Thursday, August 4 2022

It’s been a hectic few months for barbecue master Matt Horn, who launched a new burger pop-up and racked up back-to-back accolades, including the prestigious Michelin star for his restaurant Horn Barbecue. On Friday, Horn has more to celebrate with the opening of its second restaurant, Kowbird.

On opening day, Kowbird, a chicken-focused restaurant, will offer three fried chicken sandwiches – the Southern Bird, Hot Bird and Honey Bird – on its menu in addition to wings, chicken and waffles, homemade lemonade and tea. Eventually, he hopes to add his own beehive on site to produce honey that will be used for many of the foods listed.

Like Horn Barbecue’s, Kowbird’s menu is inspired by her grandmother’s home cooking. The candy apple featured on its dessert menu, for example, takes Horn back to his childhood.

Matt Horn’s new restaurant, Kowbird, opens January 14 in Oakland. Horn poses inside Kowbird.

Courtesy of Kowbird

“Candy apples remind me of my grandmother,” Horn told SFGATE. “I remember when I was a kid, I went to her house, and I was just tall enough to see the height of the table, and I always remembered those glowing candy apples. I wouldn’t be not the man I am today without the women in my life. I try to find ways to celebrate those who have provided me with a platform and a foundation.

Kowbird is launching its first brick-and-mortar two years after it first appeared in the Bay Area as a pop-up. At its inaugural event, Kowbird attracted some 200 customers ready to get their hands on one of the fried chicken sandwiches, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote (SFGATE and the San Francisco Chronicle are both owned by Hearst but operate independently of each other).

Matt Horn's new restaurant, Kowbird, opens January 14 in Oakland.

Matt Horn’s new restaurant, Kowbird, opens January 14 in Oakland.

Courtesy of Kowbird

The restaurant moved to 1733 Peralta Street, the former Pretty Lady restaurant, which closed last summer. Horn and his team kept some elements of the old restaurant, like its U-shaped counter and green tiles, but the space was revamped with interior murals that pay homage to black farmers in the South, and the facade of the building has been renovated with a shiny new coat of paint and larger windows.

Kowbird was originally due to open a kiosk in the Jack London Square food hall, which was intended to house a number of high-profile restaurants until the pandemic delayed its opening. Horn secured Kowbird’s new location last year, but shares he also handled the postponement of his own restaurant as he faced supply chain issues and delays with contractors .

Matt Horn's new restaurant, Kowbird, opens January 14 in Oakland.

Matt Horn’s new restaurant, Kowbird, opens January 14 in Oakland.

Courtesy of Kowbird

“We found challenges in terms of the clearance process and jumping through different hoops,” Horn explained. “A lot of these companies and suppliers are understaffed, … so it really played out. It might not be the perfect time to open, but I’m grateful when it happened because it seemed smoother.

Horn is not new to facing obstacles when it comes to opening a restaurant. In 2020, setbacks in obtaining municipal permits for an indoor smoker pushed the opening of Horn Barbecue for months. But the headaches are now behind him, and as he plans to run two restaurant blocks one inside the other, Horn plans to split his time between the two ventures.


“Everything I did was barbecue and fire related, so being able to find another food that’s a classic brings me home,” Horn said. “Fried chicken is love, and it’s part of the soul of who we are.”

Matt Horn's new restaurant, Kowbird, opens January 14 in Oakland.

Matt Horn’s new restaurant, Kowbird, opens January 14 in Oakland.

Courtesy of Kowbird



Previous

Victor Cruz brings fast food chain Krystal to New Jersey

Next

Georgia Bulldogs QB Stetson Bennett surprises customers at Raising Cane's chicken restaurant

Check Also