Richmond fried chicken eatery takes flight during pandemic

Richmond’s food industry has seen multiple restaurant closures throughout the pandemic – but it’s also seen its share of openings.

It appears people’s fear of COVID-19 is not entirely damping their appetite to get out and stay connected, as long as safety protocols are observed.

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Free Bird Table and Bar, which swooped in and took over Ceili’s Pub on Westminster Highway, opened up in mid-June and offers southern-style dishes using locally sourced ingredients.

Free Bird Table and Bar

The Nashville hot chicken sandwich is Free Bird Table and Bar's signature dish. - Valerie Leung

Their signature dishes are their Nashville hot chicken sandwich and their fried chicken with waffles, according to David Lew, general manager at Free Bird.

“Free Bird is meant to be a place of comfort and gathering of the community and bringing people together through food,” said Lew.

Claire Wright, general manager at Hydra Vancouver, who also helps manage Free Bird, said the decision to open the eatery was delayed by three months because of COVID-19, but that didn’t stop them from opening at all.

“Opening in a global pandemic was something we never thought we would do, but we worked hard together and to strive in opening this warm and welcoming place during this difficult time,” said Wright.

Lew told the Richmond News that “everyone” is struggling through COVID-19, but like any other retail and restaurants in the community, they are following safety protocols.

“We want people to enjoy their food feeling safe, but connected as well,” said Lew.

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