Driving for Dinner: Free Bird in Lumsden

Lumsden’s James Street North is home to plenty of local businesses worth visiting, and right in the middle of it all, you’ll find one restaurant making quite the name for itself – Free Bird.

photo credit Eric Cox

Chef and co-owner JP Vives says the focus at Free Bird is on doing “common food uncommonly well,” and it’s certainly a fitting motto. With a menu chock-full of favourites like sourdough pizza, shrimp tacos and truffle fries, you’ll have a hard time choosing what to try first.

photo credit Eric Cox

“I love home-cooked meals and comfort food, and I like to throw my own little twist on things,” Vives said. “I don’t get too fancy with extravagant plates, but I’m always surprised at the amount of people who are open-minded to trying new things, and I feature those sorts of things every now and then too. I want the food to be unique but somewhat familiar.”

photo credit Free Bird

If you’re feeling adventurous, Free Bird’s rotating menu options ensure there’s always something new to try. There are also several vegetarian options. Try the crispy fried buffalo tofu, baked feta, or jalapeno and corn fritters, which are all a perfect way to start your meal.

photo credit Free Bird

If you make a weekend out of visiting Lumsden, Free Bird also offers a Sunday brunch, complete with plenty of comfort food options. The breakfast poutine features chorizo, a poached egg and hollandaise sauce, while the French toast is made with sourdough bread and topped with fresh berries. If you’re a fan of Eggs Benedict, Free Bird definitely has you covered. With a classic, veggie, and smoked salmon benny on the menu, you can’t go wrong.

photo credit Free Bird

Vives grew up in Lumsden and loves contributing to the town’s vibrant community spirit. Whenever possible, he hosts events at Free Bird too, like fundraisers or live music with local artists (check Facebookfor COVID-19-specific event information). He’s also keen on sourcing ingredients from other businesses in the area, including Heliotrope Organic Farm for seasonal produce, and Jane Dough’s Bakehouse and Coffee Company, which supplies all of Free Bird’s freshly baked hamburger buns. Spirits from Lumsden’s Last Mountain Distillery can also be found featured throughout the drink menu.

“I’m all about this community and whatever I can do here,” Vives said. “People in the community are super supportive of us. I try to utilize the community as much as I can, because if they’re busy, we’re busy. It’s just people helping people.”

Make it a day trip or a weekend

Turn a meal at Free Bird into a day trip or a weekend and explore what the Lumsden area has to offer.

Where to stay

If you’re looking to stay right in town, the Lumsden Hotel & Steak Pit offers various types of rooms, plus has an in-house restaurant. Lumsden is also just a 30-minute drive from downtown Regina, so if you want to stay in the city, check out Regina’s many hotels.

What to see/do

photo supplied by The Painted Parasol

In town, James Street North is the place to be! Check out Thr3e Clothing Connection to do a bit of shopping, where you’ll find women’s clothing, shoes and accessories, all curated for every season. Next, head to The Painted Parasol Gift & Toy, which is home to a large selection of giftware, home decor, books, gardenware, and more, including many items that are made in Saskatchewan. In warmer months, Sweet Treats Ice Cream Shoppe also operates from The Painted Parasol’s front patio, and is the perfect way to cap off a day of browsing and shopping. For your daily coffee fix, visit Jane Dough’s Bakehouse and Coffee Company. The extensive bakery menu is all made-from-scratch, with breakfast and lunch on offer if you’re looking to pick up a meal to-go.

photo supplied by Jane Doughs Bakehouse and Coffee Company 

Bonus points

Lumsden is the home of Last Mountain Distillery, which was Saskatchewan’s very first micro-distillery. Established in 2010, Last Mountain Distillery’s spirits – notably the dill pickle vodka – have become well-loved favourites around the province and beyond. Visit the distillery for a tour (dependent on COVID-19, so call ahead and check if tours are available) and to purchase from the storefront.


Free Bird is located at 240 James Street North in Lumsden, SK. For more information and hours, visit its website. Free Bird and one of its recipes will also be featured in Naomi Hansen’s forthcoming book, Only in Saskatchewan: Recipes & Stories from the Province’s Best-loved Eateries. Visit www.naomihansen.ca for more information.


Author: Naomi Hansen

Naomi Hansen is a writer and editor based in Saskatoon, SK. She is the author of the forthcoming book Only in Saskatchewan: Recipes & Stories from the Province’s Best-loved Eateries, which will be published by TouchWood Editions in April 2022. Find her on Instagram @onlyinsaskatchewan, Twitter @naomihansen_ or at www.naomihansen.ca