Denver’s newest fried chicken sandwich spot opened in Five Points last night. Birdcall is the latest from the Park Burger team, led by Jean-Phillipe Failyau and Peter Newlin. It is the first of what they hope will become many locations for this fast-casual sandwich shop. In the meantime, it adds to the already growing trend of fried chicken spots and pop-ups in Denver.
Most notably, though, are the restaurant’s technology-driven touches that the team predicts will be the future of dining out — there is essentially no front-of-house staff. Orders are placed outside at canary-yellow kiosks and picked up inside from a cubby with an assigned number attached — all sans human interaction.
Although the team will staff front-of-house faces to assist guests, bus tables and greet the new neighbors in the beginning, the movement towards a person-free point-of-sale process is the future for this fried chicken joint.
Opened in the space that once housed the beloved Tom’s Home Cookin’, Birdcall is the ultimate futuristic juxtaposition. The latter is laser-focused on efficiency. General manager Conner Boynton compared the structure to that of an Apple store.
“Like an Apple store, we’ll still have some front-of-house staff floating around in case you need anything, but we’re abandoning the classic order-at-the-counter service,” Boynton explained. “This is really our flagship opportunity to explore a new business model that we think is the future of dining out.”
Kiosks are touchscreen and simple to use — as illustrated by one of the software developer’s four-year-old son in the photo above. The ordering interface will even track your past orders by credit card “profile” so regulars can repeat favorites with even less effort. After ordering, you head inside where a large flatscreen TV shows your name and a by-the-second countdown of when your food will be placed in the wall of numbered cubby holes that separate the back-of-house prep space from the dining room.
The dining room is small yet vibrant, with sliding window-pane doors that open up to a spacious back patio.
“Everyone on our team is a big fan of design,” brand manager Lauren Vaughan explained. “We wanted to tap into that to create a fun space where people can hang-out and grab a casual meal.”
The technological touches may be the calling card of this restaurant, but the fried chicken is what will keep you coming back for more. With eight sandwiches to choose from, six are built around the crispy, perfectly-seasoned piece of fried chicken. We suggest The Original fried chicken sandwich ($5.75) with an Aspen bun, pickles and the Birdcall sauce. Also try the Nashville Hot ($5.75) — the same sandwich tossed in the city’s signature hot sauce — which is GM approved, as Boynton is from Nashville originally. Spice-lovers should also tap into The Buffalo($6.95) with bleu cheese crumbles, buffalo fried chicken, tomato, shredded lettuce and an extra sauce of your choice.
For fans of other fare, the shop sells grilled chicken sandwiches, shakes, salads and even a burger. No matter what you order, making it a combo is non-negotiable in our eyes — those thin-cut fries ($1.95) are essential. The portion is heaping for the price, and they’re the ultimate example of what a less-processed, more perfect order from McDonald’s could be.
In the upcoming days, Birdcall fans will also be able to get their fried-chicken fix for breakfast with options like a fried chicken breakfast sandwich($5.75) with a pimento cheese spread or a more classic breakfast burrito ($4.95) or bacon, egg and cheese ($4.50).
During its opening week, Birdcall’s hours are varied and subject to change. For the most updated list, click here. Starting Wednesday, July 26, it will be open from breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Birdcall is located at 800 E. 26th Ave., Denver. Unless noted, all photography is by Alexandra Palmerton.