A live band and cawing parrots were all set to greet patrons arriving at The Perch Brewery Thursday, as the Chandler pub reopened for dine-in service. Associate manager Jackson Burrows said there would be less seating, as well as a smaller summer menu with an eye on keeping the business sustainable.
But Burrows also said he thinks the rescue birds who nest at the restaurant are eager for a return to the way things used to be.
“We know that they're excited to get back to normal and to see people every day,” Burrows says.
The brewery is home to at least a dozen exotic birds, from macaws to cockatoos. Their cages share the patio space with diners, complete with signs that warn people to watch their fingers if they get too close to a curious bird with a sharp beak.
Even though the restaurant has been closed, life has moved on for the birds who had regular TLC from a family of caretakers.
“The birds have been pretty busy themselves,” Burrows says. “Recently, Courtney had some eggs, so we’re going to see if she becomes a mother. They just got a new cage, giving them more space. We added more fans. We want them to be as cool as possible in the summer.”
Courtney is a green military macaw with a splash of red on her brow. According to Burrows, Courtney and her flock loved it when the brewery was packed.
“The reason why we get these rescue birds is that most of them require eight hours of attention per day,” he says. “Having this restaurant allows us to give them that attention. So this shutdown has been a little tough on them. We're excited to get people back in the door to talk to our birds.”
But as we know, the birds will see fewer crowds for the foreseeable future. The new normal for Perch Brewery includes a 200-seat arrangement, down from 500 seats before the pandemic, per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state.
“I hope that people are understanding of the changes,” Burrows says. “I know it’s eerie to see someone wearing a face mask and bringing your food. But they need to know it’s for their protection.”
The kitchen has also pared down the menu as the amount of customers showing up this weekend is unknown. The Perch is a scratch kitchen, meaning specialties like the jalapeno marmalade wings can take up to five hours a batch. If the kitchen staff prepped every single item on the usual menu, they might have to throw some away. "That's something that we don’t want to do,” Burrows says.
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“We could be busier than ever because people have been in quarantine for so long,” he continues. "Or we could, you know, have nobody show up because they’re still wary, which I totally understand."
However, there will still be birds and beer — the two major draws of The Perch Brewery. The drink menu lists 30 beers on tap for this weekend. Diners will be able to view all menus by scanning the QRC codes on every table with their phones.
The other usual perks of The Perch will also return, including a DJ playing to the rooftop bar area and more live music scheduled for this first weekend back.