southern-inspired cooking while using the French techniques that he had been taught,” says Maddy Barnas, marketing director at Patachou Inc. “Ever since last year when David and Martha were in development until now, it’s stayed true to the original ideas that they had, and they’ve put a ton of thought into everything that’s on the menu.”
The eatery, located at 49th and Penn directly across from Patachou Inc.’s Napolese Pizzeria and flagship Café Patachou, officially opened to the public on December 7. The interior seats 56 and features a visual aesthetic that, much like the menu, is simple with a few interesting touches, including an abundance of blonde wood paneling complemented by black and white furniture.
Don’t let the simple moniker and straightforward concept fool you – Crispy Bird certainly puts a unique twist on fast, casual, southern-inspired cuisine.
To achieve its distinctive fried chicken flavor and texture, Patachou Inc. is sourcing from LaGrange-based Gunthorp Farms for American Freedom Rouge chickens – a heritage breed that has not been raised in Indiana for 40 to 50 years, according to Barnas. As executive chef, David brines the GMO- and antibiotic-free chicken overnight and then fries it in duck fat, adding spicy aioli, coleslaw and pickles for his fried chicken sandwiches.
“We like to say it’s fried chicken with a pedigree,” Barnas says. “It’s carefully raised and bred in the most natural and organic way possible.”
Mini pork tenderloin sandwiches, country ham, grilled chicken breast and whole cauliflower with lemon aioli are also available on the menu, and side items include salads, grits, mac and cheese, black-eyed peas and pommes purée (French-style mashed potatoes). Soft serve, Hoosier pie and an apple maple ice cream tart help round out the dessert options, while wine, craft beer and cocktails are also available.
“It’s all simple things that are southern inspired but have unique twists on them because of David’s classic training and background,” Barnas adds. “They’re twists on southern classics, elevated a little bit. And they’re all absolutely delicious, unlike anything I’ve ever tasted.”
Last year was one of considerable expansion for Patachou Inc., as 2017 also included ongoing construction of a second Public Greens location at the Fashion Mall at Keystone (expected to open in the spring), and the launch of One Fourteen, a luxury microbar and dining room adjacent to Napolese on 49th Street.
Crispy Bird is located at 119 East 49th Street. Call 317-744-0000 or visit crispy-bird.com for more info and to make reservations.