I have a love affair with fried chicken. I really do. Crispy, crunchy, protein goodness. When I first heard about The Dirty Bird Chicken + Waffles, it was accompanied by a choir of angels singing, as clouds parted to let beams of light shine through.

Ok, dramatics aside, I’ve been wanting to try The Dirty Bird since they opened in March this year. But despite many brunch and dinner attempts, I never did make it. So when I caught wind of a pop up headed to The Bay at Eaton Centre, my calendar was marked for the big event, with a reminder to depart early and beat the FiDi lunchtime crowd.

Clearly, everyone else had the same idea.

The Dirty Bird

The Dirty BirdDespite getting there early, there was already a long line up of eager customers and to-go boxes furiously being packed behind the counter. I finally got my chance to order after waiting 30 minutes. Yes, I waited 30 minutes to order fried chicken.

My choice was the Up North Trip (3Pc Bone-In, Waffles, Buttered Maple and a Potato Salad), priced at a decent $14. Like an efficient assembly line, my meal was packaged, sealed and delivered into my outstretched, longing hands.

Sadly, my giddy excitement was short-lived. The chicken tasted unseasoned, with the breaded coating a little too crispy and over-fried for my liking, and the waffles seemed a little too chewy. The potato salad provided some redemption from an otherwise bland meal. Overall, while it wasn’t all that bad, it wasn’t so great either.

The Dirty Bird The Dirty Bird

Although it shouldn’t be an excuse, I’m going to attribute this unsatisfactory meal to the fact that it was served at a pop up, and perhaps was not a representation of the freshly-made fare one might enjoy at the actual restaurant … even though it really should be. Given the mixed reviews I’ve read, it would seem only fair to trek down to Kensington Market and give them one more shot … if for nothing else but for the love of fried chicken.

Everyone deserves a second chance.


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