In my experience, about 10% of bars with true “bar food” offer anything that’s gluten free. Even if there is something that’s edible, like chicken wings, bar food is one of the riskiest types of fare for celiacs. It’s typically fried, made in a rush, and kitchens are less likely to make substitutions. If I’m absolutely starving at a bar I typically order nachos, after checking that the chips come from a package and are made from corn, and any toppings are also gluten free. But who wants to go through that hassle when you’re at a bar trying to relax?
That’s why I’m all about going to bars that allow you to bring your own food. In DC, it’s possible for bars to get a “tavern license,” which allows them to sell booze and not food. Then you can order delivery from nearby restaurants that you know you can eat at safely, or bring in your own food, whether it be a bag of popcorn or a box of cereal and milk.
For celiacs, that means that you can 1) ensure that your food is completely gluten free and 2) avoid that whole rigmarole of talking to servers and chefs to figure out what you can eat.
Here are some BYOF options in DC:
Let me know if I’m missing any! Cheers!
I’ve been thinking a lot about Think Thin bars since I watch this video on their website about why they make their products gluten free.
Gluten Free Diet Facts: Video by ThinkThin from ThinkThinTV on Vimeo.
The CEO of Think Thin has been gluten free for 12 years, and I love that the company is expanding and products are available in more and more stores.
Think thin bars also recently went through a label makeover, from this:
Love the new look since it makes it much easier to determine which flavor you’re picking up; I can hone in on the blue icon to find my favorite white chocolate chip ones.
These are a great meal replacement, post-workout, or big snack option for me, since they have no sugar and 20 grams of protein. Similar to Larabars, they are amazing frozen as well. The Think Thin Bites are even better, since they’re half the size and usually I only want to eat a few bites of the big ones at a time.
The only thing that I have to complain about with Think Thin bars is that their marketing strategy seems off to me. As far as I know, they are the only true gluten free protein bar (besides things like Kind bars that have natural protein from nuts in them). But by marketing themselves as “weight management” bars, I think that they are actually a turn off to the gluten free community. Maybe it’s just me, but I get immediately turned off when gluten free products try to hand hold with weight loss products. I don’t want to “think thin”, I just want a dang snack that will fill me up and not make me sick. It also seemed off to me that the CEO said that Think Thin was based off of “food that brings back her Italian heritage” and cooking in the kitchen with her grandparents? I don’t know when I ever cooked with protein blend isolate or maitol with my grandma. But I appreciate the sentiment.