Hot bird! Harding rolls back into the scene with a new eatery (on wheels)

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Here’s a delicious contradiction: Alan Harding is opening a stationary, mobile eatery.

Two Brooklyn culinary legends combined forces this month as Smith Street restaurant legend Harding opened his newest venture in the backyard of the recently reopened cult chicken joint Hot Bird.

Unlike the last two incarnations of Hot Bird, famous for barbecued chicken, the newest is a bar only. That’s where Harding steps, or, more accurately, drives in.

He’s restored a 1962 former Cold King ice cream truck that he found in a lot on Sackett Street and turned it into a kitchen.

“I wanted a project that I could own all by myself,” said Harding. “The scale of the truck is a lot easier to handle — there’s just a certain amount of freedom.”

The menu, Harding added, “will be like a greatest hits of American picnic fare.

“It will be simple, but just a little different.”

Expect items like Frito Pie ($5) and, of course, chicken — though slow roasted on a rotisserie, not barbecued ($10 for a half chicken and two sides).

Harding’s primary interest, though, are the franks. His grandparents hail from Alsace–Lorraine, an area of France near the German border where the cuisine historically leans more toward sauerkraut and würst than croissants and creperies.

“It’s the area that’s responsible for basically what a hot dog is,” said Harding, who co-founded the defunct Smith Street bistro Patois more than a decade ago, when Cobble Hill was still a rough, untapped frontier. “Not all hot dogs are created equal.”

Harding plans to source his würst from Hoffman’s Sausage of Syracuse, upstate sausage-making pros that have been at it since 1879. Much of the rest of the menu will be sourced locally, as well.

So drive on over.

Hot Bird (825 Atlantic Ave. at Clinton Street in Prospect Heights, no phone)

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Reader Feedback

Another Hot Bird from Clinton Hill says:
It's the corner of Clinton Ave, not Clinton St.
I should know - it's just across the street from me.
June 6, 2010, 12:48 am

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