Chicken tenders & tots restaurant Birdguesa hatches in downtown Dallas
A restaurant concept that has been incubating for a very long time is finally going to hatch. It's a chicken restaurant: Called Birdguesa, it's a new concept from Jeff Sinelli, founder of the WhichWich sandwich chain, and will debut in downtown Dallas on May 5.
The restaurant is at 1408 Main St., right next door to the downtown location of WhichWich, in a space that used to be Sinelli's test kitchen.
According to Sinelli, it'll feature a simple menu, focused primarily on chicken tenders and tater tots.
Tenders and tots is not a wholly original combo — there was even a restaurant in Rochester, New York actually called "Tenders and Tots," now closed.
But Birdguesa features Sinelli's spin. He calls it a sibling to Burguesa, the Mexican burger chain he founded in 2009. This explains the rather labored name, Burguesa -> Birdguesa.
"It's the chicken sister of Burguesa, with a menu that's simply tenders and tots," he says.
Everything comes as a "box":
- chicken tenders box with tenders only
- sandwich box, featuring a sandwich with two tenders, and a side of tots
- queso box, featuring choice of queso with chips or queso with tots
Prices range from $8.19 for a box of three tenders to $11.99 for a box of six. The sandwich box is $8.49.
In addition to regular chicken tenders, they offer a vegan chicken tender option made with plant-based "chik'n" strips by Atlas Monroe, a California-based startup that appeared on Shark Tank. Jeff Sinelli has been a staunch supporter of having vegan options at his concepts including a black bean patty at his WhichWich chain.
Birdguesa's chicken incorporates elements of Nashville hot chicken, namely the fixation on varying heat levels with an over-the-top labeling system, which seems to be absolute catnip to the restaurateurs who dabble in these concepts.
Sinelli explained it thusly in an appearance on GCIA.
"It's a mashup where Nashville hot chicken meets Mexican chicken, with four rungs called 'Oh shit,'" Sinelli says. "That's Original, Spicy, Hot, and Tapout. In the Mexican wrestling world, there's a code among the luchadores where you indicate you're done by saying you tap out. It's the extreme."
A Mexican wrestler character is embedded into their packaging, and part of the whole schtick is a "tap out challenge."
"You start with original and climb our stepladder of spicy, hot, and tapout," he says.
The Mexican angle also made Cinco de Mayo the ideal opening date.
Chicken tenders and chicken sandwiches were well on their way to becoming one of the biggest trends in dining, even prior to the pandemic.
"Chicken is global, very universal," Sinelli says. "And this not [yet] being a national concept, it can be unique and let me put a little spin on it."