There’s something new in the air in Moab, and it smells like chicken. Fried chicken and donuts, that is. Moab’s newest restaurant venture, Doughbird, has officially opened after many months of anticipation.
The new dining destination offers donuts made from scratch, fried chicken, coffee, and other small sides and drinks.
“When we first moved here we felt like Moab needed donuts; it needed a donut shop,” owner Erin Bird said.
Though Doughbird has only been open for a few short weeks, the preparations and research have been in the works for over a year. Erin and her husband Ryan Bird, who also own the restaurant Moab Garage Co., spent their off-season gathering intel for their second restaurant via food-tasting road trip.
“When we closed for the off-season, we went on a big road trip from Salt Lake City to Idaho to Oregon and down the coast,” Erin Bird said. “I bet we ate a hundred donuts.”
“We’d walk into a shop and order one of everything,” she said. “We’d pick out what we liked and what we didn’t like—it was dense, it was fluffy, whatever it was. Then I started developing recipes from there.”
“Then we did the same thing with fried chicken,” she said.
While the Birds have hired new staff for Doughbird, there is a lot of cross-over between Moab Garage Co. employees and Doughbird employees. This means you may see some familiar faces behind the counter slinging dough.
“I really love to see our locals excited about something new in the food community of Moab,” said employee Desirae Miller, who works at both Doughbird and Moab Garage Co.
“I live here and I hear people talking about how it’s making Moab food fun,” she said. “Even tourists come in and are super pumped about something new and exciting.”
Erin and Ryan Bird can often be seen behind the counter at both of their establishments.
“For right now, I make the donut dough,” Erin Bird said. “I developed the recipes and I’m the only one that’s made the dough so far. It’s still hand-rolled, hand-cut—we don’t have a machine.”
Local visitors to the establishment have had good feedback.
“I just tried the coffee doughnut and it’s unbelievable,” local Emily Weiser said.
The Doughbird building received just as much careful attention as the recipes did. The Birds hired local artist Sascha Steinberg to complete a hand-painted mural along the exterior wall.
The mural, a duo of abstracted chickens, keeps outdoor diners company as they enjoy one of Doughbird’s many delights.
Whimsical and colorful, Steinberg’s mural is also a part of the Moab Arts Mural Campaign.
“I wanted to create an eye-catching piece on Main Street that was fun for adults and kids to enjoy, while also celebrating a new small business in town,” artist Sascha Steinberg said.
Some of the doughnuts are just as fanciful as the mural, like one of Doughbird’s Fruity Pebbles-covered doughnuts. But for some, including the baker herself, nothing can beat a simple pleasure.
“For me, maybe I don’t like the super off-the-wall donuts,” Erin Bird said. “I like the classics...but done really well.”