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Yay or Nay: The Notorious Freebirds Debate

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

Picture Credit: Fiona Blumenthal, second year Global Studies major

Whenever I mention Freebirds in conversation, I find that it usually turns into a fiery debate over just how worth the $14 of greasy, cheesy goodness actually is.

It’s silly, if anything. I personally don’t see why or how a delicious plate of nachos could make anyone angry. But it really seems to infuriate a good number of UCSB students.

What is it, exactly, that draws people to the (in)famous Freebirds nachos? And what is it about Freebs that others aren’t all about? Are they in search of a “better” drunchie or a more authentic Mexican food?

Timing appears to be a huge factor when it comes to nacho and/or burrito consumption. “Cheese on nachos turns into human skin like 2 minutes after they give them to you,” explains Amy Gonzalez, second year Math major.

“Burritos sag through the tortilla and get nasty if you don’t eat them within 10 minutes,” says Ty Grove, a second year Math major. The quicker you eat, the better it tastes. Of course, waking up from a patchy night of scattered memories next to a half-eaten box of hardened cheese, soggy chips, and a questionable mixture that’s “kind of squishy” is definitely not the biz.

But it seems that timing can get to be an issue in the long run, as well. “It gets old after a year or two,” says Victor Canel III, a third year Chemistry major.

And the price to pay? Notorious. Students say that they would be more willing to eat at Freebirds if it were “half the price.”

“I like Chipotle or Rosaritos,” says Katherine Anderson, second year Global Studies and Environmental Studies major. “[Freebirds] is so expensive.” With the variety of similar options in Isla Vista that students have, it seems that less pricey alternatives are the go-to for an equally satisfying meal.

On the other hand, those loyal to the (arguable) icon of Isla Vista appreciate its uniqueness and portion size. Gabriela Gaspar, whose daughter is a UCSB student, says that she must have Freebirds every time she comes to visit the area. While there are other Freebirds locations in California, she tells us that the Freebirds near her home “doesn’t compare to the one in SB.”

Undoubtedly, Freebirds is the busiest food place in all of Isla Vista on a Friday or Saturday night, up until early morning hours. Granted, you will more than likely see a line out the door from Freebirds on any given night in Isla Vista. For some weird reason, a UCSB student is more than likely to end up at Freebirds at least once during their college career after a wild night out, sources suggest.

“All I know is the nachos are f****** amazing when you’re drunk,” a first year English major says.

So, is Freebirds “worth it”? Would you be better off sparing your money to opt for a cheaper alternative? Seems to me like a decision between your stomach and your wallet.

Regardless, we can agree with Benjamin Pu, third year Global Studies major, that Freebirds is “best consumed with friends rather than alone.”

Allison is a Global Studies major at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the Assistant Editor at Her Campus UCSB a contributor to the chapter's Instagram, @hercampusucsb. Allison believes that life is about balances, but that you can never have too many breakfast burritos. You can follow Allison's personal Instagram at @allycnco for life around Santa Barbara, good eats, and travels!
Mya McCann is a fourth year literature student in the College of Creative Studies at UCSB. She currently lives in Bangkok, Thailand and is in the business of running BKK. On the weekends you can find Mya either in the jungle or on an island. On the weekdays she studies Thai and Buddhism and teaches English to sex workers in the red light district. You can follow her adventures on IG: MyaJoy