After two years and five chefs, poultry-themed restaurant The Bird will close on Jan. 21. The owners will reopen the Shaw space after a ten-day renovation as a French bistro called Frenchy’s Naturel: Steak, Eggs & Wine.
“We wanted a clean slate, truthfully. We’ve been through a lot of chefs. To be honest, I think our product, particularly at dinner, was inconsistent due to a revolving door,” says owner David Winer, whose group EatWell DC also runs Commissary, The Pig, and others. The Bird will offer half-off all food and drinks on its final evening.
Chef Eric McKamey, who’s been at the restaurant for just over two months after stints at Momofuku and Mintwood Place, will continue to lead the kitchen at Frenchy’s Naturel. The new, concise menu will likely include three sizes of steak, a Boursin and mushroom omelet, a cheeseburger, and other bistro classics. All the entrees will come with a side salad, a trio of sauces, and unlimited fries.
Winer says he’s been wanting to open a French bistro for more than a decade, and almost did so in what’s now Stoney’s in Logan Circle before the deal fell apart. Most of DC’s French restaurants, he laments, tend to be pretty pricey. Frenchy’s aims to be more affordable, with most entrees under $25.
The restaurant will focus on natural wines, although not exclusively. They’re also looking to highlight naturally fermented beers and ciders. Cocktails will lean classically French. Bartender Ben Bronstein will also offer cocktail classes and wine tastings at the upstairs bar.
The one thing that won’t change much is brunch, which remained popular at The Bird even when dinner was not. You’ll still find favorites such as chicken and waffles, fried chicken Benedict, and steak and eggs. (Some of the eggs come from EatWell DC’s farm in La Plata, Maryland.)
Certain pieces of The Bird’s art will also stay, but otherwise the two-story space will be revamped for a “simple, clean bistro look,” Winer says. The downstairs area will have new high top tables, while the upstairs and roof terrance will serve as the main dining room.
Although The Bird focused on all things with wings, it became better known for its political drink specials. Anytime Trump fired a senior White House official or Robert Mueller indicted someone, the restaurant offered happy hour deals such as “Moscow Muellers.”
Frenchy’s Naturel won’t be continuing the tradition.
“It certainly did gain us a lot of notoriety and that was fun for a while. It’s honestly something that’s distracting, and I think it takes us off focus,” Winer says. He’s also having second thoughts about coming off as partisan. “We may be liberal in our leanings, but I think it’s fair that we make all of our guests feel comfortable.”