It was a simple desire that led Paul Freeman to start Freeman’s Flying Chicken. “Let’s do what we said we’ve wanted for all these years,” he told his wife, Tracy. “Let’s make something for a busy family that wants to order in but doesn’t want pizza again.”
The Freemans were certainly busy, with two sons (now 17 and 13), a mom who worked in advertising, and Paul, a UCSB grad who went to culinary school and worked in Los Angeles kitchens for stars like Joachim Splichal (of Patina downtown) and Joe Miller (of Joe’s Restaurant in Venice), but he soon realized, “While I had a passion for food, I was more interested in the business side.”
That led to a career in tech consulting, but he never stopped cooking at home, including Sunday chicken night, so he took those well-honed recipes into the commercial kitchen space at Earl Warren Showgrounds and now delivers his roasted birds from Milpas Street to Fairview Avenue. Freeman hopes to expand deeper into Goleta but is already pleased with “all the great neighborhoods we have access to,” explaining, “There are 10,000-12,000 homes within three miles.”
Customers can order chicken, sauce, and sides à la carte or go with dinner combos like Italian (which comes with a lemon-basil pesto, Caesar salad, and roasted potatoes) or BBQ (which comes with smoky sauce, corn off the cob, and mustardy potato salad). “We’re also hoping to reintroduce the family dinner,” he said. “We have a higher purpose. I know at my house, if we get pizza, the slices wind up next to our boys’ computers in their rooms.”
The Chickens: “Probably the coolest piece of equipment is our rotisserie,” said Freeman. “It comes from a crusty old dude in New Jersey. He’s Old Man Chicken.” The birds get rubbed with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley and spin for an hour. They’re flavorful, tender, juicy, and neutral enough to get dressed up by any of the variety of sauces.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes: “I use Splichal’s trickery to make decadent mashed potatoes,” said Freeman of his former chef boss, and he really means it. You don’t get Patina-level potatoes that often, rich with so much cream and butter you wonder how it isn’t soup. It’s creamy good.
Hummus: “I was not a huge fan of hummus in general,” Freeman admitted, “but when I like it, I like it lemony.” His is wonderfully so, giving vegetarians one delicious option. He’s got a line on some tender pita, too.
Sautéed Vegetables: While this isn’t a menu item that cries out for attention, Freeman does it semi-ratatouille style: green and yellow squash, red peppers, red onion, and lots of oregano. Better yet, they don’t cook them to mush.
Smoky Texas BBQ Sauce: Freeman based this on Rudy’s in Austin. “I used to do a lot of business for Dell right near there,” he explained, “and the first thing I’d do when I arrived was go to Rudy’s.” Think zing, smoke, and a hint of heat.
Tangy Cuban Mojo Sauce: Freeman’s years in Los Angeles made him a fan of the mini-chain Versailles, which inspired this flavor profile. You’ve got to love garlic for this one, and he also special orders the bitter orange juice naranja agria for authenticity
Order Freeman’s Flying Chicken for delivery by calling (805) 765-9200 or see freemansflyingchicken.com.