Why have I not blogged about Freebirds yet? Danged if I know. It's one of those things that's ubiquitous to those of us living in Bryan and College Station that you really don't think about until you move somewhere else.
For those not from Texas Freebirds is short for Freebirds World Burrito. It's like a lot of other burrito speciality chains in that they make burritos to order with your choice of sizes and fillings. They also have tacos, quesadillas, salads and such.
Contrary to local mythology the original Freebirds location is not at Northgate in College Station. It's in Isla Vista California. The company was founded by Mark Orfalea and Pierre Dube. Pierre then brought the restaurant to the Northgate location across the street from Texas A&M University in 1990. In 2007 Pierre sold the company to Tavistock Restaurant, who now owns and manages the brand. There are now 80 locations of Freebirds in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and California. The location pictured here is in College Station, but is not the original one at Northgate.
|This was close to closing time. The restaurant is usually very busy.|
Every Freebirds has a few things in common: funky decor, the same menu, and rock music. Motorcycles and electric guitars are often used, as is the cloud motif. Statues of Liberty in each restaurant are named Libby. You'll also find aluminum foil artwork along the walls and years and years worth of signatures and graffiti. The Northgate location also has a collection of military insignia donated by the esteemed members of the military from around the world.
The menu has changed slightly since being purchased by a corporation. Purists still order based upon the previous system. For example, the hybird used to be called a Halfbird. That's what I usually order. It's half a Freebird. Anyone will know what you're talking about. If you're really, really, really hungry and able to eat massive amounts of food in one sitting the Super Monster might be for you. It's about the size of those starter fire logs you find in the super market.
If you've never been to a Freebirds just walk right up to the bar and tell them. Then they'll lead you through building your perfect burrito, taco, quesadilla, salad, etc. Fillings are what you'd expect, including a choice of rice, cheeses, meats (chicken, beef, pork), beans, veggies, and sauces. Once everything you've requested is on the tortillas, it's all wrapped up in aluminum foil and sent on its merry way with you to then "unwrap your monster". [If you see tee shirts that say "Unwrap My Monster" they came from Freebirds prior to Pierre selling the chain.]
|A Halfbird with a standard shot of rum (not available at Freebirds - we got ours to-go) for reference. What else would you use to judge the size of a burrito?|
Purists will tell you that you have to unwrap your burrito from one end then eat your way to the other while continuing to unwrap. I use a fork to eat the filling because it's less messy that way. Maybe I'm just not as coordinated as everyone else? :-)
|Unwrapping my Halfbird wrapped with a cayenne tortilla. Nom!|
Will we be back to Freebirds? Of course! We go there regularly, especially with me working late with grad school stuff. The prices are pretty good and service is super fast. They also have stuff that is consistently good and works well with people who have food intolerances.
Would we recommend Freebirds? Sure! It's not fine dining. It's great for a quick, inexpensive meal that isn't fast food. I greatly prefer them to Chipotle. Chipotle uses cilantro in their rice, and we AAAaaaall know that stuff's nasty.
|This is actually on the board in my office.|