SFO may still be reeling from delays, but fried chicken sandwiches are cleared for takeoff at Flybird, an aviation-themed fast-casual restaurant that opened downtown today. The new shop comes from Guy Eshel, the chef behind popular downtown Mediterranean spot Sababa, and partner Jay Roberts, a fellow alum of now-closed restaurant AQ. Their menu is focused on a variety of fried chicken sandwiches and salads (with optional sliced fried chicken on top) — and the timing for their product couldn’t be better, if the Popeye’s chicken sandwich craze is any indication.
Flybird’s main offering is a “classic” chicken sandwich ($12) with a flattened, cutlet style piece of chicken from Springer Mountain Farms. It’s topped with homemade bread and butter pickles and ranch slaw on a Boudin Bakery bun. A spicy version is available glazed with buffalo sauce, and fried again with the addition of “first class sauce,” a take on southern-style comeback sauce. Spinoffs include a “Mexico City” (with black bean avocado, little gem, pickled radish, cotija cheese, and chipotle aioli) and the “med” with hummus, tomato, little gem, brine pickles, za’atar, and tahini sauce). Customers can substitute a fried sweet potato for chicken (a dollar less). The whole menu is here.
At 35 Kearny Street on the corner of Maiden Lane, Flybird is built for speed and efficiency. Customers can order on tablets to zip through the lunch rush, and delivery is down the runway, as are breakfast options and a beer and wine license.