I typically try to put a positive spin on living and eating out with celiac disease. But there’s nothing that gets my blood boiling more than a restaurant trying to take advantage of the gluten free trend by offering a gluten free menu without putting in place the proper measures needed to make the meal actually gluten free.
These restaurants have all either gotten me sick, have told me about practices I believe are dangerous, or have been negatively reviewed multiple times for their mistakes or bad service. While they may be okay for those trying out the gluten free “trend,” I wouldn’t recommend them for anyone with celiac disease or a serious need to avoid gluten.
- Pizzeria Paradiso – While Pizzeria Paradiso offers gluten free pizza, they have told me that none of their ingredients or preparation is separate from the regular pizzas. That means shared utensils and surfaces. I’ve voiced my concerns to their manager and walked out of their restaurant.
- Jackson’s 20 – It saddens me to add this place to the list, but they were misinformed and rude when I asked for a simple brunch meal of scrambled eggs and grits. They claimed that flour in the air would get me sick just sitting in the restaurant (?), and that real celiacs just shouldn’t eat out. A comment on Facebook confirmed this attitude for me.
- Masa 14 – A lot of people pat Masa 14 on the back for their gluten free menu, so this might just be my experience. Not only did I feel like a burden to my server, but they brought out a sauce containing gluten on my plate. I ate the sauce before the server came over to inform me that it had gluten, and that was the reason they had put it on the side. I got sick and won’t eat there again.
- Ping Pong Dim Sum – This place is widely known for being on DC’s most wanted list for bad gluten free menus. Actually, their menu isn’t gluten free, it’s “gluten friendly,” meaning that it’s only about 75% gluten free, and you have to grill the server for what is actually in everything. I wound up ordering the most plain things I could in an effort to not get glutened. See reviews on Yelp confirming.
- Domino’s – Another confirmed no-no for celiacs. Because they use the same ingredients, pans, and utensils as the regular pizzas you can bet there will be gluten all up in your pizza. Check out the FAQs from the NFCA for more information.
While Yelp and other online reviews aren’t always to be trusted, here are a few that I have put on my radar.
- Nature’s Table – “I explained to her that I asked for it as a bowl as I have a gluten intolerance. So what does she do? She tries to pour the contents of the burrito into a container rather than making it again!”
- Silver Diner – “Be very careful with their GF breakfast options. No separate griddle.” “Staff didn’t get the cross-contamination piece of things. Brought me my GF meal with a biscuit on the plate.”
Do you have any restaurants on your “never again” list? Tell me about them!