Redbird Fried Chicken

Written by Mary Ann Fitzmorris March 06, 2023 08:05 in Dining Diary

Maybe the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain can no longer post-COVID be technically a bedroom community, but its spirit remains: we want a more leisurely pace than the other side. So we have less of everything over here, and we mostly like it that way. We do, however, get very excited about anything new arriving on the scene. (What would personally make me happiest is a Trader Joe’s, but I digress.)

When Pyre exited the revolving-door space near the Winn-Dixie in Covington on the now very-busy Hwy 21 corridor, anticipation was high as to what would move in. We are used to seeing changes. It was originally Jerk’s Caribbean something-or-other, then the global fusion something-or-other Bac-O-Bar, then Pyre Provision global something-or-other turned great barbecue.

Clearly, there was something happening, and one day a whimsical sign appeared announcing Redbird. The building was being renovated into something wonderful, but what was this? Just searching the word Redbird directs you to Redbird in Los Angeles, a trendy, glamorous, much-celebrated, and expensive restaurant in a renovated church in downtown Los Angeles.  

The little eatery in Covington couldn’t be more different. It is casual, inexpensive, and not very complicated. Redbird isn’t something-or-other anything. It says right on the sign: Redbird Fried Chicken. It features fried chicken in the style of Willie Mae’s Scotch House, or Gus’s out of Memphis. It is spicy and very crunchy, almost forming a shell around the meat. When the chicken is very hot, the shell tends to separate, so I prefer it not so hot.

The two Bennett brothers who own Redbird Fried Chicken go through a lot of trouble to marinate the chicken a whole day before it is fried. The crust does have a very nice flavor, but oddly, that doesn’t seem to be the case for the actual meat.

The menu is simple at Redbird: Fried Chicken one way. Two pieces, white or dark, 3 pieces, a box, etc. And there are chicken nuggets that are cooked the regular fried chicken way with a simple breading, These are irregular and of very high quality, all-meat chicken breast meat. You can get a lot of different sauces to eat with the chicken. These are quite good. There is a great Ranch, a good BBQ, of course, a Signature Sauce, Honey Mustard, and Asian Sauce that is very spicy, and a Tabasco sauce that is, well…just imagine. 

For sides, there is coleslaw, and red beans and rice, and fries. Also, a delectable mac’n’cheese.

The coleslaw isn’t really creamy and it isn’t really a vinaigrette, but the flavor is quite good. The ingredients are fresh and I like the size of the vegetables. This is a weird thing to notice about coleslaw, but it is unusually appealing to the eye. I always want more of this.

The first time we went I didn’t like the red beans at all, but that was mere days after opening. On a subsequent visit, I really liked them. This version of our local staple tends to be much creamier than I personally like, but fans of the soupier style of red beans will definitely approve.

The fries are shoestring battered fries, and they are pretty great for frozen fries. They have a nice dusting of seasoning, are crispy, and easy to eat. I love these fries. 

These items are served on a divided paper plate with an ordinary roll.

What I maybe most of all is the mac’n’cheese. It is silky in texture with lots of cream and cheese. Made with rotini noodles, the pasta is coated completely with the rich sauce. On top is a generous sprinkling of fried chicken crumbles, which are spicy and perk it up as well as adding some crunch.

The immensely likable Bennett brothers did a lot of work on this building. The place has an almost nautical vibe to it now, except for the rows of old 45 records that line the walls. The records illustrate the Memphis-style chicken with a Blues theme. Music is blues and rock’n’roll.

Service is fast casual, and you walk into a vacuous area with kiosks to place your order, with the option to press on and talk to a person if you, like me, are not quite ready for the Jetson's version. (Surprisingly, I can do this, I just don’t want to.)

The food comes very quickly with a smile. We sat outside, which has also been renovated into a lovely seating area much more appealing than any here before.

The Bennett’s are not new restaurateurs. They opened Andy’s Bistro ten years ago, then closed it after what I thought was a successful run. It became the second location of 3 B’s, named for the 3 guys behind it: Kevin Bennett and his sons Brandon and Blake. Kevin owned Speedy Oil Change and a lot of property as a result, which started the restaurant career. The space that was Andy’s is Kevin’s building, and after he saw the door revolving too many times, he decided to try the restaurant business himself. The original 3 B’s is also his building in Lakeview. They are renting in Covington, where everybody lives. Maybe after Redbird is rolling a while, the 3 B's can bring us an Andy’s.