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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    More than Half of All Chain Restaurants to Offer Gluten-free Dishes

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 11/06/2014 - The results of restaurant supply-chain co-op SpenDifference’s menu price survey indicate that more than half of all restaurant chains plan to offer gluten-free menu items in 2014.

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons--CW221The third menu price survey said nine percent of surveyed restaurants are already offering organic products, 36 percent use local products, 53 percent offer light- and low-calorie options, and 55 percent have gluten-free items.

    The report echoes earlier reports that the strong and steady uptick in the demand for gluten-free foods, and is reinforced by SpenDifference president and chief executive officer Maryanne Rose, who says that the growing demand for low-calorie and gluten-free menu items will “be with us for a long time.

    Many specialty restaurants, now offers gluten-free menus. To get an idea of your gluten-free options, Gluten-free Guide HQ offers a good list of 75 Essential Gluten Free Restaurant Menus from a number of major food purveyors that runs the gamut from fast food and casual to more upscale.


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    Always educational to ask if their gluten free food is safe for celiacs. Some outright say no, others take more precautions if they know you need gluten-free in order to not get sick. And always, if something goes wrong with your order, or there's any mix up at all, don't eat it. Even the safest restaurants on the list will occasionally mix something up (unless they are 100% gluten free).

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    To the person who thinks Mozzarelli's on 23rd street in Manhattan is totally gluten-free, you're wrong. The gluten-free slices/pies are up top. The "regular" pies are on the bottom. Elon and the other chefs there are a godsend to a celiac, and an example of doing gluten-free right in a not fully gluten-free environment. They have been doing gluten-free for a few years now, and used to to "gluten free Sunday" where once a month all the food was gluten-free. They even made Zeppoles. Mozzarelli's is a case of a dedicated chef and we'll trained staff and defined gluten-free procedures/utensils/dedicated space. I believe they started because a family member was diagnosed as Celiac. A good resource to find gluten-free options is "find me gluten free". I've used it nationwide and it's been really helpful when I'm not at home. Its a free app, I have it on my galaxy. I don't know if it's in Itunes or not. The app has accurate celiac reviews and places are rated "Celiac Safe" or just gluten free. I've found some new places to eat, and avoided others because of that app. Anyway, while this article isn't really helpful, it could be worse.

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    The only restaurant I trust is Pizzeria Uno that get their gluten-free pizzas frozen, and they reheat them sealed. There's also a seafood restaurant in Chatham that only offers gluten-free, all their fried foods are dipped in corn flour, and deep fried, so there's no contamination at all,

    Cannot trust any other place

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    Most of these "gluten free' options are just a matter of telling us to order a burger without a bun, to not have anything with breading or pasta, or other such self-obvious things. In no way does having a "gluten free" menu mean that they go the extra mile to offer gluten-free bread, pasta, or take a single step into giving us good options. I cannot get excited over a restaurant that expects me to conform to their menu.

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    It's just not safe to eat anywhere gluten free, I ask for the manger and I still get sick. Really Scary when you are traveling and have to stop and eat. We went to Cracker Barrel. And I only had a salad and within 10 minuets , I was sick...my husband wanted to leave me there I was so sick and we were 10 hours from home. I ate at Apple Bees, they promised me everything would be Gluten free and I was sick for 3 days....wrote to main office, no one did anything. Didn't even offer my $9.99 back. No one cares...I own my Own Bakery that is Not gluten free but I bake some stuff and tell my customers I bake in a different part of my bakery and try to be very very careful. I ask them Not to eat my gluten-free baked gooks if they are super sensitive. I work with flour everyday...I have had my own bakery for over 20 years so I have to just hope things don't get worse for me because at 59 I don't want to go,out and work for anyone else..I wish everyone that claims to serve gluten-free would be more careful, it scares the hell out of me to go out and eat. I tell the waitress 20 times to ask the cooks in the kitchen to please be very careful not to make me sick from cross containamatin and ruin the next three days for me. Most don't care..and the price increase for us is just awful...I wish the government would step in and stop the madness...we can afford it. Thanks for listening to my rant...so tired of us gluten-free people getting abused day after day...

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    I agree with all the comments above. I am thankful for how far we have come, but we still need to move farther into educating the food industry that cross-contamination is serious. I am tired of being sick most often when I eat out. I am tired of the disclaimers of "gluten friendly". What does that even mean? If I told someone I had a peanut allergy you can bet they would definitely ensure that peanuts do not touch my meal - why is gluten any different. I would prefer the food industry to be honest with me and say I can not promise so that I can make an informed decision. Again we have come along ways but please continue to advocate to address cross contamination. I would be very interested to know if the study included a survey on the individuals that ate at the restaurant and what their experience was. This would ensure that they are truly able to meet the needs of gluten free diets.

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    Still need to be vigilant for cross-contamination. Many of these have offered a gluten-free menu, but don't necessarily understand the need to cook separately with separate (and clean) cooking surfaces and utensils.

    I so agree...for those folks who just avoid gluten they have no problem, but for those of us who have celiac cross-contamination is a huge issue!

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    Still need to be vigilant for cross-contamination. Many of these have offered a gluten-free menu, but don't necessarily understand the need to cook separately with separate (and clean) cooking surfaces and utensils.

    Excellent advice-thanks for reminding!

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    Yeah, not surprised at all that over half of restaurants these days have **BULL$---** Gluten Free Menus! 99% percent of supposed gluten-free menus are a lie. Of those that claim to have a gluten-free menu, 1% or less can actually deliver a safe meal to a celiac.

     

    I'm also tired of this crap. We should be able to eat out and lead a normal life. I'm sick of being sick and told how ' "easy" I have it because of all these damn poseurs when the truth is that it's anything BUT easy. In fact after 9 years, the more popular the gluten-free diet gets and the more dietary backlash we get for suffering from this disease, the harder it gets to eat out, travel, etc. UGH.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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