Krisp Bird & Batter In The Heights Will Feature Breakfast, Espresso Drinks & More
The parade of new restaurants opening in the Heights is marching on at a rapid pace. Among them is the second location of Krisp Bird & Batter, an upscale fast-casual restaurant that focuses on top-quality sandwiches made with organic, pasture-raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken. The original restaurant is at 5922 Richmond Avenue (in what would be considered the old “Richmond Strip”) and the new one is under construction at 2400 North Shepherd near 24th Street.
There are ambitious plans afoot for the Heights incarnation. It is much larger, for starters, and chef and operating partner Ben McPherson says, “There’s been a lot more thought put into the materials and aesthetics. We’ve got real hardwoods and large, butcher-block tables. We’ll have panels that hang mid-ceiling. We’re going to have more TVs, too, and make it a family-friendly place. [The Heights location] is going to be the main store that guides how we go forward with the concept.” In terms of capacity, he thinks the dining room will accommodate 65 diners and the patio will seat 30.
Another feature of the Heights location is a full-fledged espresso and coffee program. McPherson is working with Matthew Toomey of Boomtown Coffee to develop it and train key Krisp staff members on how to make great espresso drinks with a “gorgeous Italian espresso machine that we’re going to put on the back counter.”
McPherson hopes to be able to offer beer and wine soon after opening. “If we’re going to have brunch, we have to have sparkling wine,” he said. (Until then, though, customers are welcome to BYOB.) Sparkling wine isn’t his favorite drink to go with fried chicken, though. McPherson actually prefers tshe interplay of the salty fried crust with a cold, sweet shake. To that end: the gelato selection will be expanded as well. That means that Krisp Bird & Batter will offer an expanded selection of ice cream sandwiches (hot waffles serve as the “bread”) and gelato milkshakes.
Perhaps the biggest new addition, though, is breakfast service. The planned offerings include three or four kinds of breakfast sandwiches and a few entrées which are still in the research and development phase. McPherson plans to use pasteurized farm eggs from Austin. “I made a chicken sandwich with a fried egg and avocado on a waffle and it was insanely good,” he said. “I’m going to be doing legit buttermilk biscuits with White Lily flour—just staying true to quality ingredients.” By the way: both grilled and fried chicken options are available.
Does he have any concerns about the sudden influx of restaurants (and, therefore, competition) into the Heights? “When we signed the lease in February, much of that wasn’t yet announced,” he said. “I don’t see anyone doing what we’re doing, though. No one is offering chicken sandwiches. I mean, maybe Lee Ellis [of Lee’s Fried Chicken & Donuts]. They’re great people, but they’re doing chicken strips and we’re not focused on that. We’re focused on the high quality of the chicken.”
Editor’s note: To be fair, the menu of Lee’s Fried Chicken & Donuts says the chicken tenders are antibiotic-, growth stimulant- and hormone-free, as well as American Humane Certified—so also high quality.
In fact, Krisp Bird & Batter’s origins lie in McPherson wanting to serve food where each ingredient was not only high quality but had an identifiable source. “Chipotle was one of the first fast food restaurants to say, ‘Hey, we know exactly where all of our food comes from.’ It’s a shame about some of the [food borne illness] scares that they’ve had. Shake Shake is another great one. ‘Hey, we’re going to give you phenomenal-quality cheeseburgers. We’re higher end.’”
McPherson is planning for overall service upgrades as well. “I don’t want to be one of these places with long lines that are slow getting people through, so I’m going to have a system where we can take orders at the counter and in line to really speed everything through. People can also call in to-go and just grab their order.” Alternately, the restaurant will also have a grab-and-go case of chicken wraps, two different salads, Mexican Coke, “real” Dr Pepper, tea and more for those in a huge rush.
There are some Internet features in the works as well. In addition to online ordering, customers will be able to register for the “Krisp Bills” online loyalty program, check balances, order gift cards and send gift cards to friends and family. McPherson says that for the winter holiday season, Krisp Bird & Batter will have a 20-percent off gift card promotion. So, if someone buys five $20 gift cards as gifts, they’d get an extra to keep or to also giveaway.
Krisp Bird & Batter in the Heights is expected to open in mid-September.