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Line cook Conner Dallam prepares tortillas for the dinner rush at the Birdhouse restaurant on Monday, June 29, 2020 in Erie. (Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)
Line cook Conner Dallam prepares tortillas for the dinner rush at the Birdhouse restaurant on Monday, June 29, 2020 in Erie. (Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

While other Erie restaurants were changing business models or setting up for outdoor seating, a new restaurant on Briggs Street was preparing to open for the first time.

Birdhouse is owned by Rearview Mirrors Concepts which also owns Community in Lafayette. The owners have been working for months to open the new space. The restaurant, located at 526 Briggs Street, officially opened June 24 and offers ramen, rum and tacos.

“We don’t have everything on the menu that we will have,” said Operations Partner at Rearview Mirror Concepts Scott Skiba. “When we’re fully flowing, we’ll slowly add those items as the chef becomes more comfortable.”

The new eatery is near others, including 24 Carrot Bistro, the Old Mine and Echo Brewing.

“I think Erie in general is really hungry for other options and to have something to be excited about,” Skiba said. “It gives them something that’s kind of their own.”

While the restaurant may have opened during a pandemic, Skiba said the owners were not worried.

“Based on what we were doing at Community already, we kind of already knew what this was going to look like, and we had a lot of those systems in place,” Skiba said. “We kind of knew what we were walking into, tempering expectations, following budgets.”

He added a lot of the systems came from Community and helped make the opening a little less stressful.

Vice Chair of the Erie Economic Development Council Brie Fowler said with the restaurant opening during this time could be used as a gauge.

“Birdhouse opening during COVID-19 could be seen as a sign of how worthwhile the investment in Erie is, when you have a business that is unique and built for the community,” Fowler said. “The Birdhouse owners, Scott Skiba and Chris Teigland, truly built a place for people to come together. Even the design and flow of the restaurant is welcoming and inviting.”

She said besides the great atmosphere and options to sit in or outside, the food and drinks are delicious.

“They have so many different types of food that nobody else has,” Fowler said. “I think that’s great because it’s going to draw so many people outside of Erie to enjoy this.”

Another positive about a new restaurant during this time, Fowler said, is that Erie is such a small community so people might get to see friends they haven’t seen in awhile.

“Erie is just so up and coming and growing,” Fowler said. “A new restaurant is exactly what we need right now. It brings our community together, and it helps us still feel like we’re all OK and we’re all in this together.”

She said she’s heard all positive feedback about the new eatery.

“People who have gone said they love the food, they love the environment,” Fowler said. “I have not seen one negative comment or feedback about it.”

Skiba said the entire restaurant appreciates how welcoming people have been, and how excited people are to visit.

“We really appreciate the surrounding community and the support that we’ve had,” Skiba said. “The excitement (the community) has shown has been kind of phenomenal. We’re super excited that the community has already embraced us.”

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