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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lunch Report: Freebirds in Alamo Ranch...

Stuffed. Forget everything else I say, and just know that if you go into Freebirds and willy-nilly order up just a quick bite to eat without fully understanding how it works, you will end up stuffed.
We had multiple errands to run in the Alamo Ranch complex and knew full well that we had plans for dinner, so of course, we needed just a light snack for lunch, right? Well surely you can go into a place called Freebirds and get something light.

The place is set up like a Subway - the assembly line sort of sandwich shop - but a whole lot hipper I suppose. Instead of getting a foot long sub, the emphasis is on building a custom burrito the way you want it. Take note of the example sizes on the menu board. They have the Hybrid, Freebird, Monster and Super Monster. Unless you are really hungry, go with the Hybrid.
They had three or four people making the burritos, so waiting was not an issue at all. They were quick to answer questions and offer samples and everyone was really friendly. My only issue with the set-up - and I often feel the same way at any place where you have to interact with the cook - is the sound situation. With loud music playing in the dining area, it is nearly impossible to make out what the order taker is asking you from behind the short glass spit-shield. I'm not kidding when I suggest they give the employees little megaphones. It isn't that the music is too loud, simply that the acoustics of the place don't make for an easy conversation from the customer side to the burrito making side without numerous "excuse me?" "say again" and finally giving up and just responding "sure - I don't know what you just asked me, but as long as it is edible, go ahead and throw it in my burrito."
You can't help but find the interior design fun. A full size motorcycle with Lady Liberty busts through the wall; instead of holding her torch, she has a Monster sized burrito.
You will see lots of motorcycle themed accoutrement throughout the place as well as a heavy dose of "green" recycle action. Good for them, incorporating a moneymaking operation along with something they believe in, I have no complaints as long as the final product that hits my tummy is good, and it was.
I also liked the leave behind artwork by patrons. At Which-Wich, people draw on the sandwich bags and leave a mark, and at Five-Guys you can see little calling cards drawn in Crayon. Here, the visitors of Freebirds craft some spiffy sculptures from the foil that wraps their burritos. My son spotted the logo from his high school, Comm Arts, in the window.
Ordinarily, I'm able to take some pictures of the food we order so you can get a good look. Unfortunately, between the foil and the tortilla covering the mixture of rice, beans, meat and fixin's, there isn't much to show you without really biting into it. So, I apologize if it looks like I took several bites and then took a picture, but that is exactly what I did. What you see (if you can bear to look) is some carnitas (pulled pork), black beans, Spanish rice, and just a load of whatever peppers and jalapenos they had to throw on. The result was pure yummy.
We "rev'd" our meals meaning adding a drink and a side (chips & salsa or a brownie) for an additional $2.79. Just check out the brownies! I may have to go take a pee test in the morning, just to be sure. For three of us, our meal came out to $29.00. That is a bit extreme for a burrito, but the fact is you can get out for much less. Seriously, unless you are just enormously hungry, go with the smallest burrito or split the Freebird with a friend.


Anonymous said...

Ah, the memories of Game Day in College Station and standing in line with parents and students getting served quickly at the orginal location. Would line up more than 70 deep for a Monster in less than 15 minutes. Enjoy the works of art (foil) some that could hang in an art gallery. Or read the paper hanging on the wall. Brings back great memories from my son's college years. All we need now is a "Chicken" franchise!


M2 said...

The Freebirds at 151 and 410 has the same exact acoustic issues...the music is too loud and it's hard to order or hold a normal conversation.

Deb said...

Better or worse than Chipotle's, Dave?

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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