Freebird Rocks American Comfort Food With a Southern Flair

Sometimes, naming a business can be hard. But there was never any question about what to call this Mamaroneck Avenue restaurant.

Free Bird is one of my favorite rock songs—and my sister has a tattoo of it—so when we were choosing a name, that had to be it,” says Nick Fusco, owner of freebird kitchen and bar. With two decades of experience in the restaurant business, this establishment is truly a family-run operation—and they’re celebrating their first anniversary this month. Fusco, and his wife, his sister, and his father and stepmother all work together to make freebird a warm and friendly gathering place. And, when it came time to create a menu, their decision to offer American comfort food with a twist was also a perfect fit.

 

A Downright Delicious Menu, Served Up Southern Style

“We didn’t want to be just another bar on Mamaroneck Avenue, so decided to try something a little different with our focus on American comfort food with a southern flair. At freebird, people have fun, enjoy a delicious meal and a signature cocktail, and have an experience they wouldn’t get anywhere else in the area,” Fusco says. Executive Chef Maurice Hurley, who previously worked at Le Bernardin, Valbella and as banquet chef for Anthony Bourdain at Supper Club, recently joined the freebird team.

“Chicken & Waffles is definitely our best selling dish. We use free range, antibiotic-free chickens, and brine them overnight. It’s pretty simple to make, but hard to make it good,” says Fusco, especially if you don’t have a deep fryer at home. The chicken is accompanied by a classic buttermilk waffle, spiced maple syrup and watermelon, and comes in either Original or Nashville Style.

Other popular menu favorites include shrimp & grits, crab cakes, fried green tomatoes, Prime NY strip steak, freebird burgers and their newest additions to the farm fresh menu, Berkshire Pork Chop and Hudson Valley Pan Roasted Duck.

 

Friendly Ambience, Signature Smoked Cocktails and an Enticing Brunch

Weekend brunches on Saturday and Sunday at freebird are delicious, fun and habit-forming. The brunch menu features comfort staples like Chicken & Gravy, Crab Cake Benedict, Steak & Eggs, plus bottomless brunch cocktails ($18) such as mimosas, bellinis, wine and bloody marys. freebird easily accommodates large brunch groups, so plan to meet your friends and family there to celebrate the arrival of the weekend.

freebird boasts one of the largest selections of bourbon in the area, as well as 28 craft beers on tap. Their cocktail menu is constantly evolving, and their signature house smoked and barrel aged cocktails are delicious and distinctive. “Our biggest seller is the ‘Smokin Maple Bacon’ made with Hudson baby bourbon, sweet vermouth, and maple bacon syrup, then smoked with hickory,” says Fusco. “Smoking really enhances the characteristics of the cocktail by releasing new aromatic compounds while masking others.”

 

Music, Private Parties and It’s Never Too Early to Plan for NYE!

Live music is part of the mix, of course, since freebird was inspired by one of the most recognizable and popular rock songs ever written. There’s acoustic music on Thursdays from 8 to 11 p.m. or so, and they will offer live bands in the near future. “We decided to have live music versus DJs,” Fusco explains. “But, unlike the other establishments on Mamaroneck Avenue, freebird offers its clientele incredible food, and an upscale and friendly atmosphere that’s warm, comfortable and inviting. Whether you come for a special dinner date or a casual evening out with a few friends, you’ll have a great time and be able to carry on a conversation. When you come here, you’re going to want to stay.”

freebird is designed to easily accommodate reservations of up to 15 people. Larger parties of 12-140 are hosted in event spaces including the rooftop, which is outfitted with a full bar, or in the restaurant’s semi private back room. For those really big special events, you can book the entire restaurant.

Be on the lookout for details about New Year’s Eve. Fusco is planning “something special” and there will likely be two seatings for dinner, with a midnight seating at 9:30 p.m.

Tasty meals and a warm, welcoming Southern charm and hospitality are hallmarks at “this bird you can not change,” as Lynyrd Skynyrd sang. freebird is celebrating its first anniversary this month. Once you pull up a stool at the bar for a smoky cocktail or sit yourself down for a plate of their famous Chicken & Waffles, you’ll remember freebird kitchen and bar—and you’ll be back.

 


freebird fried chicken recipe

 

Chicken Brine
2 lemons, sliced
1/2 bunch flat-leaf (Italian) parsley (2 oz.)
1/2 bunch thyme (1/2 oz.)
1/4 cup honey
6 cloves of garlic, halved
2 Tbsp. black peppercorns
3/4 cup kosher salt
1 gallon water

 

Chicken Flour
3 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups cornstarch
1 1/4 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/4 Tbsp. ground black pepper
1/4 Tbsp. paprika
pinch of dried thyme

 

Method:

· Combine all ingredients and whisk well to make sure everything is evenly distributed.
· Store airtight.

 

Chicken Soak

1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk
1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk
2 Large Eggs
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1/2 tsp. Paprika

 

Method:

· Combine all ingredients and whisk well to make sure everything is evenly distributed.
· Store airtight.

 

USE 3 LBS OF CHICKEN, ANY PIECES YOU PREFER.

 

RECIPE PREPARATION

· Soak chicken 10 hours in Chicken Brine in fridge

· Remove chicken from Brine, rinse, and pat dry. 

· Toss chicken with black pepper and 2 Tbsp. salt in a large bowl. Cover and chill at least 3 hours.

· Fit a Dutch oven with thermometer; pour in oil to measure 2 inches. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 325°. Pat chicken dry. Working with one piece at a time, dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess, then dip in buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Dredge again in flour mixture and place on a baking sheet.

· Working in 4 batches and returning oil to 325° between batches, fry chicken, turning occasionally, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of pieces registers 160° for white meat and 165° for dark (about 15–18 minutes). Transfer to a clean wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Let oil cool slightly.

 


freebird kitchen and bar

161 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601
Phone: (914) 607-2476
Website: https://www.freebirdkitchenandbar.com

Kitchen Hours:
Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday (11:45 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.)
Thursday & Friday (11:45 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.)
Saturday (11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.)
Sunday (11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.)