Well, lookie who just rode into town: Freeb!rds, a Chipotle competitor.
As regular readers know, not only is Chipotle my favorite restaurant, but I’m the mayor of our closest location. I usually eat there twice a week, often with friends I’ve picked only because they also love the place (well, not really . . . it just seems that way). In my opinion, none of the other burrito/bowl places comes close in terms of taste, especially their guacamole, which is like a scoop of sunshine at Chipotle. As far as I’m concerned, Bullritos and Mission Burrito are mere pretenders to the throne.
But Freeb!rds does have its legion of fans here in Texas (including my younger son). I had eaten there twice, once in College Station several years ago (wasn’t impressed) and a year or two back in Houston (meh). After reading that they finally opened a location in my little ’burb, I figured I’d see if the third time was the charm.
So the Mister, our younger son, and I stopped in for dinner on opening night last week. At first people were queued out the door, but it didn’t take long to get inside and place our orders in the serving line. That’s when we ran into problem number one: Freeb!rds might be the noisiest restaurant on the planet.
“What?” “What?” It was as hard for us to hear our order takers as it was for them to hear us. I’m just not into shouting for my food. It was so loud and confusing that I actually forgot to ask for guacamole (I had to return for it), which is squirted on. Yes, with an actual squirter. I was missing that large Chipotle guac spoon already.
When we sat down to eat, problem number 2 quickly cropped up: I hated the plastic fork. The handle is smaller, and the entire utensil isn’t as sturdy as the ones at Chipotle. I was not a happy camper.
Sidebar: I’d better ’fess up and admit that one reason I don’t like Mission Burrito (besides the fact I had to deal with a surly order taker yesterday) are its metal bowls. They detract from my eating experience. Oh, and I hate how the chairs squeal when you move them along the floor. They need some kind of pad! But the forks are okay.
Of course, what’s really important is the quality of the food. I’ve returned to Freeb!rds a couple times just to make sure that I’m not overfocusing on the noise and fork fiascos. So I can declare with confidence that . . .
I’ve dubbed Freeb!rds as the second-best burrito/bowl restaurant, easily trumping Bullritos (third place) and Mission Burrito! I’m sure they’ll want to erect a plaque.
But next time I eat there I think I’ll come prepared . . . with a set of ear plugs and my very own fork.