Flybird Chicken in Delray Beach
Chicken Soup for the Pandemic Soul
by Darien Davies
Photos: Current Media
If 2020 was the worst cold you’ve ever had in your life, then FlyBird’s roast chicken was the comfort we all needed. Not only is it seriously good chicken, it’s also served up by a seriously friendly team who’s committed to everyone’s hungry happiness. The best part is that when Flybird wins, we all win.
The goal for the restaurant is to provide locals with the homey and delicious meals they want, without them having to cook it themselves. It’s simple and convenient with a roasted garlic on top, served with a smile, and delivered to your door when you’re too tired to make it in.
“Fresh and simple. It’s funny, people go, ‘What do you do to your chicken?’ Like it’s some secret,” said Michael Salmon, owner of FlyBird Chargrilled Chicken. “So we created a spice mix (salt and pepper) and call it ‘chicken magic.’ It’s really just the way we do it: grilled over mesquite charcoal and hard work. It’s like the best backyard BBQ. Remember the first visceral interaction with chicken that wasn’t in a pot? That’s what this is always. Thank God it all works out well.”
And that’s out of the mouth of someone who is so appreciative of his local community. FlyBird was open only eight months when the pan- demic struck town, which afforded them enough time to receive great feedback from local food bloggers and community members who gave great reviews. Coupled with help from The Socially Distanced Supper Club and fine-tuning their already rockstar offerings, they’ve been able to refine what they do and offer a very tight menu that delivers consistently awesome results.
“The secret is to find your niche, find what people like, and deliver it with a great attitude, consistently. Just do something really well and it’ll work. It has and it is,” said Salmon, who’s most looking forward to 2021 and seeing people’s faces again. “I feel blessed and incredibly fortunate. When I sit outside for 15 minutes with a glass of water, I have conversations with people coming and going next door at the post office. People say, ‘Best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had in my life.’ I say, ‘Dude, you totally made my day.’”
He calls it “craveability.” He and his team try and offer something better than everyone else around, which not only includes their chargrilled chicken, homemade sides, sandwiches and salads, but also the care for their customers.
“When interviewing, that’s the job you’re applying for. I can train for everything else, but [my employees] just have to be super nice. I watch them all the time on cameras and it’s to catch them doing something right, not something wrong,” Salmon said. “It’s small touches that bring humanity and sanity in an insane world. And that’s what makes the chicken taste so good. It’s how you respect the process from the minute the door is open to when they leave. It’s a competition to who can be nicer to each other. I love all of it. It’s a joy for me.”
Salmon is happy to now be seeing people who he hasn’t seen in the past 10 months, and looks forward to continuing to pick back up the COVID pieces of 2020. Considering FlyBird has spent half its life in a pandemic, Salmon still considers himself and the business very lucky. He was able to keep his entire team, increase his delivery business with Delivery Dudes, and didn’t have to substantially increase prices, all of which allows him to interact with guests, and train and empower team members to do their job well. It’s all about the KISS (keep it simple, stupid), and for Salmon that means connecting with his customers and giving them exactly what they need: a feel-good hug via the best chicken dishes in town.
“I want there to be a connectivity to the food from an emotional point of view. People seek us out, and that is the greatest compliment. It’s very fulfilling,” Salmon said.
335 E. Linton Blvd., Delray Beach