Solon residents will soon have a new food option in Birdigo, a chicken concept to open in the former Mama Jo’s Pizza storefront at 32975 Aurora Road.

Created by Jay Leitson and Izzy Schachner of 56 Kitchen, and Michael DuBois and Adam Kemelhar of Imperial Wok, both with locations in Solon, Marc Glassman, Mike Fratello and Bob Reiner also helped create the concept.

Birdigo has a projected opening of February, should construction finish on time, Leitson said, with the Solon planning and zoning commission already giving the OK to start work.

When asked why the team decided to bring a chicken option to the community, Leitson said it’s all about trends.

“Chicken is a super hot craze right now and hopefully it’ll keep going, and it’s an economical protein,” he said. “Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we closed our restaurants the first month or so and spent that time developing recipes for Birdigo. So, it’s been in the works for a while now.”

Coming to Birdigo, customers can expect to order chicken in many different ways – from rotisserie and fried chicken, to tenders and sandwiches. Menu plans also call for other types of proteins and sides, but chicken will be the main focus.

Chicken served at the concept will be “all-natural and antibiotic-free,” Leitson said. Plans also call for each parent restaurant, 56 Kitchen and Imperial Wok, to develop sauces inspired by their menus.

“Adam and Michael at Imperial Wok have created some Asian-inspired sauces from ones they serve and we’ve developed a couple with what we have at

56 Kitchen,” he said. “It’s just different and we’re all very excited about it.”

This location doesn’t currently have plans to be kosher, due to its size. It’ll operate as a test kitchen, with just pick-up and delivery only. Customers will order by phone or online. But should future Birdigo locations come to pass, Leitson said the kosher conversation would definitely be had.

With opening less than two months away, Leitson said he believes Birdigo will complement what is offered at both 56 Kitchen and Imperial Wok. And since the location is so close to both restaurants, he’s looking forward to being hands-on.

“That is why we picked Solon in the first place, so we could oversee it,” he said. “It is a great combination of both restaurants, and with four owners only minutes away, that’s why we decided to do this. We chose Solon because it allows us to be hands-on. But, the food won’t compete with the other restaurants.”

56 Kitchen also has a location in Mayfield Heights. 

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