Photo by Sarah Moore
It’s a mean world out there, people. Sometimes it's mean enough to warrant eating an entire bucket of fried chicken yourself. Fortunately, to help you on those days, there's Mean Bird food truck. Helmed by chef Mike Moore and his business partner/wife, Sarah, this new mobile establishment serving up fresh-'n'-fried food is ready to serve you a big ol' batch, with a slew of sides and sauces. Look for it on Jan. 2 at Ardent Craft Ales for its first official run featuring tasty vittles for both meat-eaters and vegans.
“We’re a fried chicken truck first, but we also make the Veggie Bird,” Mike notes of the truck's vegan fried chicken, which is battered with coconut milk. Mean Bird's fried chicken meals start at $6 for one piece with a side, a drink and one of their homemade dipping sauces, which include ranch, honey mustard, sweet chili, green goddess, curry coconut and more. Collards, Cajun red beans, slaw, pickled beets, potato wedges and biscuits are also on the menu. If you're having one of those mean days or you're willing to share, you can find buckets, too, at five pieces for $12, eight pieces for $16 and 12 pieces for $22. For vegans and vegetarians, for $2 more, there's the from-scratch Veggie Bird, made with vegetables, grains, herbs and seasonings. “Vegetarians can look forward to the full fried chicken experience: opening that paper bucket, pulling out a fried drumstick (dip into one of our vegan dipping sauces if you like), and then biting into a crispy coating to reveal amazing flavor and texture inside,” the Mean Bird website explains.
Mike and Sarah revved the engines on Mean Bird when their son was born last year. “We talked about having our own place for years," Sarah remembers. "Coming from Dot’s Back Inn and The Mill, we’ve both worked in neighborhood spots that cultivate regular business, which is something we want to keep doing. We had a kid and decided we had to get serious. The truck is an opportunity for Mike to concentrate on food, and for me to be in a position to handle the business side, and we don’t have to deal with front-of-house issues like other peoples’ schedules.”
The Moores were also close friends of Jazzbo’s Rollin’ Gumbo cart owner Jamie Dickerson, and his passing in 2011 also served as inspiration for Mean Bird. “The food there was incredible — he was my mentor,” Mike says. “Because he had a truck, I went into this knowing a little bit more about the business.”
The debut event at Ardent on Jan. 2 runs from 1 to 9 p.m., and after that, you can keep track of Mean Bird’s whereabouts on the truck's Facebook page. Weekday lunch and dinnertime will be spent at truck-friendly spots like office parks and breweries, and weekends will be reserved for events. For more info, check out meanbirdrva.com.