Mama Bird, the grilled chicken and vegetable restaurant in Northwest Portland, will be back for business on Friday, the Willamette Week first reported. The restaurant was closed for about three weeks to install a $100,000 “scrubber” to the oven after community complaints about smoke. To celebrate its reopening, the bright and cheerful restaurant will be giving away 600 quarter-chicken plates on Friday starting at 11 a.m. Each plate will come with a half chicken breast, half leg, and half wing, plus a house-made sauce.
Owner — and Eater PDX’s Chef of the year 2017 — Gabe Pascuzzi had built a reputation with his sandwich shop Stacked, famous for making all of its ingredient in house, when he announced Mama Bird. The restaurant opened in late September with a focus on grilled chicken, salads, house-made sauces, and desserts like s’mores. Unfortunately, despite the team’s efforts to mitigate the smoke coming from the restaurant’s Argentine-style grill, residents of neighboring apartments continually complained about smoke issues, and Mama Bird was forced to close while it installed an expensive “scrubber.”
Despite the setback, Pascuzzi manages to remain mostly positive. “We’ve been using this time to develop some new menu items, some coming as soon as next week and others coming in the new year,” he says. “We now have our outdoor seating ready to go with a fire pit and heaters. We made a few updates to the dining room, too.” Still, the cost of equipment and closing hasn’t been cheap, but the team is ready to look forward and continue on. “This has been an arduous and stressful experience for me and I’m looking forward to putting it in the rearview mirror. We just want to be a neighborhood staple and make healthy, good food.”