The Bird will cease service in Logan Circle this month and quickly re-open as a modern French bistro with a big focus on beef over poultry.
The restaurant from EatWell DC is scheduled to close Monday, January 21, and re-open 10 days later under the name Frenchy’s Naturel on Thursday, January 31. During a 2-year run at 1337 11th Street NW, the Bird saw several chefs cycle through its kitchen.
“We felt like the Bird was not delivering consistently and we went through more chefs than I’d like to talk about,” principal owner David Winer told Eater. “I thought the best course of action was to wipe the slate clean and start fresh.”
Executive chef Eric McKamey, who’s trained in French fare, recently joined the restaurant group (Grillfish, Logan Tavern, Comissary) after stints at Momofuku CCDC, DGS Delicatessen, and Mintwood Place. The Bird’s kitchen was designed around its inaugural chef Michael Bonk and his poultry menu, notes Winer, and subsequent replacements struggled to replicate the original vision night after night.
The reinvented lineup for Frenchy’s highlights “beef first,” then “poultry, seafood, eggs, and fresh produce,” Winer said in a statement provided to Eater. Offerings are projected to include steak tartare, mussels, spaetzle gratin, and chocolate pot de creme.
Adding an affordable neighborhood French bistro into EatWell’s portfolio was the plan for some time, he notes. Negotiations for a Logan Circle space fell through at one point, he adds.
He realizes D.C. already has a substantial amount of “excellent” French options, like Le Diplomate nearby, but “it’s far from a neighborhood restaurant unless you are quite wealthy.” Customers at Frenchy’s can expect to drop around $22 for a substantial amount of food: all entrees — like the “L’experience des Frenchy’s” with Virginia Devon sirloin steak — will be served with a small salad and choice of three sauces with an option for unlimited fries or seasonal vegetable.
Fans of the Bird can get a last taste during Restaurant Week (January 14 to 20). On its last night of service, all food and drinks will be half off. The Bird’s popular brunch will largely stay intact, Winer notes, with chicken and waffles and fried chicken benedict sticking on the menu. New items include a croque madame and steak and eggs.
As part of the conversion, the 3,200-square-foot restaurant’s downstairs bar will get new high top tables, and the upstairs and rooftop areas will act as the main dining areas.
A retooled beverage program will focus on French spirits, natural wines, and classic French cocktails, with mixology classes and wine tastings in the works.
While happy hour prices will be on par with The Bird (think $4 cocktails), controversial political deals that poked fun at the current administration will disappear with the arrival of Frenchy’s.
“It was a distraction and it felt partisan,” he says. “It’s gotten so toxic I’d rather just step aside from it.”
Frenchy’s will adopt new lighting, music, uniforms, and a cozier vibe overall, he notes, which includes adding comfortable lounge seating and deeper tones.
“It’ll have a French modern feel as opposed to a wild party,” he says.
This post was updated to include comments from ownership.