As we headed to the California Coast, on our drive home from a trade show in Anaheim, we stumbled upon a Freebirds for lunch. The staff was very friendly and helpful and the food tasted delicious with some pleasantly bold flavors. The menu selection is quite similar to Chipotle or Qdoba, but with their own twists. Both Tony and I got bowls, and I opted to try the Calabacitas Tempeh as my “meat” as I was curious on their vegan option – it was quite good, and better than I remember Chipotle’s vegan option.

Freebirds - a chain Mexican food restaurant (much like Chipotle in style) with ample dairy-free, gluten-free & vegan options.

My one complaint was the portion sizes. They describe their bowls as “hefty” on their website, but what we were served was quite light indeed. I’m not a big person by any means, and could have easily eaten dessert (if they’d had a dairy-free option!) after that meal. Without the cheese and sour cream it was a bit meager, pricier than the competitors, and adding guacamole wasn’t free (in fact it was quite the upcharge).

That all said, I wouldn’t hesitate to eat at a Freebird’s again if we were traveling. Not only was the food and service good, they also have an Allergen Guide (scroll down, it’s after all of the nutrition info), which notes many dairy-free and vegan-friendly options. Please note that their allergen guide does not note which items are gluten-free specifically, but does note wheat-free.

See the Freebirds website below for locations, phone numbers, and online ordering.


About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. We lived in TX near a Freebirds and it was our go-to for busy nights! They got to know my son and would get fresh gloves when they saw him walk in the door 🙂 There was one employee who was so sweet to him she took care of his needs every time. We now live in NJ and the boys want us to open a Freebirds here because they miss it so much!

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