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VRA + Freebirds Vegan Challenge!
Ross Posted at 2011/05/02 7:01pm reply to

Ross
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peter Posted at 2011/05/02 7:10pm reply to

peter
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"Austin-based"? Hate to be negative here, but their website says that their HQ is in Emeryville, CA.

It's cool that they're doing this, though!
Ross Posted at 2011/05/02 7:13pm reply to

Ross
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That's totally my bad, I'll fix that. I had the idea all these years that they did start in Austin, I guess just portions of their business are based here.
SorryCharlie Posted at 2011/05/03 12:51am reply to

SorryCharlie
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So, I went to freebirds up north last week, and I asked if their tortillas were vegan. My burrito maker wasn't sure, so she went to ask her manager who told her they "may" have milk in them, but the corn tortillas were safe, so I had to get a burrito bowl with corn tortillas on the bottom angry So I guess I'd like to start with actually being able to have a burrito in a vegan tortilla large enough to be a real burrito, haha.
peter Posted at 2011/05/03 4:37am reply to

peter
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It was our understanding that the wheat ones contain milk, but the others are vegan.

UPDATE: This is confirmed here: http://www.freebirds.com/AllergyR.pdf
SorryCharlie Posted at 2011/05/03 7:33am reply to

SorryCharlie
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Awesome! Man, I feel like I was jipped out of a burrito! Haha, well, then I guess I would like to see well informed employees who can tell me with confidence what is and isn't vegan, hehehe awesome
Ross Posted at 2011/05/03 7:37am reply to

Ross
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That is absolutely a valid suggestion happy A lot of times when you hear a manager or employee say something like "it probably has" or "it may have" milk in it, it's just a wild guess.

But yes, I've actually been speaking with them about the tortillas and right now they still use the same ones which only the wheat is not vegan. They may be switching manufacturers, but we'll see if that pans out.
apryl_knight Posted at 2011/05/03 10:46am reply to

apryl_knight
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I agree with some people on the Facebook page - vegan sour cream (Tofutti?) and vegan cheese (probably Daiya) as well as either Food for Lovers or Nacho Mama's vegan queso would be great.  I always go with the spinach tortilla, so I didn't even know that the wheat ones weren't vegan - might be nice if that was an option, though.  Brown rice would also be a good choice.  Other than that, any other veggies they wanted to add to the lineup would be welcome, as would some sort of protein-thing (tempeh, seitan, etc.)  I have never had the soy curls that Lazy Smurf mentioned, but they sound good, too.  There's actually that local company that makes tempeh (though I can't remember their name - it comes in the packages with the brightly colored cardstock lables) that would be great if they want to stay as local as possible.
eli2ab3th Posted at 2011/05/03 11:41pm reply to

eli2ab3th
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Weird, I used to live in Emeryville, and I don't recall ever seeing a Freebirds in the Bay Area.

I'm actually pretty happy with their selection they have. But my perfect burrito is just Mexican rice, beans, shredded cabbage/ice berg, a shit ton of guacamole, a little pico de gallo and lots of salsa verde on the side (and a tortilla).
UTexasMark Posted at 2011/05/04 12:12am reply to

UTexasMark
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I'm really happy with how they are now too.  I'm not sure how cost effective Daiya or fake meats would be.  I don't feel any need for either on their burritos, though a sausage/meat crumble thing could be interesting.
peter Posted at 2011/05/04 6:13pm reply to

peter
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>Weird, I used to live in Emeryville, and I don't recall ever seeing a Freebirds in the Bay Area.

That's because there aren't any. You definitely would have seen it, too, with Emeryville being so damn tiny, geographically speaking.

According to their website, their current HQ is there in Emeryville, but their three California locations are in SoCal. The first one opened up in Santa Barbara. Most of their locations are in Texas, though, with the first of those being in College Station in 1990. They also have one location in Norman, Oklahoma. So yeah, kinda weird.
mollyjade Posted at 2011/05/04 7:05pm reply to

mollyjade
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>I'm really happy with how they are now too.  I'm not sure how cost effective Daiya or fake meats would be.  I don't feel any need for either on their burritos, though a sausage/meat crumble thing could be interesting.

I agree. I would like more substantial veggies than just peppers and onions though. Mushrooms would be perfect.
Jessica. Posted at 2011/05/05 12:43am reply to

Jessica.
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I think vegan chorizo would be cost effective, and I'll bet a lot of omnis would choose it for their burritos as well...
Shannbott Posted at 2011/05/05 9:01am reply to

Shannbott
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Ooh I think mushrooms are a good idea, that way the non-vegans would be more likely to support it too.  Fajita portabellos mmm.
carrie Posted at 2011/05/05 9:38am reply to

carrie
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Zucchini and summer squash! And Olives! And signs that say which of their squeezey sauces are vegan. And tofutti sour cream. And daiya. Thanks guys!
Josh xvx Topic Posted at 2011/05/06 4:49pm reply to

Josh xvx Topic
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All the mock stuff everyone suggested I back 100%. I dont ever go to places like this because it's always the same 4 ingredients that I can get anywhere that is too high a price than doesnt equal what I'm getting. It's easy to make all that stuff cost effective especially with their current prices. Not jocking the folks that like other things though.
BeccaGreenIsland Posted at 2011/05/08 2:20am reply to

BeccaGreenIsland
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This is awesome ! I"m curious how it got started with freeBirds? ross did you approach them ?
So I always loved the basic burritos there anyways like some ppl mentioned (black beans, rice, lettuce, tomatoe, guacamole, corn and I love that they have fresh cilantro as a topping)
but since they are open to making it even more vegan, soyrizo and maybe vegan chicken fajitas (made with Butler Foods soycurls) would be Amazing!!
I can personally attest to Butler's Soycurls as well, we use them for our fajitas and bbq and ppl at events always think they are chicken! I've requested whole foods to carry them a few times (right now I purchase in bulk direct through Butler foods) but apparently Seattle and Portland Whole Foods now carry soycurls so hopefully soon Austin can too, for Free Birds though they could easily order them in bulk/wholesale direct as well
celeste Posted at 2011/05/08 3:16am reply to

celeste
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  I beg to differ regarding the fake meat issue. I see Freebirds as being pretty much like Thundercloud, but with burritos instead of subs. And Thundercloud has some nada- chicken thing and I think a burger-type patty too. I never go to Thundercloud and have no idea if their fake meats and bread are vegan, but the point is that I think people in Austin aren't so scared of fake meats. So my vote is for fajita " meat"! Maybe they can partner with White Mountain and get their locally-made wheat roast fajitas!
   Another idea is tofu. Seasoned, grilled tofu like all of the little burrito joints in the Mission in San franssco have.
   Last idea is a taco meat made from tvp.
Ross Posted at 2011/05/08 9:47am reply to

Ross
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Becca- Freebirds actually contacted us about setting this up, it's so cool! We'll see if they can actually implement any of our suggestions, but thanks for all of them! Keep em coming if you think of any more happy
BeccaGreenIsland Posted at 2011/05/08 10:01pm reply to

BeccaGreenIsland
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They contacted you? that's awesome...in that case, why not tell them to just go VEGAN! go all the way??
awesome well maybe getting some mockmeats is the first step and tell them to promote/mention them to customers too that way hopefully more non-vegs might be tempted to try them too ! they could list the health facts like subway does too showing compare/contrast of the meat tacos vs the mock meat tacos, etc?

>Becca- Freebirds actually contacted us about setting this up, it's so cool! We'll see if they can actually implement any of our suggestions, but thanks for all of them! Keep em coming if you think of any more happy
World Works Posted at 2011/05/10 1:51pm reply to

World Works
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Hello everyone;

My name is Annette Beavers and I run the charitable arm of FREEBIRDS World Burrito called, FREEBIRDS World Works. Great to meet all of you!
I was reading the posts on this forum and felt inclined to share some information, correct some information and make myself available for any questions you may have.
It is true that we reached out to VRA in hopes of learning more about the vegans of the world. We offer over 2 trillion different combinations on our menu and we thought it was important to hear from our vegetarian and vegan friends. Your comments have been reviewed and noted so THANK YOU for taking the time to share your input.
I also want to clear up a couple of questions I saw bouncing around on this thread:

FREEBIRDS Headquarters- We are owned by Tavistock, LLC. A private company that is based in Emeryville, CA. Our FREEBIRDS headquarters is based in Austin, Texas and that's where I am located...Austin rocks!!

A little History- The first FREEBIRDS was started by two hippie dudes in Santa Barbara. One of the partners decided to grow the brand in Texas, beginning in College Station and the second partner remained in SB. FREEBIRDS continues to grow with restaurants in Texas, Oklahoma, and California!

Our mission: To "feed your belly and your soul!"

Thanks again for all the great feedback!
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