Takeout chicken is an elevated culinary experience at Flybird in Delray Beach

This gem of a takeout joint, the creation of a former New York City chef who’s made appearances on the Food Network, serves up satisfying, flavorful poultry and comforting homemade sides.

Flybird’s exterior.


Throw out the cardboard take-out clamshells!  The food from Flybird Chargrilled Chicken in Delray Beach belongs on fine china.

Yes, it’s that good. The chicken, fresh off the charcoal grill, and the house-prepared comfort-food sides easily could have come from a fine-dining establishment. But they’re the product of what is primarily a takeout joint with but a handful of seats. It’s the kind of dining establishment that’s perfect for current times.

Located in a strip center, around the corner from Fresh Market on Federal Highway and Linton Boulevard and opposite Trader Joe’s, Flybird is not your ordinary takeaway.  Open since mid-2019, Flybird is the creation of Michael Salmon, a veteran New York City chef who has appeared on .several Food Network showa.

House made chips, front, Chef Michael Salmon, rear, overseeing the kitchen.

A happy dining experience begins the moment you enter Salmon’s tiny establishment. You’re quickly greeted by a pair of perky, welcoming young women at the counter. Don’t be surprised if they tell you right off the bat that your food may not be ready for 45 minutes. Of course, that means your food hasn’t been sitting around waiting to be packed. (Better to call in your order in advance if you’re not planning to dine there.) In the meantime, accept a handful of the addictive, crunchy, house-made potato chips that fill a tray behind the counter and watch Salmon oversee the operation. To my surprise he was there on a recent holiday weekend.

Salmon’s juicy, spatch-cooked (split open) chicken is crisp and smoky on the outside and tender inside. There’s no comparison to the grocery store rotisserie birds. It comes with a naan-like grilled flatbread (alas overly charred in our order), roasted garlic grilled lemon and a spicy green cilantro sauce.

Crispy Flybird sandwich.

A fried chicken sandwich, called the Crunchy Frybird ($13.95), is said to be a top seller. It is indeed crunchy outside, yet tender inside, and given a spicy kick with a shmear of chipotle mayo. It’s sandwiched in a potato roll with some pickle slices and a dollop of coleslaw. Way better than the spicy chicken sandwiches from a New Orleans style fast-food chain that caused a nationwide frenzy among diners when they hit the market.

Salmon’s chickens are free-range, vegan-fed birds that are dry-brined for 24 hours before they hit the grill fired with oak, hickory and apple wood, along with mesquite charcoal. The chicken is available in quarter ($12.50), half ($17.95) and whole birds ($34.95). Side dishes start at $5.95, some have an upcharge when ordered with a meal.

Interior dining

For those who chose to dine in the small, comfy dining area, there’s a selection of soft-drinks, craft beers and a handful of wines. There also are takeout pints of upscale ice cream from Delray’s Proper Ice Cream.

Alas, we haven’t tried Flybird’s house-made soups, pot pies and desserts that others have raved about. But those provide plenty of reasons for future visits.

In any case, Flybird’s elevated takeout culinary creations are fresh, satisfying and well worth the wait and the money.

Flybird Chargrilled Chicken

335 E. Linton Blvd. # B-13, Delray Beach, FL 33483

(561) 243-1111

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