In 2017, a new chicken joint opened on Evans and Franklin with its unique ordering system, gourmet chicken, and family friendly atmosphere. Birdcall is owned by Jean-Phillipe Failyau who also owns popular local restaurants Tap & Dough and Park Burger. All three are changing Denver’s foodscape with their new approach to fast food.
The actual building is a drive through with an outdoor space and inside seating. While its situation on Evans, a busy road, does not necessarily add to the experience, the restaurant has dramatically changed the corner where Twisters burritos used to be. We ordered The Original chicken sandwich ($5.95), Chicken Strips ($4.95 for 3), an Oreo Shake ($4.95), and an Organic Tractor Soda (Cherry Creme, $2.50). The chicken sandwich is one of the most popular items on the menu and it comes with all natural, crispy chicken on a bun and sliced pickles. The sandwich itself was flavorful even without sauce and was visually appealing. The chicken strips were slightly dry and didn’t have the same wow factor as the sandwich but it was still good. Birdcall offers a variety of unusual drinks instead of your typical Pepsi product drinks. They have Organic Tractor sodas as well as teas. After testing the cucumber flavor, we decided on the Cherry Cream soda. Don’t be surprised if the drinks throw you off; they taste more like flavored seltzer water than soda. Some people would prefer to have a normal soda that is more familiar; the variety of unique flavors are not reliable and we cannot guarantee you’ll enjoy them. However, the drinks add to the healthy goal and organic, gourmet feel. The milkshake tasted a bit like yogurt and you can tell it’s more healthy/natural than other fast food restaurants but it was good for a restaurant that doesn’t focus on shakes. Compared to other restaurants, Birdcall uses natural ingredients and less sugar. For example, McDonald’s offers a milkshake with ingredients such as Corn Syrup, Mono and Diglycerides, so the all natural route Birdcall goes is the healthier alternative.
Also, it is important to note that Birdcall also offers some vegetarian/vegan options. They include 5 different types of salad, a vegetarian side, and a tofu veggie burger. Of course, Birdcall isn’t known for these options but they are still available to any vegan or vegetarian that finds themselves in a chicken restaurant.
While the food was tasty and some would argue better than its fast food counterparts, Chick-fil-A, it was way overpriced. If you’re looking for a cheap, fast lunch break, Birdcall is not recommended because the food is costly. We ordered a fountain drink, chicken sandwich, chicken tenders, and a milkshake which rang up at a little over $20. If we had gotten this exact order at Chick-fil-A, it would have only been $12.88. The way the ordering system is set up,it seems you’re just getting a $6 sandwich (which is expensive on its own) but then the price grows once you add the extra charge for toppings and sides and sauce. Compared to the $3.75 sandwich Chick-fil-A is known for, the gourmet initiative doesn’t seem worth it. For most high schoolers, the cheapest route is the best route so a restaurant like Chick-fil-A might be a better option when it comes to price.
However, a higher price is expected for a healthier, local fast food restaurant. Birdcall’s extremely friendly environment and helpful staff make a substantial argument for the extra 3 dollars spent on a sandwich. And compared to its franchise competitor, Birdcall gives back more with it’s community awareness; 1% of all sales goes back to the community it serves. It also is environmentally conscious with recyclable cups, compostable napkins and paper, and reusable trays.
When asking people about their preferences between Birdcall and Chick-fil-A, the majority chose Birdcall. “Chick-fil-A didn’t have good flavor, it was too salty, the bun was soggy, and it was too much like McDonald’s,” said Carly McClung. “And Birdcall has good chicken.” On the opposite side, Catherine Yow argued that “Fast food is better than fancy versions of fast food.” You can’t compete with the quintessential taste of the Chick-fil-A sauce which gives the sandwich its signature taste. Birdcall is up against a well known classic and they lack the specialty ingredients Chick-fil-A is famous for. However, Birdcall does use higher quality ingredients and produces higher quality food, even if the greasy fast food component isn’t there. It is definitely a healthier alternative to fast food and it still provides the same fast service as well.
Overall, we would give Birdcall 4 out of 5 stars because while it was expensive, the food was satisfactory and their eco, family friendly environment was inviting and made the experience better.