I’ve started doing interview with the new Hollywood Patch. It’s a hyper-local website on the Hollywood neighborhood. I get to interview local businesspeople and residents on their life in Hollywood. Here is my latest, and links to my previous pieces:
Birds Offers ‘Fast Food with a Liquor License’
Mary Preston, co-owner of the Franklin Village hangout, also helps rescue lost dogs and provides a nightly demonstration of her hula hoop skills.
Mary Preston has enough personality to take over an entire restaurant—which she does most nights when she hops up on a table at Birds and hula-hoops (some nights she can be found teaching the basics in the bar).
She’s a hands-on owner who offers to climb the teetering ladder to fix a fan blade, and speaks fluent Spanish to her staff. The menu of basic homestyle cooking isn’t going to impress foodies, but Preston is the first to say that Birds is not primarily about the food.
Preston and business partner Henry Olek started the restaurant back in 1994 when he was a writer and she was an actress and a couple of writers’ strikes prompted them to seek other ways to make a living.
Both lived in the Hollywood Hills and wanted the restaurant to be close by. They bought the space, which used to be a Chinese restaurant, and the rest is chicken and wine.
Hollywood Patch: How did you come up with the concept for Birds?
Mary Preston: I think necessity is the mother of invention. I didn’t want to hire a chef because I knew that chefs take a third of your profits right off the top.
So, I wanted something that leaned towards the healthy side of eating. Rotisserie chicken was all the rage at the time. I knew that the machine itself would cook the chicken.
I’m not a great cook, but I’m more into the bar side. I’m not a chef, so we decided to do down-home recipes. A lot of the recipes are my mother’s. The corn bread and the chicken pot pie and stuff like that. We wanted something that was fast and affordable, but not fast food. It’s fast food with a liquor license. That’s what I call it.
See more at Hollywood Patch.
My other Hollywood Patch pieces: