From Dream to Reality: How Dirty Birds’ Fried Chicken Restaurant Became Possible with the Help of Nebraska Enterprise Fund

When you hear the words “dirty birds,” fried chicken may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but the phrase “Dirty Birds” has been popular in Omaha since the restaurant opened in January 2021.

Dirty Birds is located in the iconic Flat Iron building just west of downtown Omaha. The restaurant started in a food hall doing pop-ups. Before opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant, they were housed in a food hall doing pop-up food events. The restaurant owners learned there that friendship is about a great meal and a great vibe.

“Our definitive goal is to serve the highest quality scratch fried chicken and southern fare, with cheap beer and drinks in an atmosphere unlike anywhere else.”

 Their journey to opening their first brick-and-mortar restaurant is an inspiring story of perseverance and hard work.

In 2020, the two worked at a hotline doing telephone work together. They bonded over their love for their food and drinks and explored what Omaha had to offer. They say Dirty Birds’ menu is a unique combination of all of their favorite places they’ve ever been.

You can see their personalities woven throughout everything they do – from the frequently rotating food and cocktail menu to their handwritten Butcher Paper specials and decor to their one-of-a-kind handmade restaurant t-shirts.

Enter the Nebraska Enterprise Fund

Dirty Birds had operated out of the food hall for months. In 2020, when the food hall changed ownership and vendors left, they weren’t yet ready to open a brick-and-mortar like they had planned. They had to revise the game plan.

So, they faced a major obstacle: they needed funds to get them through.

That’s when they turned to the Nebraska Enterprise Fund. The fund provided the capital they needed to open their doors. After being referred by their banker, the owners contacted NEF and, within two days, completed the loan paperwork.  With the help of the fund, they were able to purchase equipment, hire staff, and create a menu that reflected their unique style of cooking.

Dirty Birds, located at 17th & St. Mary Avenue in Omaha, is now a thriving restaurant that has become a local favorite. They were recently featured on Guy Fieri’s Food Network show! The restaurant staff spent two days with the production crew on-site filming and cooking with the celebrity chef.

Thanks to their work ethic, focus, and capital from the Nebraska Enterprise Fund, Dirty Birds owners made their dream a reality, and they now provide delicious food and a welcoming atmosphere to customers from across the city and even internationally.

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