Dine or Dash: Pretty Bird

By Christopher Payne, Assistant Arts Editor

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A white counter divides the small restaurant into the kitchen and the dining area — each roughly the same size. 20 seats ring the room while twice as many customers filter through over the course of the next half hour. Funky jazz fills the air as we order and Billie Eilish plays as we leave. This atmosphere is home to Pretty Bird, a fried chicken joint in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City.

 

The Ingredients

Located on Regent Street — the hub for exciting, modern restaurants tucked away just off of Main Street — the core of Pretty Bird’s scene is simplicity. The design of the interior feels very modern, with mostly white and metal surfaces, large windows that open onto the street, a single neon “Pretty Bird Hot Chicken” sign and a short menu to decorate the space. The indoor seating is limited, but in the time I spent eating, most customers seemed happy to grab their chicken to go. As people waited around for their takeout orders, however, the small space filled quickly and it became difficult to move from one end to the other.

On the menu you have two main options — the Fried Chicken Sandwich or the Quarter Bird. The sandwich comes with a chicken thigh, cider slaw, pickles and “pretty bird sauce” all piled heavily in a buttered bun. The bird comes either light — a breast and wing — or dark — a thigh and leg. It’s a simple operation for a delicious meal. The recipes come from the renowned chef Viet Pham, winner of “Iron Chef” and the Best New Chef Award from 2011’s “Food & Wine Magazine.” The reputation is well-deserved by my standards, and it was some of the best fried chicken I’ve found in Utah.

On top of a fun atmosphere and fantastic food, the service was excellent. The chicken seemed to be prepared in anticipation of the dinner-time crowds, and with a quick fry the plates were hot and ready in under a minute. One of the cooks maintained an easy banter with me while he worked, ensuring everything was satisfactory and that I had enough pretty bird sauce.

 

The Verdict

Certainly, try Pretty Bird next time you crave fried chicken. With each main dish, the meat was hot and tender, the breading crispy with a hint of sugar and the whole meal surprisingly not greasy. I’m not a typically one for slaw, but the cider slaw was phenomenal both on the sandwich and à la carte. The fries had the perfect crisp and the pretty bird sauce was like a better fry sauce. Everything exceeded my expectations, and the only disappointment is that it took me this long to discover Regent Street’s dining scene.

4.9/5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong with Pretty Bird’s straightforward menu. They have been known to sell out, so don’t show up too late.

 

Pretty Bird is on 146 Regent St.

Dine-in and take out

Check out the menu here.

 

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@PaynefullyChris