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Eatting gluten-free In Omaha

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Going to Omaha - any suggestions of restaurants in Omaha that are safe?

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While nothing is jumping out as rated by many, my resource suggests you consider the following:

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Hu Hot Mongolian Grill

Godfather's Pizza

Bonefish Grill (on the basis of GFRAP certification)

Fazoli's

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don't they have a PF Changs? HyVee groceries usually have a good selection of gluten-free, some a better selection then WF.

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Yes, they do have a P.F. Chang's in Omaha... and yes, that is generally a highly-recommended chain amongst gluten-free diners.

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I live in Omaha. Over the past 8 years since I was diagnosed the number of choices have exploded. I will highlight some local and smaller chains. What part of town will you be in?

Downtown/Old Market

Jackson Street Tavern (gluten-free Menu, a server there tells me the Chef's wife has Celiac) their Duck Taco's are awesome.

M's Pub

Vivace (including pasta)

Midtown:

Blue Planet Natural Grill

Jams

Mark's Bistro

Crystal Jade

Jones Brother's Cupcakes has gluten-free Cupcakes daily

West:

Lazlo's (one of my favorites)

Pudggy's Pizzeria (Great gluten-free Pizza and Redbridge) - they use gluten-free flour for dusting of all pizza's to limit cross-contamination

7M Grill

Firebirds

There are plenty of chains in town too. Gluten Free Registry has a good number of them listed.

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We are always so excited to get to go to Omaha because of all the great gluten free options there. My very favorite is Biaggis. It is fantastic and they have a very large gluten-free menu. Last week we ate at Carrabbas. They too were great. Both offer delicious bread with the dipping oils. Sam and Louis make great gluten-free pizza there. I often stop in the Old Market at Bliss for their gluten-free cupcakes. I have eaten at aseveral places in the Old Market that offer gluten-free, they all seem very informed and helpful.

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I would add on to the other Omaha's residents recommendations...

Speezio's is one of my regular stops - lots of seafood and gluten free pasta

Crave in Mid-town

Jason's Deli has a very large Gluten Free Menu, including Gluten free bread

Sam & Louis Gluten Free Pizza, hold the cheese is good for Celiac + Lactose

Ryan's Bistro - gluten free Mac n cheese (I've never tried it because I'm also lactose intolerant)

Blue Sushi has a Gluten Free Menu, but it's a little limited

I'd like to 2nd Firebirds and Lazlos, really great options there

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My wife was diagnosed roughly two years ago, and all I can say is that cross-contamination is the biggest enemy in this town.   We have chosen to limit ourselves to a very few restaurants that we know are excellent on cc and have never gotten my wife sick after multiple visits.

Chain restaurants: 

  • P.F. Chang's has dedicated kitchen space and utensils and even plates up the gluten-free meals on different plates so everybody knows it's gluten-free.  Make sure to ask for the gluten-free soy sauce, as the standard bottle at the table is not going to work for you.
  • Uncle Maddio's does good pizza the right way.  As soon as they hear the magic words, the kitchen staff swaps gloves. One person wipes down the entire "make" station while the gluten-free skin is brought in on a pan so it never touches anything that had gluten on it, including the oven.  There is a second cooler that is opened up with all the gluten-free ingredients in their own dedicated bins, so no cross contamination going into the oven, none coming out, and they have a dedicated cutting board and blade just for gluten-free pizza.  And it's pretty good pizza.
  • Red Robin (at least, the one in the Shadow Lake area of Papillion) uses a dedicated area of the grill for burgers that will not be touched by anyone who has handled food with gluten, and there is a dedicated fryer for the steak fries only - all the kid meal chicken nuggets, onion rings, and fried fish are done in other fryers.
  • Five Guys only does burgers and fries, so the fryer is completely safe unless you have the double whammy of a nut allergy as they use only peanut oil. When you indicate Celiac or a gluten allergy, the crew at the 72nd street location in Papillion calls out to everyone so they know.  Gloves are changed, a section of the grill is cleaned, and one person manages the order all the way through until they hand it to you.
  • Chipotle will accommodate if you ask them to change their gloves before making your rice bowl.  I've seen them training in new people and showing them that the bowl never touches the make station, with one person walking the meal all the way through holding the bowl in hand until the lid goes on.
  • Longhorn Steakhouse has a lot of gluten being passed around, but my wife has been there several times and never had a problem.  She sticks to basic steak, baked potato, and steamed veggies.  Multiple locations, no problem at any of them.

Local restaurants:

  • Dugger's Cafe is a must-do for the gluten-free crowd.  It's on the main drag (Dodge St) and nestled next to a theater being refurbished.  The owner is also the head cook and his wife has Celiac, so he knows his business.  The diner is packed and homey, the staff are fantastic, and it has great food for really good prices, but the best part is knowing it's safe.  gluten-free French toast, desserts, sandwiches and melts, etc. Even small details like the syrup being made from scratch in-house means you are covered. Easy to over-eat here, though.  Only open for breakfast and lunch.
  • Treetop cafe at the zoo has gluten-free prepared meals.  It's not super fresh, but they have multiple options you can grab and take with you as you trek around the zoo while everyone else is horking down hot dogs and pretzels.
  • Fuel Fit is a chain that started out for gym rats (high protein, low-carb meals) but just happens to have 90% of their meals (anything not a wrap) gluten-free.  That includes the yogurt parfait cups, which use gluten-free granola.  The meals are cooked up in town twice a week, so be sure to check the sell-by dates.  Not really intended to be an eat-in restaurant, but it's a convenient meal to snag on the go, to take as lunches to work, or to haul along on road trips when you know you can't eat the convenience food everyone else is eating.

There are many chains and local restaurants that advertise gluten-free menus or options, but they don't do very good at training their people or making sure the orders are right.  One local chain whose name sounds like a patch of grain on farmer's land (did that avoid a lawsuit?) served a gluten-free dish but - unbeknownst to my wife - was covered in regular gravy rather than the gluten-free version.  A local pizza chain with a name that rhymes with Rio's has a gluten-free crust, but they use the same toppings as the regular products and don't change gloves, cook it in the same oven with the crust bare on the oven surface ("It's okay, the oven burns off the gluten!"), and cuts the pizza on the same board with the same knife as non-gluten-free; their Greek salad is safe, though.

Just a few things we've experienced recently (2015-2017) to keep in mind when you venture to Omaha.

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On 2/21/2017 at 1:45 PM, WWehrs said:

My wife was diagnosed roughly two years ago, and all I can say is that cross-contamination is the biggest enemy in this town.   We have chosen to limit ourselves to a very few restaurants that we know are excellent on cc and have never gotten my wife sick after multiple visits.

Chain restaurants: 

  • P.F. Chang's has dedicated kitchen space and utensils and even plates up the gluten-free meals on different plates so everybody knows it's gluten-free.  Make sure to ask for the gluten-free soy sauce, as the standard bottle at the table is not going to work for you.
  • Uncle Maddio's does good pizza the right way.  As soon as they hear the magic words, the kitchen staff swaps gloves. One person wipes down the entire "make" station while the gluten-free skin is brought in on a pan so it never touches anything that had gluten on it, including the oven.  There is a second cooler that is opened up with all the gluten-free ingredients in their own dedicated bins, so no cross contamination going into the oven, none coming out, and they have a dedicated cutting board and blade just for gluten-free pizza.  And it's pretty good pizza.
  • Red Robin (at least, the one in the Shadow Lake area of Papillion) uses a dedicated area of the grill for burgers that will not be touched by anyone who has handled food with gluten, and there is a dedicated fryer for the steak fries only - all the kid meal chicken nuggets, onion rings, and fried fish are done in other fryers.
  • Five Guys only does burgers and fries, so the fryer is completely safe unless you have the double whammy of a nut allergy as they use only peanut oil. When you indicate Celiac or a gluten allergy, the crew at the 72nd street location in Papillion calls out to everyone so they know.  Gloves are changed, a section of the grill is cleaned, and one person manages the order all the way through until they hand it to you.
  • Chipotle will accommodate if you ask them to change their gloves before making your rice bowl.  I've seen them training in new people and showing them that the bowl never touches the make station, with one person walking the meal all the way through holding the bowl in hand until the lid goes on.
  • Longhorn Steakhouse has a lot of gluten being passed around, but my wife has been there several times and never had a problem.  She sticks to basic steak, baked potato, and steamed veggies.  Multiple locations, no problem at any of them.

Local restaurants:

  • Dugger's Cafe is a must-do for the gluten-free crowd.  It's on the main drag (Dodge St) and nestled next to a theater being refurbished.  The owner is also the head cook and his wife has Celiac, so he knows his business.  The diner is packed and homey, the staff are fantastic, and it has great food for really good prices, but the best part is knowing it's safe.  gluten-free French toast, desserts, sandwiches and melts, etc. Even small details like the syrup being made from scratch in-house means you are covered. Easy to over-eat here, though.  Only open for breakfast and lunch.
  • Treetop cafe at the zoo has gluten-free prepared meals.  It's not super fresh, but they have multiple options you can grab and take with you as you trek around the zoo while everyone else is horking down hot dogs and pretzels.
  • Fuel Fit is a chain that started out for gym rats (high protein, low-carb meals) but just happens to have 90% of their meals (anything not a wrap) gluten-free.  That includes the yogurt parfait cups, which use gluten-free granola.  The meals are cooked up in town twice a week, so be sure to check the sell-by dates.  Not really intended to be an eat-in restaurant, but it's a convenient meal to snag on the go, to take as lunches to work, or to haul along on road trips when you know you can't eat the convenience food everyone else is eating.

There are many chains and local restaurants that advertise gluten-free menus or options, but they don't do very good at training their people or making sure the orders are right.  One local chain whose name sounds like a patch of grain on farmer's land (did that avoid a lawsuit?) served a gluten-free dish but - unbeknownst to my wife - was covered in regular gravy rather than the gluten-free version.  A local pizza chain with a name that rhymes with Rio's has a gluten-free crust, but they use the same toppings as the regular products and don't change gloves, cook it in the same oven with the crust bare on the oven surface ("It's okay, the oven burns off the gluten!"), and cuts the pizza on the same board with the same knife as non-gluten-free; their Greek salad is safe, though.

Just a few things we've experienced recently (2015-2017) to keep in mind when you venture to Omaha.

That's a great list with such great info!  Do you eat at Shucks?

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