It has been just a little over a month since we learned about the Three Fold owner’s plans to launch a fried chicken concept, Haybird, now we are able to take our first look and taste of some of the food that will hit the streets starting next Tuesday (May 28th).
Haybird is located back at the original Three Fold location at 215 Center Street in downtown Little Rock. If you visited that location and visited the same spot while it was briefly Hanaroo the first thing you will notice walking in is that it is nearly identical to the original Three Fold style. So much so that it is a bit like deja vu for anyone who stopped in while at Hanaroo, if you didn’t you would assume that nothing changed between Three Fold and Haybird.
The aesthetics instantly brand this as a sister restaurant to the well established Chinese food concept, it makes it comforting and familiar to their customers. You will find other small cross overs like the sauce options, the buns on the sandwiches, and the mini buns (more on that later).
Like Three Fold, you have Three basic options with some variances of each. To start you have the birds, which is essential fried chicken (or vegetarian chicken). This is either served as their namesake “haybird” style which is atop a bed of hay fries (think shoestring potatoes) or “cabbage bird” which is a bed of cabbage with wood ear mushrooms and house dressing. You can also get just an order of white meat chicken nuggets available by the pound or a half pound.
Next up is a couple of salad options, the chicken salad is going to use the same base as the cabbage bird above and includes shredded chicken, house pickles, and a marinated egg. The vegetarian salad is the same, only using vegetarian chicken.
Finally, they have sandwich options. These all use steamed buns very similar to those used at Three Fold with a variety of options. The most obvious two are the birdwich and veggie birdwich. These have either fried chicken or veggie fried chicken topped with house-made pickles. You can pair it with either a side of their shoestring fries or a cup of housemade pickles. Speaking of, they are very good containing both cucumbers and carrots that are done with a slightly sweet quick pickle method. Finally, if you are not in the mood for chicken you can get an eggwich. This is the same sandwich base but with two marinated fried eggs instead.
Similar to the sesame seed balls for a dessert, they added fried mini buns to this menu. If you were one of the lucky few to stop in during the short period Three Fold served breakfast you will recognize these as mini versions of the main entree item they served. These are just slightly sweet, which is the perfect amount for me, and served with a dipping sauce that adds a little additional flavor.
While we stay away from reviews here, and especially this early on in a location, I’ll still say their main focus brings some very good fried chicken. It is full of flavor thanks to their 24 hour marinated meat and additional seasoning in the breading. It is not going to be your traditional southern fried chicken, and honestly, that change of pace is what I like the most about it. It is an even smaller and more compact menu than Three Fold, so it is going to hit a very specific craving, but also allows them to hone in perfection on the chicken dishes. If you love Three Fold and/or love fried chicken I think you are going to like this.
Haybird is being billed as a pop-up restaurant for right now, but if the concept takes off they do plan to make things a little more permanent. The simplicity of it is something to love and honestly has all the potential for a big winner on their hands that I can easily see having several locations.
Haybird opens on Tuesday, May 28th, after that they will stay open 11am – 9pm Monday – Saturday.