Situated in a vintage storefront at the quiet end of Powder Springs Street, off Marietta Square, Two Birds Taphouse is a contemporary gastropub from actor Dan Byrd, his wife Lauren, and his parents, longtime Marietta residents Jeff and Rachel Byrd.
Since opening in 2016, Two Birds has grown in popularity, bolstered by a beer- and cocktail-driven bar menu, and an elevated food menu that ranges from wings and a grass-fed beef burger to pork schnitzel and wood-fired pizzas.
It has grown in size, too, as the Byrds expanded the dining room and kitchen by annexing a larger space next door, and added more outdoor seating.
But, in a familiar story, the pandemic caused the dining room to close for three months, and takeout service resumed just three weeks ago.
Last week, though, after hiring a professional cleaning company to sanitize the space, using a virus-destroying “dry fog” process, the bar and restaurant finally reopened for dine-in service.
“It’s kind of like opening all over again, because we were closed almost three months to the day,” Dan Byrd said. “We closed the dining room March 15, and we reopened it June 16. Little did we know it would be that long.”
In addition to the sanitizing, 50% of the seating was removed to comply with social distancing requirements. Staff is required to complete temperature and wellness checks before every shift, and wear masks at all times. Also, hand sanitizer is at every table, and disposable paper menus are used.
“We’re taking this whole thing super seriously,” Byrd said. “We’re not cowboys when it comes to this stuff. We’re trying to play by the rules, and, if we can, go above and beyond to make sure we’re doing the right things.”
With all that, though, seating guests at tables distanced 6 feet apart has proved to be the most difficult rule to implement. “We’re still at about 50% capacity now, from what we were when all this started,” Byrd said. “I’m not sure how that will evolve, or if it’s something that’s going to be in place for a while. It’s hard to make money, even when you’re firing on all cylinders and you’re packed, so, yeah, this presents a challenge. Where we’re at now couldn’t be a long-term solution.”
Rules or not, Byrd believes that Two Birds’ guests will decide what works for them, and what doesn’t work.
“People feeling comfortable is almost more important than the rules at this point,” he said. “Takeout was a good starting point to get us going again, but the environment is a big selling point here. People like hanging out. We have more of a bar ambiance than a restaurant ambiance. And, the buzzy, fun energy is one the coolest things about this place. You can’t have that doing takeout.”
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TWO BIRDS TAPHOUSE
Menu: salads, wings, sandwiches, grass-fed burger, bowls, pork schnitzel and wood-fired pizza; see current menus on website
What’s new: dining room recently reopened with full service
Alcohol: beer, wine and house-made shrubs for cocktails.
What I ordered: wedge salad with iceberg lettuce, blue cheese dressing and crumbles, chopped bacon and cherry tomatoes; flash-fried Springer Mountain Farms wings, tossed in spicy teriyaki sauce; wood-fired pizza, with smoky tomato sauce, house mozzarella, house Italian sausage and roasted red peppers. I chose items I thought would travel well, and they did. Reheating the pizza and wings on a sheet pan in a hot oven worked well, too.
Service options: dine-in, with full service and indoor or outdoor seating; order takeaway on the website; pickup curbside or at host station
Safety protocols: 50% of seating was removed to comply with social distancing requirements; staff required to complete temperature and wellness checks before every shift, and wear masks at all times; hand sanitizer at tables; disposable paper menus
Address, phone: 52 Powder Springs St., Marietta; 678-324-7205
Hours: 4 p.m.-close Tuesdays-Saturdays; pickup after 4:30 p.m; closed Sundays-Mondays
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