Popular Miami Southern-inspired restaurant Yardbird is finally trying to plant a location in New York again. The restaurant that first opened in Miami in 2011 is looking at several neighborhoods to open a location next year, including Chelsea, Flatiron, Union Square, and Columbus Circle.
Yardbird’s John Kunkel, who is CEO of the restaurant’s parent company 50 Eggs, originally started scouting the city in 2012, but the restaurant known for its fried chicken ended up opening in Las Vegas and Singapore first.
After close to five years, Kunkel says they’re back on track to find a location here, ideally one that will house about 190 seats. Similar to other locations, the restaurant will likely have an exposed kitchen and an expansive bar and lounge. The menu of fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and pork ribs will be slightly adjusted for New York. “It’s a visible market, and we’re on the hunt now,” Kunkel says.
Kunkel recently sold part of his company to private equity firm Trispan Rising Stars, a deal that is propelling massive nationwide expansion. It’s popular in Miami especially among tourists, particularly for food with a Southern influence and rustic, Edison bulb-lined decor. The restaurant’s also expanding to Beverly Hills in California in the spring.
It’s the third Miami import to look to New York recently. Sugarcane opened in Dumbo in the fall, and Miami baker Max Santiago started slinging his doughnut recipes at Sugar Factory here this year, too.