First Dish: Fryd Bird – PHOENIX magazine

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First Dish: Fryd Bird – PHOENIX magazine
First Dish: Fryd Bird – PHOENIX magazine

Photo by Nikki Buchanan I like good fried chicken. So when I read about Fryd Bird, a new fast-casual in Mesa that was getting rave reviews, I grabbed a friend and went for lunch. Modern and cheerful, an egg-yolk-yellow wall showing a huge representation of an un-roasted, living, and stepping bird, the place had a small, steady line during lunch break. Many of the clients appeared to be manual workers, there for the calming carbohydrates they can work off in a couple of hours. Hypothetical. The menu focuses on two- and three-piece chicken combinations with sides, tenders, wings, and sandwiches, along with the occasional fun extras like chickatsu (I haven’t researched this, but I can imagine what it is). While we were pondering which chicken sandwich to order, the friendly young woman behind the counter recommended the first one, a winner, she said, for its garlic and parmesan flavors. She was right. All sandwiches are served on buttery Texas toast, coated with garlic aioli and stacked with plump, juicy fried chicken pieces, cucumber and lettuce. It was messy but tasty, and we chopped it up in minutes. I never understood the Chick Fil A phenomenon (I ate there once about 20 years ago and never returned), but I’m here to tell you, Fryd Bird embarrasses Chick Fil A. And that’s when I remember : This is really a fast food place that is simply better than any national chain. Photo by Nikki Buchanan My buddy likes the crispy, cracked fried chicken better than I do. It’s a little greasy for me. The side dishes are decent coleslaw loaded with carrots, red cabbage and corn, as well as mashed potatoes and sauce, with the super-soft consistency of the tubers reminiscent of KFC and instant mashed potatoes. The best in this category? Rice fragrant with cinnamon and other Middle Eastern spices. It is wonderful. Niggling criticisms aside, Fryd Bird is as good as it gets for fast food Fried Chicken. 1038 W. Southern Ave., Ste. 1, Mesa, 602-296-7405

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