Birdcall

Birdcall CEO Peter Newlin 

Birdcall opens Monday, March 22 at 6510 Tutt Blvd. 
 
It's the regional chain's first Colorado Springs location, building off three existing Denver locations (including one inside a Whole Foods, which speaks to the "100 percent all-natural" element, down to touches like Tractor sodas.). More locations are soon to follow. 
 
I attended a media preview ahead of the opening and found the outfit quite impressive overall. Really slick and enjoyable. 
Birdcall

The Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich 

I'll elaborate more on this point later when I re-visit for a formal review, but it may not be too superlative to say that the way Birdcall has built their newest location could revolutionize the fast food model for a new era in the way McDonald's did back in the day. "We're calling this Birdcall 2.0," says CEO Peter Newlin, speaking to the extensive IT element, which includes touchscreen order kiosks in the entryway, contactless curbside service and several streamlined systems in the kitchen. (Just in time for the Covid era.)
Birdcall

Murals by The Worst Crew (Jaime Molina & Pedro Barrios)

The location leads with stylish architecture, complete with sweeping curves at all focal points. The beautiful murals were done by The Worst Crew (Jaime Molina & Pedro Barrios). I could say a lot more, but perhaps one detail speaks widely to how much thought has gone into the space and how different it is from any other fast food: There's damn throw pillows on the curvy white tiled patio benches as if it's someone's living room. (Careful with your Sir Kensington's Ketchup packets kids ... oh, yeah ... even the ketchup packets are better-than, from gourmet brand Sir Kensington's. What!?)  
Our limited sampling was excellent. The Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich is truly a scorcher, and a delight with a mango habanero margarita. Breckenridge Brewery makes an exclusive IPA for Birdcall. And there's gluten- and dairy-free options, with dedicated deep fryers for allergen sensitivity. 
 
There's also a much appreciated socially conscious vibe. They give 1 percent back. And they offer recycling and compost toward a zero waste mission. (Why don't more places take the time and effort?) During the pandemic, parent company Gastamo Group launched Fuel Hope Kitchen, and they are nearing 200,000 meals provided to frontline health care workers.
 
I chatted for a while with COO Anthony Valletta (who worked for Michelin-starred chef Michael Mina in San Francisco prior). Both he and Newlin are sincere and committed to community and sustainability, focused on sourcing local in whatever markets they grow in, as much as possible. "We must stand for something," Valletta says.
 
I might add that they're going to have to (cock-) fight for something too, considering they're taking on a Chick-fil-A location just across the street. Valletta points to their better ingredients (no MSG, etc.) as an advantage, as well as the social-impact aspect that sets them apart. As it says on part of their menu packaging: “Do Good By Eating Well.” 
 
I'm looking forward to the next time I do. 

Food & Drink Editor

Matthew Schniper is the Food and Drink Editor at the Colorado Springs Indy. He began freelancing with the Indy in mid-2004 and joined full-time in early 2006, contributing arts, food, environmental and feature writing.