Farmbird Lives on H Street
By Nicole L. Gill, CouncilMag.com
When you walk into Farmbird you can’t miss the wall. “I will not eat any more boring chicken,” written over and over again.
“Really (the wall) speaks to why we started Farmbird,” said Andrew Harris, one of the owners of the counter-service grilled chicken restaurant on H Street in northeast Washington, D.C.
“Grilled chicken, is this like overlooked, boring choice. I’m going to get salad with grilled chicken. That’s going to be healthy but it’s not going to be tasty. It’s probably not going to be very satisfying. We really built Farmbird about serving chicken that’s … not boring,” he said.
Harris, along with business partner, Dan Koslow, opened Farmbird in 2017 after running Farmbird as a catering business out of Union Kitchen.
They knew chicken was served in a lot of establishments, but they thought if they “built an entire restaurant around serving awesome grilled chicken,” they could do a really good job.
Andrew Harris, left, and Dan Koslow opened Farmbird in 2017.
Photos courtesy of Farmbird
The restaurant features plates, salads and sandwiches – all featuring grilled chicken. With a focus on chicken breasts and thighs, the preparation is different for each. Both are served boneless, Harris said, but the skin is left on the thigh. For the plates, the chicken is placed on either a bed of brown rice, riced cauliflower or super greens and comes with a side or two.
Harris said Farmbird’s most popular plates are a toss-up between the avocado basil and the barbecue ranch plates.
“A big thing with our menu is we wanted to offer people some flexibility,” he said. A diner either could go light on calories with the avocado basil plate featuring grilled chicken over riced cauliflower and roasted bok choy or the diner could get a “barbecue ranch plate with a thigh over rice and mac and cheese and sweet potatoes.”
Harris and Koslow are not D.C. natives, but they noticed the district’s food scene.
“I think ethnic food is doing incredibly well in D.C.,” Harris said. “D.C. has incredible Filipino food, Thai food, Indian food. … And I think the D.C. food scene really feels like it’s having a moment. It’s kind of turning over. And I think that got us really excited about D.C.”
Harris and Koslow got to know the H Street corridor while running their catering business in NoMa — the neighborhood north of Massachusetts Avenue. They’d go to H Street to grab a bite to eat or get a drink.
“We’re among great company here on H Street. There are a lot of awesome restaurants and it really has, I think, a sense of community. It’s a neighborhood that’s not massive but one that’s changing quickly.”