Freebirds is a chain of restaurants in Texas that specializes in mildly addictive, foil-wrapped, made to order steak, grilled chicken and veggie burritos at competitive prices.

The first location opened in 1990, directly across University Drive from Texas A&M University,in the Northgate area. The proximity to campus, especially the Northside dorms, along with reasonable prices, good food and a laid-back, student friendly atmosphere led to success for the restaurant.

Since its inception, Freebirds has opened two other stores in College Station, and has expanded to Houston, Dallas and Austin with one store each and another on the way for Austin in fall 2003.

The menu consists of burritos (duh), tacos and quesadillas. The burritos come in three sizes: Regular (wee), Monster (not so wee) and Super Monster (friggin huge). The ordering process is simple for even the most timid of burrito virgins because the rollers walk you through the process.

The process is as follows: you choose your tortilla (flour, wheat, cayenne or spinach), rice and cheese, type of beans (whole, black or refried), choice of meat (steak, white/dark chicken, combo or veggie), choice of sauce (any combination of mild, hot, bbq, habeñero, death and/or lime juice) and choice of extras (roasted onions & peppers, lettuce, tomato, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream (for an extra charge) and probably a few others I'm forgetting).

A couple of words of caution: Some may find the habañero and death sauces a bit too hot, and one should only unwrap enough of the foil around the burrito to expose a few bites at a time. Unwrapping the whole thing often leads to a messy, but delicious, burrito explosion.

Part of what makes the Freebirds dining experience fun is the unique atmosphere that each restaurant has. The original Northgate location features graffiti walls where patrons are encouraged to write messages for posterity. The second College Station location has facades on the walls made out of old bricks from the demolished Law and Puryear halls at Texas A&M University and patron created foil sculptures. The Rock Prairie road location has engraved bricks and a motorcycle riding Lady Liberty with a foil-wrapped burrito in lieu of a torch, bursting through the wall.

Another curiosity of the restaurants is the employees. While College Station is a somewhat conservative town, it is not terribly uncommon to see a few people with blue hair and multiple nose piercings behind the counter. Its always amusing to see the reactions of some of the more conservative students toward those who don't look like clones of everyone else.

On the non-food side of things, Freebirds plays an active role in the community; from donating to children's charities, to celebrating National Bike to Work Day.

All in all, Freebirds is a great place to go for a quick, relatively cheap (5 bucks for a regular steak burrito) and tasty meal.