Dirty Bird, Wimpy & Fritz open doors at new locations
Two new eateries are up and running in Ogden’s Riverbend area, offering up, between them, fried chicken sandwiches and tacos.
Dirty Bird Fried Chxx formally opened its doors late Friday morning to a line of waiting customers, and the creative force behind the locale, Salt Lake City-based restaurateur Michael McHenry, foresees more outlets across Utah and throughout the southwestern United States. Dirty Bird started in Provo and the Ogden outlet is the second.
The new majority owners, McHenry said, “plan to take Dirty Bird to the moon and that’s exactly what I envisioned.” Wags Capital acquired a majority stake in Dirty Bird and the entity plans to open 30 new locales over the next 12 to 14 months, starting in Farmington, Riverton, Orem and the Sandy/Draper area, according to McHenry.
More immediately, he lauded Ogden as a good fit for the “Nashville-inspired” fried chicken sandwiches that are Dirty Bird’s staple. A long line of customers gathered for Friday’s grand opening in Ogden and McHenry handed out swag to them.
“What we love most about Ogden is the passion Ogden has for Ogden. Ogden loves Ogden and we love Ogden,” McHenry told the crowd.
Wimpy & Fritz, the popular Ogden taqueria that has operated out of a truck and The Yes Hell bar, was also to open Friday just next door to Dirty Bird in the the 300 block of Park Boulevard. The two restaurants share a building just south of Ogden River Brewing, within a complex of town homes taking shape to the west and, eventually, to the north. The city dubs the zone the Riverbend area and it encompasses about 60 acres in all west of Washington Boulevard, north and south of Park Boulevard.
“Today is the day peeps!!!!!!!” said a post Friday on the Wimpy & Fritz Facebook page. “Much love!! Join us tonight it’s going to be RAD!!!!” The Standard-Examiner on Friday couldn’t immediately get hold of a rep from the restaurant.
Dirty Bird launched its first locale just 22 months ago in Provo and the deal with Wags Capital represents a big jump forward for the business. Wags plans to invest $20 million in expanding the restaurant, turning it, essentially, into a chain. Seven new future locations are “under lease with several others in early negotiations, paving the way for continued growth of the country’s next breakout brand,” reads a Dirty Bird press release issued Wednesday.
McHenry pointed to the fairly basic food lineup at Dirty Bird — three versions of its chicken sandwich and four sides. “Simplicity is key to our success,” he said.
The McHenry Group, McHenry’s business, owns a range of “boutique” restaurants in Utah “and they’re all in growth,” McHenry said. His strategy in launching restaurants is to create brand awareness, paving the way for potential growth and expansion.
Dirty Bird in Ogden, McHenry said, will create 30 to 40 jobs.