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Lovebird was well known in the Parkdale neighbourhood for plant-based fried chicken bowls and sandwiches. The restaurant had to shutdown earlier this year due to the impacts of COVID-19––Lovebird’s business and sales dropped due to the reduced foot traffic on the streets. Jeff, the owner from Blissful Bird, shared that his business partnership at Lovebird fell apart due to COVID. His then business partner needed to focus his time and energy on his other businesses, which left Jeff with the responsibility of working 17-hour days by himself. That workload resulted in severe burnout, eventually developing a medical condition in the process. This prompted him to leave Lovebird and focus on starting a new venture.
Jeff wanted to create a menu that incorporated a plant-based alternative to fried chicken that individuals with gluten intolerances, celiac disease and even his own family members could enjoy––so it needed to be halal as well. His focus was on creating a simple menu that included a variety of ethnic flavours without overwhelming customers with too many choices. Jeff and his new partner have decided to keep the menu the same with some new additions like the Clucket Bucket and the Bao Chicky Bao Wows.
The inspiration for the dishes came from the love of foods he grew up eating. Classic fried chicken, chicken burgers and especially his mother's chicken curry. Jeff grew up in a Pakistani-Muslim home, which inspired him to introduce items like a 'chickun' coconut curry bowl and 'chickun' masala bowl.
His hopes are to recreate classic dishes not only for vegans and vegetarians to enjoy, but for meat eaters who could find a suitable alternative to animal protein without sacrificing quality and taste. Jeff himself decided to go plant-based a few years back for improving his health, quality of life and for the ethical treatment of animals.
The main thing he knew he would miss is fried chicken, so he did a lot of research and recipe testing to create a gluten-free, vegan version of fried chicken that did not skip out on the taste and texture. He shared his creation with colleagues and different yoga studios across Toronto, where he was met with a positive response.
Blissful Bird will be operating out of the Snakes and Lattes kitchen at 489 College Street starting this Friday.