The cock will crow and the dinner bell will ring when Goodbird Kitchen officially opens its doors on Tuesday, January 5. Big Red F, the local group behind the award-winning Post Brewing Company in Lafayette, as well as Lola, the five Jax Fish House spots and other restaurants, is offering a new twist on the Post in Longmont, with a fast-casual concept that still does chicken right.
Even more than the menu at its sister restaurant, GoodBird's menu is staunchly old-school, with fried-chicken buckets, chicken-salad and egg-salad sandwiches, and rotating blue plate specials like meatloaf and chicken pot pie. Big Red F owner Dave Query says the new restaurant's buildout reflects that. "We peeled the lid off and exposed the rafters, to give it a little bit of that Wisconsin-roadhouse-meets-Colorado-mountain-cabin thing we got going on," he explains. Custom-created timber light fixtures and metal accents abound, The Dude and Don Knotts look over the dining room from the wood-paneled walls, and a roving metal beer cart hands out cans of The Post's own Howdy Pilsener.
Head to the bar for simple shaken cocktails, local taps and a Dark and Stormy slushie inspired by the team's fried chicken hunt at Parson's in Chicago, which features frozen Negronis. That was part of an epic, fourteen-stop sandwich-testing tour to find the very best variations on the fried-chicken theme.
Similar to LoDo's Honor Society, GoodBird Kitchen blends fast-casual and full service as soon as you order at the counter. After you grab your cocktail, beer or root beer slushy, a hostess will guide you to your table and then a server will run out the food and take care of the rest of your meal. "It cuts out that 20 to 22 minutes from the time you or I pull on the door at Lola or Jax, that we spend dealing with the hostess, getting to your table, drink orders, 'Let me explain the specials to you…'" Query explains. "By the time you're heading to your table, we're cooking your food."
Query calls it "supreme casual," and it's going to cause some confusion on first visits — but judging from the eager crowd of friends and family members who smothered the restaurant's soft opening this weekend, folks are chomping to try it out.
Executive Chef Brett Smith is taking the reins at GoodBird after helping perfect the fried chicken recipe at The Post, and his menu has a number of surprises that you won't find in Lafayette, like dirty fries slathered in relish, cotija and roasted pork, and a braised-pig-and-fried-onion sammy served on marbled rye. "We know the things that have worked well at the Post over two years, so it's not changing as much as some of our other concepts," he says. "It's meant to be what it is: simple, straightforward comfort food. I'm sure there'll be things that we tweak, but our staples are always going to be fried and roasted chicken." Smith hopes to work with longtime provider Isabelle Farm and other local producers to help provide the fresh rotating sides that The Post is known for.
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And whether served as a two-piece plate or in a bun, the fried chicken is still crackling and peppery — and the spice of the Nashville Hot chicken induces near-delirium. The Post won our Best Fried Chicken award in 2015, but this sandwich is already a contender.
Plans to open a second GoodBird at Stanley Marketplace have been called off, but the Big Red F team is still looking to land a GoodBird in Denver, and then add more to the flock. For now, you can find chicken that flies right in Longmont daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. starting tomorrow. And watch for an afternoon happy hour from 2 to 5 p.m. Find more information here.