Firebirds Wood Fired Grill
5215 Town Center Boulevard, Peachtree Corners
firebirdsrestaurants.comGeneral Manager: Frankie Polanco
Executive Chef: Donte Youmans
Open Since: Jan. 14
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Location: In Peachtree Corners’ newest outdoor mall development, Town Center, across Peachtree Parkway from The Forum outdoor shopping center.
Atmosphere: Though many Firebirds restaurants are lodge style — with dark woods, the restaurants are reminiscent of Colorado ski lodges or cabins — the chain's newer locations, including the Peachtree Corners restaurant, are more modernized and cozier, making for a more intimate feel.
“There’s not as many large tables, (we have) a larger bar and a covered patio,” said Donte Youmans, executive chef of Firebirds’ Peachtree Corners location. “We went with a lot of lighter colors and less of a steakhouse feel. This one, it’s a little more of an open floor plan; in the other restaurants, we actually have a wine wall that divides the bar area from the actual dining room. This one is more open.”
When designing the Peachtree Corners Firebirds, architects focused on a more open concept largely because of that division between bar and dining at other Firebirds locations, Youmans said.
“If you were in the bar area in one of the older style restaurants, you really couldn’t see what was going on behind it,” he said. “The kitchen you really couldn’t see, because, like I said, they had the wine wall that divided it. This way, you get a view of the grill from any area in the restaurant, and we showcase the kitchen.”
Menu: Though Firebirds’ newer restaurants are moving slightly away from the dark, steakhouse feel, the restaurant is still, at its heart, an American steakhouse, Youmans said.
“The core menu does not change. We run seasonal features, so every 90 days or so we change to whatever’s in season at that time, but pretty much, we do fresh, hand-cut steaks in-house, we offer slow roasted prime rib, we have salmon and certain seafood items, a variety of different salads, desserts and a kids menu,” Youmans said. “Our kids menu is probably the best that I’ve ever (seen); I mean, a child gets a half rack of ribs and two sides for $10. But we really have a little something for everyone.”
As its name suggests, Firebirds uses a wood-fired grill, which Youmans said makes a world of difference in the way the food tastes.
“That’s what we do that’s different from everyone else,” he said. “We cook over an open flame; we use hickory and oak wood, depending on what area (of the country) the (restaurant) is in. We actually pull the coals forward and cook over the coals to infuse that smokey flavor and we (use) a lot of bold flavors with our seasonings and spices.”
All of Firebirds’ kitchen employees are master butchers, too, meaning everything is hand-cut.
“By cutting everything from scratch, by hand, we break the entire loin down,” Youmans said. “I have two sous-chefs — one is in Alpharetta, the other is here (in Peachtree Corners) with me — and literally every piece of protein we have, outside of the chicken, we break it down in-house. We only use the freshest ingredients.”
Though Firebirds is a steakhouse, because it has a scratch kitchen, Youmans can “put together pretty much anything back there,” and can easily cater to vegetarians.
“It’s all fresh ingredients; nothing comes out of a bag,” Youmans said. “We make all of our sauces, all of our dressings in-house.”
Also important to the Firebirds model is using as many locally sourced foods as possible.
“I get my poultry local, the produce is local and the majority of our wines are region-specific,” Youmans said. “Everything is just fresh and locally sourced.”
Something You Might Not Know: Though Firebirds is a national chain, near and dear to all of the restaurants’ hearts is Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a pediatric cancer charity that was founded in 2005 by a Connecticut girl with neuroblastoma.
“We’ve been teamed up with them for quite some time and have raised about $1.5 million,” Youmans said. “We do ‘lemonade days’ three days in the summer, where we actually set up lemonade stands at the front of the restaurant and all of the proceeds that we make those three days we give directly to (the foundation).”