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Fast Casual Fried Chicken Joint Birdies Roosting Soon in Downtown

Inside the short-lived Mabel's in South Park

Birdies, Downtown
Birdies, Downtown
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Casual chicken and waffle joint Mabel’s failed to last the year in Downtown, with news today that chef/owner Jason Harley has reconcepted the Olympic Boulevard restaurant space into a Birdies, a fast casual eatery with big plans for the future.

Whereas Mabel’s was a lunch-focused fried chicken option for Downtowners looking to dine on the cheap, Birdies — not to be confused with the upcoming Highland Park project from the Horse Thief team — will act more like a coffee shop but with an expanded menu of options coming from the kitchen. There will still be fried chicken (and an all-important fried chicken sandwich) alongside other hearty options like chicken sloppy joes, but you can also expect doughnuts, Intelligentsia coffee, and a small selection of eclectic dishes.

What’s more, Harley and the IS Food Group he co-founded with Keith Bae say they're interested in taking Birdies to a national level, and quick. There are plans so far to expand within Los Angeles and reach New York City by the end of the year, if all goes well. Harley and his team also want to try something called the Chef Incubator Lab, which will let younger kitchen talent work with Harley to bring rotating dishes to the menu. And if all goes well, Harley says, those same staffers could go on to jump in the drivers seat of their own locations down the line.

Birdies officially opens in the former Mabel’s space on Olympic Boulevard this coming Saturday, working all-day weekday hours from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights, there are plans as of now to run around the clock — which would certainly help to liven up the 2 a.m. post-bar scene in Downtown (and keep people from squeezing into The Original Pantry at all hours of the night). That will come in especially handy once Mikkeller Bar opens their world class taproom right next door sometime in 2017.

314 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA