The scent of crispy rotisserie chicken will now routinely waft through the streets of Kendall Square: Shy Bird (1 Broadway, Cambridge) is open on the corner of Third Street. A sibling of Watertown’s Branch Line, Shy Bird also highlights rotisserie chicken, that popular sugar snap pea salad, and roasted cauliflower. The new restaurant doubles as an all-day cafe, serving coffee with breakfast in the morning alongside its lunch and dinner menus of roasted vegetables, meats, and more.
The latest addition to a growing Kendall Square restaurant community, Shy Bird took over the prime corner spot inside the Cambridge Innovation Center (or CIC) office building. A more casual counterpart to its older sibling, Shy Bird has a counter-ordering setup that puts its rotisserie oven on full display.
Customers place orders at the counter and receive a number for food to be delivered to the tables, which stretch along the windows facing Broadway towards a garage door-style window wall that opens to what is now the lobby of the CIC. Banquette seating on the Third Street side of the restaurant adds to the cafe vibe, with outlets and USB plugs accessible under the benches for those wanting to sit and work a while. Shy Bird also has patio seating along Broadway.
The counter ordering and table delivery system remains the same for dinner, and since Shy Bird also has a full bar, seated customers can order additional items from staff passing through the restaurant if, for example, the night calls for more wine.
The building at 1 Broadway previously housed Firebrand Saints, which closed in October 2017 to accommodate intense construction in the Kendall Square neighborhood. Shy Bird now occupies what was once an entrance to the office building. The restaurant’s name is inspired by the red junglefowl, a tropical bird that’s the progenitor of the domestic chicken.
Owner Andrew Holden has built a team with project manager Eli Feldman, chef Matt Garland, and service and wine program manager Shaun Brideau, all from Branch Line. Bar and cafe manager James Child has also joined the group after having spent time at Southern Proper and the Kirkland Tap & Trotter. The group has been working to open the restaurant for the better part of two and a half years, as construction projects unfold in the area.
Holden, who lives in the Kendall Square area, said he fell in love with the corner Shy Bird now occupies.
“As Kendall continues to be not just a hub of education, innovation, and technology, it feels like it’s that, plus more of a neighborhood feel,” he said. “This corner could hopefully be an important part of the neighborhood as it evolves.”
Highlights of Shy Bird’s menu include a fried chicken sandwich served on a Portuguese bun with egg and pepper jack cheese, as well as a rotisserie pork shoulder sandwich. Also of note is a snap pea salad fans will recognize from Branch Line, and there’s a whole section dedicated to “the bird,” or rotisserie cooked half and whole chickens.
Shy Bird is currently serving food from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, with the bar open later each day.
For a look at the full opening menu, parts of which could change in the coming days, see below.