After nearly getting into the smoothie business, Bird Bird Biscuit owners have found a niche with comfort food

The Queen Beak (left, $9) is available all day and is made with a fried chicken breast, cayenne black pepper honey and bacon-infused chipotle mayo. The firebird ($10, dinner-only) is a hot chicken sandwich with goat cheese and dil aioli, spicy sweet pickles and cilantro. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Queen Beak (left, $9) is available all day and is made with a fried chicken breast, cayenne black pepper honey and bacon-infused chipotle mayo. The firebird ($10, dinner-only) is a hot chicken sandwich with goat cheese and dil aioli, spicy sweet pickles and cilantro. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Queen Beak (left, $9) is available all day and is made with a fried chicken breast, cayenne black pepper honey and bacon-infused chipotle mayo. The firebird ($10, dinner-only) is a hot chicken sandwich with goat cheese and dil aioli, spicy sweet pickles and cilantro. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Bird Bird Biscuit co-owners Ryan McElroy and Brian Batch opened the restaurant on Manor Road in 2018. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
When you hear Bird Bird Biscuit owners Ryan McElroy and Brian Batch tell the story, the success of the Manor Road biscuit shop two years into its existence is partly a product of happy accidents.

McElroy owns Thunderbird Coffee, and the two future biscuit shop owners became friends after Batch started working as a barista at Thunderbird in 2008, then worked his way up to management. They were originally going to go into the smoothie business, with a place called Batch Coffee and Juice Bar.

But when Batch Craft Beer and Kolaches opened just down the road in East Austin, they pivoted from the name—and also tinkered with the idea. Eventually they landed on biscuits, a product they see as unique within the Austin dining scene.

“A lot of things came together at the right time,” McElroy said. “That’s a great example of bad luck that turned out to be good luck.”

They settled on the name Bird Bird Biscuit, a variation of Thunderbird, and opened in 2018. Their building at 2701 Manor Road had a window attached, but the restaurant never used it—the window remained screwed shut for more than a year.


In March, when restaurants shut down dine-in service due to coronavirus restrictions, an employee came to Batch and McElroy with an idea: open up the window, serve customers from there and switch to a takeout-only model.

That story is an example of what has made Bird Bird successful, Batch said. There has been some luck involved, but it is the relationship building that has really been the key. The business started out of a friendship between Batch and McElroy, and Batch now sees the restaurant as an opportunity to help other employees grow into new opportunities.

“You meet so many great people; if you can get those people on board with your vision and grow with them, that’s when you can do something special,” Batch said.

Flipping the Birds


The former Thunderbird Coffee at 1401 Koenig Lane is set to become the second location of Bird Bird Biscuit by the middle of 2021.

McElroy said the grab-and-go nature of Bird Bird and the unique product it can offer in the Austin food scene make it a better fit for the Crestview space, which closed in late July.

However, McElroy said the original Thunderbird at 2200 Manor Road is not going anywhere. That coffee shop, which opened in 2006, is open daily from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at jflagler@communityimpact.com


MOST RECENT

Campuses in Austin ISD will be closes to in-person learning the week after Thanksgiving break. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
All Austin ISD classes to be held online through Dec. 4

The district will also be providing free COVID-19 tests to staff and families Dec. 2-4.

Bicycles for public use are docked at a MetroBike station on Lake Austin Boulevard. Austin's $460 million Proposition B will include funding for additional bicycle lanes through the city. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Breaking down Austin's $460 million bond for bike lanes, trails, sidewalks and more

The bond will fun a bridge over Pleasant Valley Road connecting two ends of the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike trail, among other improvements.

There is no data to support whether homelessness has increased since March, according to Austin’s Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, but ECHO executive director Matt Mollica said anecdotally, he believes the pandemic, job loss and lack of federal rent relief has led to more people locally experiencing homelessness. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
Nonprofits fighting to end homelessness in Austin say COVID-19 measures have created new challenges

Nonprofits have seen a greater need from Austin’s homeless community—for food, clothing, health care and hygiene resources—since March, and they are scrambling to fill those gaps.

Local health leaders are urging caution ahead of Thanksgiving. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Ahead of Thanksgiving, Travis County health officials urge caution

Austin Public Health leaders say gatherings with people outside one's household held indoors and without masks pose the greatest risk.

Sold sign
Central Austin continues trend of rising home prices in recent report

The monthly median housing price in October for Central Austin climbed to $625,000.

Harini Logan, 10, won the 66th annual Express-News Spelling Bee at the University of Texas at San Antonio downtown campus on March 17, 2019. For 2021, the event is slated to be held in March at the Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre in New Braunfels. (Photo by Jerry Lara, courtesy the San Antonio Express News)
New Braunfels to host regional spelling bee and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for the state Nov. 23 for a vaccine he said could be available as soon as December. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The vaccine could start being distributed "as early as next month," according to a Nov. 23 news release.

P. Terry’s Burger Stand is expected to open its long-awaited Pflugerville location this January. (Courtesy P. Terry's Burger Stand)
P. Terry's to open in Pflugerville in January and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

The Bridge at Turtle Creek apartment complex will provide more than 300 affordable units upon completion in 2022. (Rendering courtesy Journeyman Group)
Austin development updates: Apartments could replace two Rainey Street bars, 307 affordable housing units coming to South First Street area

A 569-foot apartment complex could replace Javelina and Craft Bar. Meanwhile, development continues in the St. Elmo area.

Falafel—served in a pita or without one—is TLV's most ordered dish. (Courtesy TLV)
Still open for takeout, TLV is the lone restaurant operating in Fareground food hall

"We will make it through these tough times," said chef Berty Richter.

Trail of Lights (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Holiday markets, strolls, tree lightings and Trail of Lights: 18 events in the Austin area in November and December

The Trail of Lights has gone drive-thru this year, while the Blue Genie Art Bazaar is taking free, ticketed reservations to adhere to social distancing requirements.

Austin voters approved a $7.1 billion public transit expansion Nov. 3 that will add bus and rail in Austin. (Design by Miranda Baker/Community Impact Newspaper)
After historic public transportation vote, here is what's next for Project Connect in Austin

Shovels won't be hitting the ground on the light rail and downtown tunnel for years, but work is getting started now after Austinites approved the $7.1 billion plan Nov. 3.