A quick-service restaurant driven by chicken dishes is the newest Ciccio Restaurant Group concept hatching in Tampa's SoHo area.
Set to operate as half takeout, half dine-in, BetterBYRD has an anticipated opening date of mid-September at the former site of Soho Tavern, between Platt Street and Howard Avenue. Mise en Place executive chef and co-owner Marty Blitz will serve as the new venture's creative partner, according to Ciccio marketing director Nikki Wallen.
The 50-seat restaurant plans to revamp the popular American chicken concept by infusing Mexican and Mediterranean flavors into its fare. With a build-your-own setup, similar to Ciccio's Fresh Kitchen, patrons will customize their orders by choosing from seven chicken varieties and what they're served on.
Their selections — buttermilk fried chicken, grilled sour orange and pineapple chicken, ancho-pulled chicken, white Mexican barbecue chicken, or the signature chicken falafel — will be paired with homemade waffles, soft white corn tortillas, Mediterranean naan, a rice bowl, crispy nachos or steak fries. (Oh, the options.)
"Birdaments" (these include hummus, veggie straws and salads), "Bird-Dips" (dipping sauces meant to be paired with the chicken) and "Bird-Ons" (extra fixins like cheeses, guacamoles and bacon) will also be served.
Accompanied by bright blues and new-age art design, the space will mix its chic look with a classic 1970s design. There's no bar planned for the space, but BetterBYRD may offer select craft beers.
Wallen says Ciccio stuck with Howard Avenue because its home; the restaurant group feels the area represents "the diverse tastes that make Florida unique."