First Look: Dirty Bird Finally Brings Us Good Fried Chicken On The Cheap

There are a few things we Downtown Lunch’ers are still lacking in the food department, and for some reason the list is heavy on Southern food including fried chicken and barbeque. You can get fried chicken at several places, but good luck finding the trifecta of it being quick, costing less than $10, and actually being good. Popeye’s was the go-to place that hit all of those ideals, but the location on Fulton St. shuttered. Then there’s Bon Chon on John, but Korean fried chicken isn’t quite the same, and Cornerstone Grill on Greenwich St. in Tribeca is good, but kind of a hike for most of us and they don’t have seating. So what’s a fatty to do? Get thee to Dirty Bird To Go on Chambers St. (btw. W. Broadway & Greenwich). I’m not ashamed to say I ate a huge fried chicken dinner at my desk and got grease all over my keyboard because the chicken was so good I couldn’t put it down.

The good news is that you can get a substantial amount of food here for less than $10. I was maybe the fifth customer after they opened around noon yesterday and the fried chicken and mac ‘n’ cheese weren’t yet ready. I ended up waiting a while for my chicken and, full disclosure, they ended up comping my meal and throwing in a couple of chocolate chip cookies for free. I don’t think they knew I was a food blogger, but I appreciated the gesture regardless.

This is a second location of Dirty Bird – the original is on 14th St. – and I’d tried the chicken strips and potatoes and gravy there a couple of years ago.  All of their chicken is free-range and high-quality so I appreciate that the prices are still reasonable. The chicken strips seem to be a popular item, and would definitely be easier to eat at your desk than fried or rotisserie chicken. There are also a couple of chicken wraps, salads and chicken soup along with a three-side combo for $9 if you’re a vegetarian who gets dragged here by co-workers.

I ordered the two-piece combo of buttermilk fried chicken, one white and one dark meat, with a side of roasted potatoes ($8.95) and it came with a piece of corn bread. There are a fair number of sides to choose from including mac ‘n’ cheese (which costs $1 more than the other sides), garlic sauteed kale, veggie rice, coleslaw and potatoes and gravy.

There was a leg and a breast in the box and holy crap was that a huge piece of chicken! Seriously, I could have made two meals out of this since the cornbread was really dense and rich – more like baked polenta than a bread. Also, props to the cooks who made me happy I waited for the fried chicken to be done. I actually liked the juicy white meat chicken more than the dark meat although the breading on each was well-salted and still crispy even after a 15 minute walk back to my office. They also give you a little cup of a vinegar sauce with jalapeno which I dipped pieces of the chicken in. So good!

I think next time I’d get the garlic sauteed kale or vegetables in place of the roasted potatoes, not because they weren’t good but because I needed a break from the grease. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is the best fried chicken (especially for less than $10) downtown, although if you know of a better source let us know where it is in the comments!

Dirty Bird To Go, 155 Chambers St. (btw W. Broadway & Greenwich), (212) 964-3284, online at



  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I haven’t tried the location downtown, but their 14th street location did not compare well to Popeye’s. I remember it as being MUCH more expensive and the skin/crust leathery with less flavor. The flesh was dry too. My guess is you lucked out getting yours hot out of the frier.

    That said, like you mentioned there is no Popeye’s or other choice in the FiDi, and choice is always welcome.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I went too this afternoon – definitely a little slower than what I remember of their 14th street location. Still tasty and super fresh. Good value for lunch and a nice change of scene. Will probably go again.

  • What genius name branding! Doesn’t Dirty Bird = Salmonella?

  • I love this place in Chelsea. For 2-3 I’d get the 8 piece and 4 sides (mac and cheese, kale, potatoes, roasted veggies), 4 pieces of cornbread, and the magical jalapeno brine for about $25. Everything is good quality there, can taste the care that goes into it. Worth the extra dough IMO.

Leave a Reply

You must log in or register to post a comment.