At times, Celiac can feel like a sentence to eat in all the time.  In general, I would much rather be at home anyway and especially with a toddler, it is easier to stay, but sometimes it’s nice to go out.  Or at least know I have the option to go out.

I’ll never forget four years ago when friends of ours learned how to cook gluten free just so they could have us over for dinner.  It meant so much to me and we continued to do dinners with each other over the next few years.  Luckily since then, an increasing number of restaurants have started carrying gluten free menus as well.  Below is definitely not a comprehensive list of restaurants with gluten free offerings but they are some of our favorites.

Chain Restaurants

PF Changs –  Most Chinese food is a no go because of wheat in soy sauce, but PF Changs has its own gluten free menu and serves gluten free dishes on different plates so that you know you are getting the correct dish.  They also have an amazing gluten free chocolate torte for only a few dollars.  Easy takeout as well.

Outback- Outback has its own gluten free menu.  While it can be hard not to crave their tasty bread which is definitely not gluten free, their wide variety of menu selections at reasonable prices makes it a favorite.

Five Guys– Confession: I have a weakness for Five Guys.  Greasy and delicious.  Also, super gluten free friendly.  Here is why: they will make burgers without a bun (served in a tray or wrapped in lettuce instead) and also only fry potatoes in their fryer.  No breaded chicken fingers or onion rings to be found on their menu.  This means that the the fryer is not contaminated with gluten.  They also ask if it is an allergy when you order a bunless burger and the guys change their gloves to make your burger.

Chipotle- The only thing glutenous on the menu are the flour tortillas (for burritos, soft tacos, and quesadillas).  This leaves bowls, salad, and crunchy tacos full of any of the delicious toppings you desire.

Maggiano’s- They make gluten free pasta dishes.  Very delicious but they don’t have many health conscious options and is more expensive than we traditionally dine out for.

Local favorites

If you are lucky enough to live in Richmond, here are some local treats that you have to try

Pearl’s Cupcake Shoppe– I cannot describe how good these cupcakes are.  One of my students a few years ago worked at the shoppe and brought me a leftover gluten free cupcake.  I’ll be honest, I thought she made a mistake and I was going to get sick.  It was far too good to be gluten free.  Nope, it really was gluten free.  They carry a few gluten free flavors everyday and post them to their facebook page.  The husband knows that bringing home flowers is lost on me…now he brings home Pearl’s cupcakes instead.  Located at Libbie & Grove.  Get in the car and go now.

Cheese Roll Shop- A truly hidden gem.  It is in an alley to the left of Richmond Camera on Patterson.  They make Brazilian cheese rolls which are naturally gluten free.  I can eat handfuls of them hot out of the oven.  They don’t keep well, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem around here 😉

Baker’s Crust; Short Pump- Baker’s Crust in Short Pump has gluten free bread for sandwiches and delicious salad offerings.  I enjoy a half gluten free sandwich and half salad or soup.  It really does hit the spot and is perfect for lunch or dinner with the girls.

Buz and Ned’s Barbecue– Such delicious BBQ and conveniently located with their new place.  Their manager even took time to email me a list of everything that contains gluten since they do not have a published gluten free menu.  Safe to eat items include: pork, chicken, beef barbecue and ribs; bourbon apples; baked beans; coleslaw; cuke & onion salad; country greens

Hopefully for those eating gluten free this will give you some more ideas of places to go.  Again, it is definitely not an exhaustive list, but plenty of yummy, gluten free healthy goodness.

Now go get a Pearl’s Cupcake and have your life changed!