Bird’s, a fast-casual chicken restaurant and tavern on north Main Avenue in Durango, has closed for good after being in business for nearly three years.
The owners blamed the closing on the pandemic and a tight labor market.
“It might have had a better chance had we not entered a pandemic,” said Kris Oyler, CEO of Peak Food & Beverage, which owns the restaurant. “… We opened in 2019 when labor was already tight, and then the pandemic made that even more difficult. So we really had a hard time staffing that restaurant.”
Peak also owns Steamworks Brewing Co. and El Moro Spirits and Tavern in Durango. Late last year, Peak acquired Homeslice Pizza restaurants, which includes three locations in Durango: 441 E. College Drive, 2915 Main Ave. and 125 Mercado St. in Three Springs.
Oyler said the Homeslice location on north Main Avenue will move to the former Bird’s location at 2957 Main Ave. by the end of summer.
He said the Bird’s location has about 25 parking spots, a significantly bigger kitchen and a larger dining area than the existing Homeslice location.
Additionally, Homeslice has a better profit model, he said, including as it relates to cost of goods and attracting employees.
“We’re going to have to do some remodeling, but it’s going to take a few months,” Oyler said. “We’re hoping by late summer that we can get the move made and open up in that location.
“It’s going be some interior tweaks to the bar, the dining room and move over a lot of skis and snowboards and make it look like Homeslice,” he said. “We’ll do a little work in the kitchen. We won’t need a chicken rotisserie anymore. We’ll need another pizza oven.”
The existing Homeslice property, which is only two doors from Bird’s, will probably be leased, he said.
Bird’s opened about May 2019 in the same location where KFC had been located since 1994. The KFC was shuttered for a while before Peak bought the property and built Bird’s.
All employees at Bird’s were offered jobs at Peak’s other restaurants, Oyler said. A majority of the employees took the offer.
“We got some in all three restaurants,” he said. “Some went to Steamworks, some went to El Moro and some went to Homeslice.”
Bird’s last day was March 28.