Freebirds World Burrito is a brand new shop that opened just last week on Fairway Drive at Pleasant Grove right off 65. In a sentence I think I would describe it as high quality Chipolte with a strong focus on very fresh and natural ingredients. There’s so much more to Freebirds though. I showed up on Thursday at around 4ish and the place was a madhouse. Line to the door, every table filled and probably more than 20 employees all looking very busy. It was actually a good thing that the line was as long as it was because at first the menu was pretty intimidating. I didn’t know if I needed to figure out everything I wanted to tell them when I got up to the counter or not.
You can get a burrito in several sizes – from smallest to largest: Hybrid, Freebird, Monster & Super. According to their website you can also order a Super Monster that weighs in at around 7lbs! If the handheld form factor isn’t your thing you can alternatively get a burrito bowl. They also have salads, tacos, quesadillas, nachos and chips with salsa, queso or guacamole. I am normally a burrito bowl kind of guy because I’ve never really gotten the the hang of eating a burrito without losing everything out the bottom and generally making a mess of my face area. Eating with a beard poses it’s own challenges as well. This time, however, I decided to go with the normal burrito, for you guys ;)
My turn came up and I was greeted by the employee working the start of the line and told him I was going to get a hybrid burrito with carnitas. Quickly I was hit with options. They have 4 different types of tortilla – spinach, cayenne, wheat and your standard flour. I chose the cayenne, probably just because it looked pretty cool since it was red. I was handed off to the next person that ended up being my personal “roller”. He was with me all the way down the line until I was ready to pay. This is one of the coolest things about freebirds in my opinion. Because I was dealing with the same person from start to finish instead of moving from “the cheese guy” to “the beans guy” etc, he was making recommendations based on what we had already put in the burrito earlier on. This was a great thing, because there are about a million things you can load it up with (check out the Freebirds website and you can see some of the options).
My burrito ended up being the Hybrid with a cayenne tortilla and filled with:
Monterey Jack cheese
Carnitas w/ a bit of lime juice added
Roasted corn salsa
Additionally I ordered chips and queso since I went with the smallest burrito. Adding the chips and a soda made it a meal. I’m not sure if that meant I saved any money, I doubt it. At the register I was given a Freebirds Rewards card that looks like a gift card. Each time you make a purchase they will slide your card and you accrue points that you can eventually redeem for a free burrito, or something like that. I registered it on their website when I got home (required to be able to redeem these points) and saw that you can also use it as a gift card and add money to it. I think Starbucks has a system where you can prepay cash onto the card, use it to buy your coffee and have points tracked on it. If you’re familiar with that, I think this is kind of the same thing.
I got very lucky and found a little table right away. Others weren’t as fortunate since the place was so busy, but there were multiple employees assisting with finding tables and getting them cleaned up the moment someone left. Every employee was very personable and a pleasure to deal with. I sat near a door and soon some people started going in and out to sit outside despite the cold and twice in a row I lost a napkin to a gust of wind. Both times this one employee come by swiftly and picked it up. I apologized but he waved me off and said no problem with a smile. I held onto the rest of my napkins tightly after that. I’ve previously brought up In’N’Out, Chic-fil-a and Smashburger’s staff regarding how polite and professional they are. This crew tops them all. I was amazed at how well run the place was, especially given how slammed they were. On more than one occasion I was asked if I needed anything, how everything was so far, etc.
The queso was great, very simple but thick, creamy and fairly rich. The burrito was something else. I’ve never had one quite like it, though admittedly I don’t eat many burritos. Every ingredient was flavorful and excellent. The hot sauce and cayenne tortilla had decent heat. There was a bottle sitting at the table labeled “Death Sauce” which got my attention. I took a whiff, thought “sure, why not?” and put a little on a corner of my burrito. It was awesome! Not only did it add some good extra kick (It wasn’t face melting hot though, not even close, so try it out), it also had a solid bold flavor that was great with the fillings I had picked. I followed the burrito-eating directions that I saw somewhere earlier when I arrived and slowly peeled away the foil as I ate. I didn’t make much of a mess at all, and the whole process went smoothly. I’m definitely going to be ordering burritos again in the future.
Because the place was as packed as it was I wasn’t able to take photos of the interior. The next day I thought I’d try again and went immediately after work. Unfortunately they were just as busy. I went ahead and made the best of the situation by ordering again ;).
This time I ordered a quesadilla with a wheat tortilla, monterey jack and cheddar cheese blend, all white-meat chicken, refried beans and roasted corn salsa. This was good, but I wanted something a bit more so I added Death Sauce to the entire thing. I ordered chips and guac this time to see how their guacamole compared to Chipolte’s, which I think is some of the best guac around [besides my own of course ;)]. It was almost identical, so I’m sure I’ll order it again sometime. One interesting thing this time was I was asked if I needed any additional chips or guacamole by an employee roaming the dining room. I’m not sure if that means for free, but it sure sounded that way. I had plenty so I didn’t get to find out.
In a last-ditch effort to get shots of the interior I showed up right at 11AM this morning when they opened. There was already a line to the front door again! This time though nobody had their food yet so the tables were all empty. A neat little thing I noticed on this quick visit were all the foil sculptures that people had made and placed along the walls from the extra ‘to-go’ foil that is provided at the drink and condiments station. You can see them in the bottom left of this next photo.
As noted on their site, Libby (Lady Liberty) smashing through the freedom wall on a custom chopper is a feature in all their restaurants.
Freebirds is an incredibly cool place with a great vibe, awesome food and stellar service. I love how their uniforms consist only of an apron, and the rest is left up to each individual’s personal expression. Having a dedicated ‘roller’ assigned to you is a great system, it makes it a very personal experience. I can’t recommend this place enough.