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Virgil's Bbq In Nyc

2 posts in this topic

Before I was diagnosed, we used to eat at Virgil's BBQ sometimes when we were in NYC and loved it. But when I went gluten-free, I stopped eating there because their barbecue sauce contained soy sauce. Recently, though, my mom suggested we eat there and I thought it was worth a try to see if they'd changed the menu in the past six or eight years, so I looked online and found mentions of them having a gluten-free menu, then called to confirm. I stupidly figured that if a barbecue place said they had a gluten-free menu, that would mean I could, you know, eat some barbecue there.

Well, when we showed up, first off it turned out they didn't have the printed menus because they're having them redone. Fine, that's responsible of them. The waiter seemed to know the menu well and be well informed about what contained gluten. But the barbecue sauce still has gluten! So basically I could have meat without sauce, which is not exactly what I'd expect when I'm told by a barbecue restaurant that they have a gluten-free menu.

That was disappointing, but my mom and I were fine with just saying thanks, but we're leaving. Then as we got up to go, the waiter started trying to persuade us to stay, even employing the "you can have a salad" line. Thanks, but in Manhattan, I can do better. Then he sent a manager-type over to argue with us! I ended up feeling really stupid because I'm standing there trying to get my coat on and collect my things, having a yelling fight with someone I didn't want to be talking to to begin with.

It was so obnoxious I had to come here and report on it. Honestly, there are many towns where the gluten-free options they have would be welcome and stand out. But in Manhattan, you just have to do better if you're going to say anything more to people than "we can tell you what menu items are naturally gluten free, but almost everything contains gluten." So, if you're in Manhattan and you want barbecue, go to Blue Smoke and don't believe Virgil's when they tell you you can eat there.


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I had lunch at Virgils on 1/17/13. Been gluten free since 2003.

I told the waiter I was gluten-free and he suggested I have one of their salads. I had grilled chicken salad... should be safe, right? A beautifully arranged salad arrived with grilled chicken on top. The chicken was seasoned and I foolishly ate it. Several hours later I started to feel ill and still do this morning.

Never again.


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