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Open for Business: Purbird, 82 Sixth Avenue

Purbird, the restaurant that can best be described as "chicken-centric," opened last night on the highly visible corner of Sixth Avenue and St. Marks Avenue, just off Flatbush.

Run by the husband and wife duo of Peter and Christina Lekkas, who also run Greek restaurant Elia in Bay Ridge, the restaurant, which was eight years in the making, was insipired by Christina's inability to find a decent grilled chicken.

"With rotisserie chicken, the breast is usually dried out, and you need to eat it at exactly the right time," she said. "We brine it so it stays juicy, de-bone it, and then flame-grill it flat so it cooks evenly."

The all-natural, free-range chicken ($8.95 for half) comes from Wellington Farms, and as the centerpiece of the menu, it's juicy and flavorful, and finished with a little olive oil, lemon, and oregano.

Joining the chicken on the brief menu are a chicken thigh wrap ($6.25), chicken burger (which goes very well with the zucchini raita), $5.50, chicken sausage ($5.75), and an empanada-style "chicken pie" ($4), filled with creamy chicken pot pie filling.

There's also a large variety of creative homemade sauces like chipotle, roasted lemon and parsley, and quince chutney, a few salads, sides including jalapeno mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, creamed spinach, and (very good) fries. Ice cream comes from Blue Marble, and bread is from Staten Island-based Royal Crown Bakery.

It's not a waiter-service restaurant; you order at the counter, and if you're dining in you can grab a seat at one of the 30 indoor or 20 outdoor seats. It's a casual place, the owners are friendly and willing to chat, and you can tell that they're very excited about what they've created (and they understand what brought down the space's predecessor, Helios; Peter was involved when it opened but left after becoming unhappy with the way it was run).

With such a small, focused menu, it's clear that the Lekkas ascribe to the "do one thing and do it well" philosophy. When you realize that the closest competition was the now-closed, mediocre Chickadee Chick, it becomes apparent that food of this quality, while simple, is a major step up, and a continuation of the foodie-centric movement that's swept the neighborhood in the past year.

Hours: Mon-Thu: 12 PM - 9 PM, Fri-Sat: 12 PM - 10 PM, Sun 11 AM- 8 PM. Delivery will begin in two weeks.

Purbird Brooklyn, 82 Sixth Avenue Brooklyn NY 11217. Phone: 718-857-2473.

Reader Comments (19)

Sounds good, BUT the hours are TERRIBLE.

You're closing at 9pm for dinner on a weeknight???? What, is this Tampa, Florida? People don't get home from work in this neighborhood till 7,8, 9 pm sometimes. And 10pm on the weekend? Really, so you're not going to take advantage of the fact that the area around you is exploding with nightlife options associated with the arena a block away and you're going to be closed before events/games even let out?

I mean, I'll try it. If I can get there before 9pm.

I guess you're hoping people will come walk over here, realize it's closed and then walk directly across the street to Cubana Cafe, which is open till 11pm like most normal restaurants are. And has pretty okay chicken, I might add. If not, there's always Flatbush Farm across the street too...also serving dinner till 11pm on weeknights and midnight on weekends.

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterparkslopefoodie

It's take-out chicken. Relax.

The problem that plagued Helios was the problem that plagues Piquant. An owner who never leaves the restaurant, watches over everyone like a hawk, and wants to change things up every five minutes while doing nothing for the actual quality of the place. Despite doing some things well, I had given up on Helios long ago. Glad to see Purbird, and I know where I'm having lunch today. This and Bareburger could become GREAT lunch options.

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJorge

10 is pretty early for a weekend. They should be open until at least 11:30 on a weekend, at minimum. Anyway, hope this place is good, i love chicken!

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterParkSlopePerson

9 is a bit early, but that chicken looks great and the prices are reasonable. Should make a nice delivery option.

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJustin

The owners made it pretty clear that hours weren't set in stone, and will change in response to the community's needs.

August 2, 2011 | Registered CommenterHere's Park Slope

That's cool. But if the hours are posted and people don't know that (why would they?) they just won't go if it's past 9pm. Or if they go once at 9:15 and it's closed, they aren't going to be coming back especially when this is not on either 5th or 7th Avenue. It's a place you need to seek out since it doesn't have a lot of food traffic. So when people finally seek it out and realize that it's closed before American Idol is over, I think they'll need to expand those hours up front. Just my personal opinion as OF COURSE I would like to see them do well. But the location is a B-C location, so they need to step up their game.

I appreciate their willingness to change up the hours, but honestly the ones they currently have are ludicrous for anything outside a retirement community.

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterparkslopefoodie

While I agree that the hours are bad, they are not ludicrous for anything outside of a retirement community!

There are tons of families in the neighborhood where at least one parent gets home by 7pm easily. They could get here by 9 no problem. I understand the younger singles might not eat or get home until later, but, the families eat earlier and will help to keep this place alive. But, they do need to extend their weekend hours, even families and us married fol are out later than that!

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterParkSlopePerson

PSP, I was just trying to be funny.

But it's the single people who keep the restaurants alive in Park Slope. People with kids cook MOST of their meals while singles eat MOST of their meals out. Would you agree that this is a pretty true statement? It is based on my experience.

This is a reason why so many Park Slope restaurants have failed or are mediocre. They fail to realize that many people move to Park Slope from Manhattan, have a bigger place with a bigger kitchen and cook A TON. Look at all the great grocery and specialty food stores Park Slope has. They are catering to the home cook, which is HUGE in Park Slope.

Places like Bark and Bogota and Thistle Hill Tavern have realized what it takes to appeal to the singles of the neighborhood (of which there are more than married people if you look at the demographics) and these are the restaurants which thrive.

The ones which cater to families end up going down the tubes, for the most part. Look at that god awful PS Brooklyn place on Union Street for example #1.

It's not a good or bad thing, it's just that singles have more disposable income for eating out. Look at Wililamsburg....they have a ton of great restaurants because of all the single people who live there. If Park Slope business people realized that there are more singles in the neighborhood than they think, they'd have more luck, I think. But they fall into the trap of thinking that everything in Park Slope has to be family centric. It isn't true, and actually families tend not to eat out so often so they are catering to people who aren't even the big spenders when it comes to dining out. And THAT is why Park Slope has so many mediocre restaurants, in my opinion.

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterparkslopefoodie

And here is my "proof." The latest demographic information for zip code 11217 where this restaurant is located...

Households With Children 3252
Households Without Children 12297

And here is the info for 11215, the bulk of Park Slope. Pretty shocking, no?

Households With Children 6602
Households Without Children 21477

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterparkslopefoodie

Food was absolutly fantastic. I'm sure if the business warrents it, they will adjust hours. Loved the homemade sauces. Nice to get fries done riight. I had the half chicken and wife had the burger....I'lll be back for sure.

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTim C

Was planning on checking this place out tonight, but can't make it before 9pm on week nights. Oh well. Looks good, though.

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJCool

Read your demographics, I guess my friends with kids have older kids and they go out tons, as do I. We eat out every single week, try a new restaurant constantly as do most of our friends with kids. Of course, most of our friends with kids have kids above the age of 4. But, even as little children, we went out to eat, as did our friends.

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterParkSlopePerson

BTW, where did you get your stats?

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterParkSlopePerson

ummm maybe these people have families and kids they want to go home to??

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

Well, I actually had lunch at Purbird today. :)

Stopped in around 1:00 PM or so. Customers seemed mostly to be friends and supportive of the owners. Staff was incredibly friendly and were still doing things like perfecting the chicken pie recipe. Ordered a half-chicken and some whole wheat mac and cheese. The chicken is mostly boneless, which I found interesting. It will definitely look small when you first see it, but it, of course, was much easier to eat. I don't know what makes for "great" rotisserie chicken, but this was a very, very tasty piece of chicken. They have several sauces. I had the grape chutney, and one of the owners was nice enough to comp me the jalapeno sauce. Both complimented the chicken well. The mac and cheese was a very good portion and, honestly, I found it to be absolutely delicious.

I look forward to working my way through this menu. After one too many reboots of Helios (and the god-awful La Terraza that was there before), this spot deserves a popular restaurant. My gut feeling is that it will get one here.

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJorge

I got there at 8:15 or so last night and the place was hopping. I would expect them to adjust the hours if they need to. In any event, I had the whole chicken and a side of jalapeno mashed potatoes. In a word, it was all awesome. It is hard to get too excited for chicken, but these people do it right. Staff was also very nice and accommodating. I got some sauce on the house too. One note, this is not fast food grilled chicken, so be prepared to wait a few minutes.

August 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJim

this is the best chicken I've had in ages...I could eat here 3/4 night a week no problem...I had a chicken sausage for the heck of it and now that will be part of my regular repertoire....a short wait but well worth it ! Stop by, you won't regret it.

August 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterparkperson

The owners heard you, they have changed their hours already! Went over for lunch today, the chicken was excellent, and I had a salad that was to die for. Stop by, you will not regret it, the food is fantastic!

August 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterporko c

I had the chicken wrap- it was amazing! Juicy and tender and delicious!
Macaroni and cheese side was creamy and out of this world.

A lot of my colleagues order from here, and everyone loves it.
I will become a regular here- purbird is awesome!

August 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

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