On Today’s episode of the Line, I welcome the co-owners of the Austin, Texas restaurant Birdie’s. Tracy and Arjav moved from NYC to Austin with the hope of building an equitable neighborhood restaurant. Birdie’s is a casual order-at-the-counter spot that serves elevated plates. Tracy, a Texas native, handles chef duties, and Arjav, who was born in New Delhi and grew up in Portland, handles the front-of-house and the wine list.
Together they wanted to create a restaurant for the long term both for themselves and their employees, so they built in things like healthcare, an equitable pay and tip model, and a winter and summer break when they shut down the restaurant for two weeks each season to provide a paid vacation for the entire team to recharge.
Among its accolades, Birdie’s has been named a best restaurant in Austin by Eater, and was chosen by the NYTimes in 2021 as one of the 50 most exciting restaurants in America.
On this episode of the Line, recorded in late 2021, we talk about how to build efficiency and maintain momentum while running a busy restaurant, creating a style and a vibe of a casual restaurant while coming from a higher-end background, keeping staff happy while maintaining your sanity as owners, and of course so much more.
Photo Courtesy of Mackenzie Smith Kelley.
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