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New Restaurant...need Your Input!

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My husband and I are interesting in opening up a 100% gluten free pizza/full service menu restaurant in Southeast Michigan. Target open date is approximately 1-2 years but we are gathering as much information as we possibly can about Celiac disease and the people it affects. My husband and I do not have Celiac, but a very close friend of mine has a son who was diagnosed and it gave us the idea to create a place where people with Celiac could come and eat and enjoy themselves and order ANYTHING they want off the menu without having to worry about cross contamination.

We are in the early planning stages, but wanted to find out what types of things you would like to see in the restaurant? What types of menu items? What would be a concern for you eating out?

Any information or suggestions you could provide to help us out would be appreciated. My husband has a degree in Culinary Arts and is a wonderful cook, so any book recomendations or anything would be great. Due to a life changing event that has occured we are able to open up a restaurant (my husbands life long dream) and are really excited about it but realize this type of restaurant will present challenges to us, as there is so much information and we want to be sure we do everything right and have a place that people will feel comfortable coming to.... We have many great ideas and with the help of my friend are heading in the right direction, but every bit of input will help us.

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to this and helping to make our dream of owning a gluten free restaurant become a reality!

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Wow, this sounds great. can you come to NJ? I will have to think.. about things I would look for.. I am sure you will get lots of input.. it must be so exciting!


Gluten free since October 05

son born severly premature due to


"True love stories never end" Richard Bach

"Did you ever stop thinking and forget to start again?" AA Milne

If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you" AA Milne

Swimming Instructor #2 and Town Crier of Rachelville

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Check out www.eatingglutenfree.com I keep telling these girls that they need to open a restaurant! Everything I've tried from the site has turned out great! Get their cookbook, it's my favorite! I'd love to be updated on your progress! I've thought about opening my own gluten-free restaurant. I thought about more of a cafe/bakery/pizza place, since most glutenous goodies I crave are baked goods. Hope it all goes well!


Born and raised in Portland, OR; Currently living in Provo, UT

Gluten-free since June 2006

Also living with Hypoglycemia since 1991

Dairy-free for good since summer 2008

Started IBS diet and probiotics at GI's recommendation - Fall 2008

Also avoiding: potatoes, beans, crucifers, popcorn, most red meat, coconut milk :(

Started eating a Paleo diet Spring 2011. Love it!

The grass is always greener where you water it.

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My first suggestion is move it to Atlanta :)

Ok, second, if you are looking for books, I bought Danna Korn's Wheat Free Worry Free when I was diagnosed a year ago and thought it was great. Also, a lot of people recommend Peter Green's "Celiac Disease - A Hidden Epidemic" (I think that's what it's called) - Dr. Green is a well respected celiac dr.

As far as the food, pizza and beer would probably be a hit! Salads are easy - just skip croutons (you could make those little cheese crisp/cracker things to put on instead - those are yummy!) and you could even do breadsticks/calzone, etc. Tinkyada seems to be the most popular brand of gluten-free spaghetti around here, so you could use that to offer spaghetti/ziti, etc. Cross contamination is the main thing, so if you are also making anything with regular (gluten) flours, you would need to make sure it is in a separate part of the kitchen and you use separate pans, etc. Flour flies everywhere so you'd need to be really careful with that!

Good luck!

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This is my dream:

I would love good vegetable dishes and sauces without cream, fruit desserts. I'm not a steak, potatoe, salad kind of gal. I respect the skill that it takes to do vegetables well. My husband and I loved to order a large interesting assortment of appetizers/side dishes consisting of lots of veggies, some seafood and potatoes and rice all well but not necessarily strongly flavored and share. All things that could be easily, naturally gluten-free but I'm too afraid cross contamination and not up to asking all the questions about such a variety of dishes and ingredients. I feel pretty happy these days if I can get three very basic items that are safe and don't go out very often anymore. Foods from a variety of cultures would be nice too.

Me: GLUTEN-FREE 7/06, multiple food allergies, T2 DIABETES DX 8/08, LADA-Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, Who knew food allergies could trigger an autoimmune attack on the pancreas?! 1/11 Re-DX T1 DM, pos. DQ2 Celiac gene test 9/11

Son: ADHD '06,

neg. CELIAC PANEL 5/07

ALLERGY: "positive" blood and skin tests to wheat, which triggers his eczema '08

ENTEROLAB testing: elevated Fecal Anti-tissue Transglutaminase IgA Dec. '08

Gluten-free-Feb. '09

other food allergies

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My first suggestion is Move to TX :lol:

OK, now that that is out of the way.

1) I miss a variety of choices in resturants. It seems I am usually limited to just a couple of things everywhere I go.

2) Many of us have additional intolerances in addition to Gluten, so maybe list all ingredients. In my case it is soy and I get "soyed" way more often than I get gluttened.

3) You might also consider a Kosher menu. I know the resturant in Dallas that is 100% gluten free has a lot of Jewish customers because of dietary restrictions.

4) Have vegan options available too.

As you can see by the number of members on this forum, there is a market for this type of place. I might even come visit Michigen to eat there, but only during the summer-this southern girl does not handle the cold very well.

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A kosher menu might be tough to do if you are not kosher yourself. Meat and cheese can not be served together nor stored together. So that might make it tough for a pizza place.

Of course being honest with your customers is a must! We used to have a gluten free restaurant in this area that was not. The owner sold me a brownie for my daughter after hearing of her additional food allergies, assuring me it was safe for her to eat. Imagine my surprise when she got sick later that night.

On a subsequent visit, I found some brownies in their self serve freezer and they had a list of ingredients. They included eggs after the owner had assured me they were egg free.

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What a great thing for you guys to do. There's definitely a market for it, which will only get bigger in the next year or two.

First off, since your husband went to cooking school - Spelt, kamut, sprouted grains, wheat grass all have gluten. For some reason some cooking schools are still teaching to use spelt as an alternative to wheat, which doesn't make any sense because it actually has more gluten.

One of the things I would love to see is SAUCES. I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour to make all my sauces. It works and tastes just the same as regular flour. I make Bechamel and Mornay sauces like this quite a bit and the flavor doesn't suffer at all. One of the drawbacks to eating out gluten-free is that you end up with no sauces or gravies.

Homemade croutons are easy to make. You just make them out of gluten-free bread.

Desserts of course - Pies and cakes. For the kids you can also get gluten-free ice cream cones. Barkat makes them. I know there are a couple others but that's what I've got in my cabinet right now.

A kid's menu. With pizza you're halfway there, of course. Maybe a soft-serve ice cream bar, with all the different toppings to choose from? Or even regular ice cream, but they get a little divided tray with different toppings to choose from. Might be better that way for kids with other intolerances to keep things seperate. Maybe something other than pizza too like chicken nuggets, hot dogs or hamburgers for kids who don't like pizza (my son won't touch it).

Have a strict (firing offense) no-gluten allowed policy with all employees, washing hands thoroughly when they get there. It would be way too easy for someone to get sick because they came in with gluten on their hands, or brought a sandwich to work. (Remember Typhoid Mary?) If someone doesn't seem to take this VERY seriously or has an eye-rolling attitude about it, they shouldn't work for you.

Some gluten-free cocktails would be good.

I'd also like to see mainstream food trends show up in the menu. It would be nice to be able to try some of the things that regular restaurants do. Fondue is big right now, not sure if it will be in a couple years of course, but whatever is up and coming in mainstream restaurants.

Can't wait to hear how all of this progresses.


The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.

~Chinese Proverb

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I live in Sterling Heights MI. I wish you two luck on opening your restaurant. Wendy

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For us we'd suggest that the selections be made in a fashion that it's easy to "hold" other accompanyments; for instance, customer may not want the Fish selection with the spicy gluten-free sauce as the customer cannot eat/tolerate spices and soy (like someone mentioned). Make the selections easy for the chef to make these adaptations.

Use gluten-free bread (of course) -

My husband misses having soup in restaurant - chicken rice/chicken noodle. So gluten-free soup sounds good to us.

Take out!

Will you do your own baking (breads, cakes, etc.)?

Husband has Celiac Disease and

Husband misdiagnosed for 27 yrs -

The misdiagnosis was: IBS or colitis

Mis-diagnosed from 1977 to 2003 by various gastros including one of the largest,

most prestigious medical groups in northern NJ which constantly advertises themselves as

being the "best." This GI told him it was "all in his head."

Serious Depressive state ensued

Finally Diagnosed with celiac disease in 2003

Other food sensitivities: almost all fruits, vegetables, spices, eggs, nuts, yeast, fried foods, roughage, soy.

Needs to gain back at least 25 lbs. of the 40 lbs pounds he lost - lost a great amout of body fat and muscle

Developed neuropathy in 2005

Now has lymphadema 2006It is my opinion that his subsequent disorders could have been avoided had he been diagnosed sooner by any of the dozen or so doctors he saw between 1977 to 2003

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Definitely offer take out and/or delivery.

Google: Jules Thin Crust - They are doing the same thing in PA right now.

I would recommend ALL gluten-free, which I think is what you're suggesting. Then there are no CC issues! You don't have to market it that way - it could just work out that way.

I miss appetizers. So many choices on most menus are off limits.

Good luck!


Gluten Free since 4/05 - adult onset

Symptoms for 4+ years prior

Immediate family tests negative

No Known family members w/ celiac disease

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