While many restaurants are improving greatly with their gluten-free offerings, there are still way too many that are woefully inadequate when it comes to presenting a tantalizing selection of dishes to gluten-free customers. Gluten can hide in the most unlikely of places, and every gluten-free eater has at one time or another suffered through a plain burger on a bed of iceburg lettuce, or been informed that the “seasoned” french fries at a restaurant are actually coated in flour. So what do I look for in a gluten-free menu?
For one, I want a major chain to advertise their gluten-free menu online, so I don’t have to cross my fingers and pray that I can actually enjoy my meal. I want gluten-free breads, pastas, and pizza dough to be available, and even better if it is homemade. I also want to be served by waitstaff who have a minimum of training and awareness about the menu, who understand the importance of getting a gluten-free order correct. Bonus points if a restaurant uses dedicated equipment to prepare gluten-free items. Here, I highlight the restaurants in the U.S. that really set the bar high for gluten-free dining.
BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse
With 180 locations coast to coast, and growing, BJ’s restaurants get a lot right. They take care of their employees, they are serious about the welfare of the animals that supply their meat, and they have one heck of a gluten-free menu! Choose from giant stuffed baked potatoes, a Peruvian quinoa bowl, barbecue chicken chopped salad, a wide range of soups and sides, and even a gluten-free, chocolate chip pizookie for dessert. Wash it down with gluten-free libations like Wyder’s pear cider or a selection of gluten-free beers.
British Beer Company
You’ll have to visit New England to get your own taste of merry ole’ England, gluten-free style. So far this super-cool chain of authentic British pubs has 14 locations that feature a unique atmosphere, events like trivia nights and live music, and the best gluten-free menu this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Menus vary slightly by location, but feature a jaw-dropping array of gluten-free goodies like burgers, club sandwiches, and a corned beef reuben, all made on a gluten-free bun. Pizzas are made on their own 12-inch gluten-free crusts, and they have lots more too, like shepherd’s pie, bubble and squeak potatoes, and a cured meat and cheese board for sharing.