Days after The Pot’s transformation into neighbourhood pasta bar, Nido, Simon Kardachi and Adam Liston have acquired the digs three doors down for an entirely different concept.
Come August, the large corner site (formerly Greek restaurant, Zoe’s) will become Joybird, a “next-level” charcoal-chicken shop.
Liston has built a career on grilling skewered chook over fire, first at Melbourne’s Northern Light Yakitori Bar before energising Adelaide’s dining scene with Shobosho and it’s tiny spin-off, Sho. But this project is particularly close to home.
“When I grew up my parents would buy takeaway once a week and often they would choose to go to a chicken shop to buy a chicken and then make a salad [at home] or they’d buy chicken and chips and steam some vegetables – because it was a semi-guilt-free option, as opposed to going and buying a pizza or burger,” says Liston. Now, he takes his daughter to the local chook shop on the regular.
He wants to recreate that tradition with Joybird – though he’s throwing in a few healthy options so you won’t have to DIY. “A lot of people in that area are time-poor, like I am,” he says. “I live [close by] and the options for takeaway or casual food that’s not super expensive are pretty limited. We wanted to do a place that you can sit in and dine at or rock up and buy a chicken [to go].”
It’s your local suburban chicken shop, tricked up. Studio-Gram (who worked on Shobosho and several of Kardachi’s venues) will kit out the 120-seater venue. In the kitchen, a $45,000 custom grill will cook the birds Portuguese-style: butterflied (“We open them up so they cook quicker and it brings in more flavour,” says Liston) and grilled in baskets over coals.
“We’re trying to do a lot of the things we do at Shobosho but at a more accessible level,” says Liston. “So we’ve engaged the guys who built our kitchen for Shobosho to design our new grill … there’s a holding oven in it that has steam that allows the chicken to stay moist.”
You’ll be able to choose from three types of seasoning – dry spice, honey soy, and a “Balinese-style curry” – and sides such as chicken-fat-roasted potatoes and barbequed-corn salad. He’ll also serve sandwiches cooked over fire. “We’re trying to recreate the yiros in a way,” says Liston. “I’ve always said yiros are the best fucking things in the world.
“There will be some fried food but the bulk of what’s on the menu is cooked over fire, with a bunch of really good, funky sides with influences from parts of Asia, the Middle East, Australia – all the things we grew up eating as kids but with a focus on it being healthy.”
It's a concept Liston and Kardachi plan to take far; they want to open several shops in Adelaide, interstate and overseas. “One of the things we saw [travelling] in Singapore and Hong Kong and Japan, even Kazakhstan, the thing that is so common in the world is chicken. Everyone eats it, no matter where you’re from.”
Joybird is expected to open in August.