Monday, May 7, 2012

What's the story with this Freebirds place that's going into the old Chili's space in Westport?

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2012 at 8:00 AM

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The property at 554 Westport Road (previously home to a Chili's Bar & Grill but vacant for nearly two years now) has landed a new tenant: Freebirds World Burrito. What is Freebirds? Delighted you should ask.

Freebirds is a California-based chain that recently announced plans to franchise out and expand in the Midwest. Many of its current locations are in Texas, and we stopped in at one a few months back while down in Austin for South By Southwest. Here's what you can expect.

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So, Freebirds is basically like Chipotle but with more options - kind of like Qdoba. You walk up and order your burrito (or nachos or tacos, or salad if you are weird), and the people behind the glass work assembly-line-style to prepare your meal. The decor is a colorful case study in the commercialization of hippie counterculture - Freebirds as in "Freebird," you know, maaan? The burritos come in four sizes, as seen above. There are also four types of tortillas to choose from: flour, spinach, wheat and cayenne. I got the cayenne because it is orange-colored. Didn't really notice a huge taste difference.

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Meatwise, you can choose from steak, carnitas and chicken (fish in some locations; not sure if KC will have that option). And with the chicken, you can either go light or dark, which is a nice touch. There are six types of salsas, including Death Salsa, which is the hot one. You can get black beans, refried beans or whole pinto beans. There is a meal-deal thing where you can add a drink, chips and your choice of guacamole, salsa or queso dip for an extra $2.79. If you do that with a regular Freebird-sized burrito, you're looking at about $11-$12 for a meal - reasonable, maybe a little more than you'd spend at Chipotle. If you lack self-control and decide to add a chocolate-chip cookie or a "pot brownie," you're well into $15 territory.

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But only a big fat pig would do that.

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