BIRDCODE plans Canton location
By John Fitts
CANTON – BIRDCODE, a restaurant specializing in Nashville hot chicken, is planning to open on Route 44 in Canton.
The restaurant, which features a current location in West Hartford, one under development in Darien, and a few others in the works, announced its plans on social media recently to open on a pad site at 101 Albany Turnpike in front of the ALDI location that opened in the fall of 2020. While plans for a Popeye’s at the pad site were well developed earlier this year, its representatives never signed a final lease for the location. BIRDCODE, however, has done so.
“We’re excited to have them there,” said Rich Brownstein, managing partner for property owner, Canton Realty, LLC. Brownstein praised the company for its casual atmosphere, quality, and local roots.
BIRDCODE owners Phil and Brandi Killoran live in the Farmington Valley and formerly owned the Canton Ben and Jerry’s for 10 years.
Phil Killoran said the restaurant is a passion project and follows a “fast, casual concept” that focuses on quality food made from scratch and a positive culture for its team members.
“We’re scratch made, southern cuisine – limited menu specifically designed for us to be able to make what we make well rather than having too many items on the menu,” he said.
The restaurant offers a culinary style known as Nashville hot chicken and draws heavily on scaled recipes from the family of Brandi Killoran, who grew up in the South. Offerings are also inspired by the couple’s trip to Nashville and other locales prior to opening the first location on Park Road in West Hartford in November of 2020.
The restaurant web site notes that the style generally consists of “chicken that's been breaded, fried and liberally seasoned with a signature blend of spices. But be warned, it's called HOT for a reason!” Less adventurous diners, however, should note that menu items come with a “choice of heat." Those range from Country – which is essentially none – to “Code Breaker,” which comes with ample warning to “eat at your own risk.”
The menu includes boneless thigh and boneless breast Sandos (Sandwiches) and tenders in a variety of combinations such as over a bed of fries, a base of kale, shaved carrots and cabbage greens or even in a taco style or with mac and cheese. Sides and sauces also have a southern flavor. The food is cooked in 100 percent refined peanut oil.
The Canton location, with a “double drive-thru” will be 2,600 square feet and seat 35 people inside. Phil Killoran said they are also talking to the town about the possibility of adding an outdoor patio. Owners expect to employ approximately 60 people at the Canton location.
He added that the business works hard to source as much locally as possible, including produce, beer, uniforms and construction. Ingredients are also responsibly sourced, owners said.
While BIRDCODE is planning a total of five new locations, Canton is certainly special for the couple as it’s close to home and the location of past business ventures.
“We’re looking for locations in areas that we’ve already built-up equity in those communities from a sense of people know who we are,” Phil Killoran said. “They look at our business and know they can trust the food that’s coming across the counter and the service is going to be on point, so we try to focus on that,” he said. “Canton, fortunately became available.”
We wanted to basically bring it home,” he added. “We wanted to build a location that was close to where we live in the community we love.”
He expects the Canton location, if all goes well, will be open by the end of the first quarter in 2023.