By: Shaina Wizov Contributing Writer
“Just feed me.”
Those three words, a simple request from Chef Michael Salmon’s friends who he’d cook for regularly throughout the years, are the inspiration behind his new restaurant in Delray Beach, FlyBird.
FlyBird is a casual eatery dedicated to serving all natural, antibiotic- and hormone-free chargrilled chicken that has been prepared with love on a custom-built wood and mesquite charcoal grill. A variety of homemade sides, the majority of which are vegan, are available to complement that crispy, flavorful chicken, creating the “perfect everyday meal” for customers.
Chef Michael has an extensive and award-winning culinary background. He has cooked at some of New York’s finest restaurants and for some of the most recognizable names. He was a finalist on The Next Food Network Star and 24 Hour Restaurant Challenge, cooked as a guest chef at the world famous James Beard House, and worked as the personal chef for New York’s mayor, Ed Koch, a time when he cooked for celebrities such as Uma Thurman, Jon Bon Jovi, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez, just to name a few.
So, why just serve chicken? When it comes to good chicken, there aren’t many options outside of fast food chains or supermarket rotisserie chicken. Chicken is sometimes seen as an afterthought; but here, it’s the star. It’s a simple, straightforward menu that people are really enjoying. “The centerpiece is the chicken, and then it’s all about the sides,” he explained. Crunchy cole slaw, creamy mashed potatoes, baked mac and cheese… It’s classic, home cooking that everyone knows and loves.
For those who might want something a little more hearty, Chef Michael offers a Chicken Pie which is essentially his version of a Shepherd’s Pie or Chicken Pot Pie. There’s also a Power Meal for those who are more health conscious, which consists of two chargrilled chicken breasts with a choice of chargrilled vegetables or tomato, romaine and herb salad. The Mexican Vacation Soup is inspired by Chef Michael’s travels to Mexico and the Greek Salad inspired by his travels to Greece. Everything is made from scratch, including the potato chips, sauces and the desserts. Mini pies and cookies are available, made fresh just about every day, and there is even a gluten-free, vegan option — the mango coconut tapioca pudding, using mangos fresh from Chef Michael’s own backyard.
Flybird is all about feel-good food in a feel-good atmosphere. The bright and welcoming decor features original artwork painted by Chef Michael’s wife, who is also the brains behind the aesthetics of the space. She designed the carpet with its little chicken feet design, and created the panels adorning the walls from brand new high-glass metal that she primed, painted and sanded down herself. She’s responsible for the look of the table and chairs as well. Chef Michael and his wife have collected chicken cookbooks from all over the world, which are displayed prominently in the restaurant. The menu board is simple. Chef Michael didn’t want anything digital in the restaurant. “I wanted to create a small, groovy environment where people can just unplug,” he said.
Walking into FlyBird feels like walking into someone’s kitchen. It feels like home. It’s for those times when you don’t feel like cooking, but you also don’t feel like going out to eat. It’s where you go during those in-between moments when you want a tasty, home cooked meal — but you don’t want to do the cooking yourself.
FlyBird is also available for catering — and not just for chicken! Want to add salmon to your catering order? No problem! Chef Michael is able to accommodate customer requests for off-site catering with ease.
FlyBird is located at 335 East Linton Boulevard, Delray Beach, FL 33483. It’s open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.