As someone who has a gluten allergy, I found that moving from Florida to California was a refreshing change. It seems like restaurants in California know a lot more about gluten, allergy vs. diet choice, and cross-contamination.
My gluten allergy is intense, although I don’t have celiac disease. I get serious bouts of gastrointestinal distress and break out into large, itchy, burning red welts. You can read about it HERE.
Since I know how frustrating it can be to go out to eat when avoiding gluten, I’ve found several places that are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful, and I wanted to share. I chose chain restaurants since they are easily found around the country and can help in a pinch, especially when travelling. It also helps that these places have a varied menu and can accommodate a lot of different tastes.
1 – Rainforest Café – This place truly surprised me. When I mentioned I had a gluten allergy, the waiter told me a manager would come out to talk to me about the gluten free options on the menu. When the manager arrived, he was beyond helpful and wrote down my order on a special pink pad of paper – which indicated to the chef that my meal was to be treated with kid gloves. The chef brought out my meal, and the manager quickly came over to make sure everything was acceptable. The food was absolutely delicious, and I experienced no reaction.
2 – Blaze Pizza – They have gluten free dough, and when you tell them you have an allergy, they will change their gloves and wipe the counters down. The pizza is delicious, and I love that you can select as many toppings as you want.
3 – Jersey Mikes – They recently added GF bread as an option, and their employees will also change gloves and wash the counters to avoid cross contamination. It’s nice to be able to get a delicious sub and not worry.
4 – BJs Brewhouse and Restaurant – They have a wide variety of gluten free options: chicken, pizza, tacos, salads, etc. On top of that, they have a gluten free pizookie and even GF beer! If you don’t know what a pizookie is, you are missing out – check it out HERE!
5 – Red Robin Gourmet Burgers – When you want a delicious burger and fries, this is the place to go. They have gluten free buns and steak fries! It’s so difficult to find a place that has GF fries because the fryers are typically cross-contaminated.
I hope these options are helpful for those who are trying to navigate the sometimes difficult path of being gluten free. If you have other suggestions, I would love to hear about them in the comments section!