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Wheat Free, Gluten Free, Celiac Safe Restaurants or Cafe's in Chicago

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  • Shine Oct 4, 2006 06:48 AM
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Greetings all!

I recently moved to Chicago from Toronto and I have been looking for a Celiac-saavy restaurant or Cafe. Can anyone suggest places for me to check out?

Whether it is a place that has Celiac considerations on their menu, or a cafe/coffee shop that offers a gluten free dessert or sweet options as a part of their selection.

I do the whole calling ahead to the restaurant thing, eating at Whole Foods, but I was wondering if anyone can direct me to specific venues to check out.

I have heard of a couple, such as:

MUSE CAFE (817 N Milwaukee @ Chicago) - They sell some Wheat/Gluten Free stuff that tastes like regular desserts, but no meals.

DaLUCIANO's - (www.DaLucianos.com) I haven't been here yet but it has been highly recommended. Hubby and I will likely go for our anniversary. I'll update this post should anyone wish to read a report!

Any advice on other places to check out would be awesome.

Thanks!

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  1. A colleague of mine who needs wheat/gluten free meals has said that Wildfire is incredibly helpful in pointing out which menu items are okay for her.
    I want to say that the menu even has a gluten free section, or designation, or something. But I haven't been in a while so I can't recall for sure.

    http://www.wildfirerestaurant.com/

    1. Welcome to Chicago!
      - As mentioned above, Wildfire has a gluten free menu (ask). They have a great gf bun for the burgers.. if you are there at dinner, ask for one on the side if you want bread.
      - The Weber Grill just recently has added a gluten free menu.
      - Adobe Grill (wicker park and at North/Wells) has a gluten free menu (great guac served with jicama chips)
      - Vinci (on Halsted near North Av) has a gluten free menu - awesome polenta appitizer.
      - Fogo de Chao (brazilian). Almost everything is GF (except bread at salad bar). The little cheese buns served at the table are made with tapioca flour!
      - If you are ever north... Bonefish Grill in Northbrook, Michell's fish market in Glenview, Flemings Steakhouse and another Wilfire in Lincolnshire all have GF menus, too.

      Enjoy!
      Pam
      in the northern 'Burbs

      1. Hi

        apparently Vinci and Adobo Grill have gluten-free menus:

        Vinci
        http://www.vincichicago.com/menu.aspx...
        Adobo Old town location
        http://www.adobogrill.com/oldtown/men...
        Adobo Wicker Park location
        http://www.adobogrill.com/wickerpark/...

        Citysearch has a list of low-carb options
        http://chicago.citysearch.com/roundup...

        For more discussion on gluten-free dining see
        http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic....

        1. Think Cafe on Western Avenue will make Gluten-free pasta for you during off-peak hours (bring your own pasta)...Sunday thru Thursday. This is a great restaurant and even better...it's BYOB.

          I have Celiac disease as well. Here are several cuisines that traditionally offer a ton of gluten-free items;
          Greek Food: Try Greek Islands & Santorini
          Middle Eastern: Babylon, Kan Zamman, Old Jerusalem, Middle Eastern Bakery (lot's of fresh made eats here for take-out but don't eat the bread), Al Kayyamm, Noon-O-Kabab, Reza's, and Andies.
          Mexican: Pancho Pistolas, Fernando's on Lincoln Avenue, Salpicon, Chipotle Grill, etc.
          Indian: Viceroy on Devon Avenue, Ghandi on Devon Avenue

          Gluten-free baked goods: There's a bakery at Webster and Sheffield (can't remember the name) that stocks gluten-free baked goods. Also, can you recommend a gluten-free brand of bread crumbs?

          FYI: I you haven't already tried Pamemla's Pancake mix it's fantastic! It's available at Whole Foods and Treasure Island.

          1. Welcome to town!

            One of the over-night radio hosts has celiac, and in checking in the show's Yahoo group I found this posting: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stevean...
            of resources for restaurants in the area. It looks like some of the places have been mentioned in this thread, but there's probably more information to be mined in there for you.

            1. Amie Biros from Biros Real Estate hosts a Celiac Group in the Beverly area of Chicago. Here's her email address; abiros@birosrealestate.com

              6 Replies
              1. re: amoncada

                Does that mean Lou Malnatti's pizza is out for you? What a bummer!

                1. re: abf005

                  Yeah, pizza/Lou Malnati's is out and so is most Asian Food (this one is tough) due to the wheat gluten in the soy sauce. I stick to an occasional Amy's Rice Crust GF pizza. I'm glad to hear about the Tinley Park Pizza restaurant with GF pizza.

                  1. re: amoncada

                    Marcello's on North Ave has a thin crust GF pizza that's decent. For Chinese food, the best option I have found so far is Dee's on Armitage. You just need to request that they make your dish with their GF soy sauce, other Asian restaurants with gluten free menus include Big Bowl, Ben Pao and PF Changs. Also, there's a GF bakery in Wilmette called Rosie's. and Deerfield Bakery has a pretty good GF selection as well.

                    1. re: ASL8

                      The Gluten Free bakery is on Central in Evanston, just touching Wilmette and it's "Rose's Bakery."

                      As a non-Celiac person I think their food is great. They have an excellent breakfast sandwich (the roll is really good) and their french toast is also very good. Haven't tried their pizza, but I hear it's very popular.

                      They use the low-glycemic-index agave syrup as a sweetener so they're also diabetic-friendly.

                      The Balanced Kitchen on McCormick just South of Devon is vegan and GF:

                      http://www.gfreev.com/

                      1. re: ferret

                        My non-celiac girlfriend turned me on to Rose's Bakery in Evanston. The gluten-free scones and bread is outstanding, the best I've ever tried!! I just sent my dad back to NOLA with two loaves. Haven't tried the food yet, I hear it's quite good.

                        The Chicago Ale House on Lawrence Avenue in Lincoln Square has a pretty diverse menu with American bar & grill fare, plus Thai and Persian cuisine...the partners are Thai and Persian (of Cy's Crabhouse). Anyway, the Thai owner/Tom is Wheat intolerant so he only uses Thai soy sauce which he claims is made without wheat, this is welcome news for us Celiacs!!! Apparently it's Korean or Japanese soy sauce that's typically made with wheat, not the Thai variety.

                        TAC Quick only uses Thai soy sauce, which apparently is gluten-free...you may want to verify this. I've had no reactions at all to the dishes made without the rice & wheat noodles.

                      2. re: ASL8

                        That's great that they offer GF soy sauce, the problem (can be quite dangerous for some Celiacs) is that they're using the same wok...major cross-contamination issue's.

                        It's nearly impossible to convince a cook to dedicate a separate wok and cooking utensils for GF cooking. As far as I know, Thai soy sauce is GF and made without incorporating wheat, however, many Thai restaurants use the more readily available Japanese or Korean soy sauces made with wheat. The owner of The Chicago Ale House on Lawrence in Ravenswood/Lincoln Square is Gluten-intollerant. Anyway, he uses GF Thai soy sauce only! Oh yeah, I should mention that they serve Persian, Thai, and American cuisine, which is pretty unique!

                2. Actually, as I recently learned, Lou Malnati's has a gluten-free pizza! It uses a very large disk of sausage as a crust :). It's pretty good, but I imagine it's not very healthy. At all.

                  1. Maggiano's serves GF pasta (ask the server - they usually bring out a chef). I was at the one in Woodfield and the chef made a fantastic GF seafood pasta dish for me. The person who brought out the dish stuck two pieces of bread in it (thinking it was the regular seafood dish). Other than that, it was excellent - delicious!
                    I presume you've also heard about the GF store up on Dundee and Milwaukee (Northbrook?). It's got a decent selection of products.
                    Good luck.

                    1. RE: Da Luciano's:
                      Have you met Mrs.Libreri (Rose I think)? She's such a nice lady! The Libreri family and Mrs. Libreri in particular really make this place They're such warm freindly people.
                      Great food too.

                      1. Ina's Kitchen does a gluten-free fried chicken dinner once a month. It's on a wednesday night. Check their website.

                        -----
                        Ina's
                        1235 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

                        1. Chicago's Pizza announces Gluten-Free Pizza Crust option. Owner perfected recipe... Delivery 'til 5am to Chicago North-side... Available anywhere FROZEN-Fresh! Order Online. Sandwiches, burgers, pasta and salads - Full Italian Restaurant.

                          1. Aurelio's Pizza makes a very good personal sized
                            gluten free thin crust pizza. Their regular thin pizza is quite good! Locations all over, including one at Harrison and Canal in downtown Chicago.

                            http://www.aureliospizza.com/aurelios...

                            Most if not all of the Lettucce Entertain You restaurants have many gluten free options, ie: Wild Fire for burgers, Maggiano's for pasta! i must say, the gluten-free pasta dishes are pretty darn great at Maggiano's....better than DaLuciano's.

                            1. Windy City Burger is a hidden treasure I just discovered recently in Lakeview for gluten-free food in Chicago. It's great if you're just looking for a casual and affordable place to get a gluten free meal. It looks like a typical burger joint on the outside but inside the menu is overflowing with gourmet burgers and gluten-free, low carb, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. There is literally something for everyone here and can satisfy any special diet and/or appetite.

                              The best part is if you decide to skip the bun completely, instead of throwing your lonely patty on a plate, the chef serves on a generous bed of greens, red pepper, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, whatever you want really...so you basically get a full salad in lieu of the bun. Its extremely healthy and tasty...and the sweet potato fries are to die for. http://windycityburger.com/

                              -----
                              Windy City Burger
                              3109 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: pennymackenzie

                                pennymachenzie

                                Wow! Windy City Burger looks amazing. It could turn out to be one of my regular stops! Thanks for the tip :)! DaLuciano's is rather ordinary, in my opinion. Actually, Maggiano's (yes, Maggiano's) serves up the best gluten-free pasta that I've tasted! Yep, they'll make pretty much any pasta dish, gluten-free!
                                Here a couple of solid gluten-free recs:

                                Thai Cuisine:

                                Thai Wild Ginger accross from the Regal Webster Theatre (Clybourn and Webster in Lincoln Park) is quite good. They are extremely accomodating and will make just about any dish, gluten-free. Fish sauce is the go to seasoning/salt in Thai cuisine, which is typically gluten-free...plus, they use a gluten-free soy sauce when needed.

                                Pizza:

                                Father and Son Pizza / Marcello's serves the best gluten-free pizza in the city! The pan pizza is nearly identical to the regular pizza.

                                Medditerannean:
                                Roti Medditerranean Grill: Pretty decent fast casual food. Think of a Middle Eastern Chipotle, only slightly less casual. They have gluten-free pita too!
                                4 downtown locations and two north suburban locations.
                                http://roti.com/locations/

                                -----
                                Thai Wild Ginger Restaurant
                                2203 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

                                Windy City Burger
                                3109 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657

                                1. re: StreetFed

                                  love roti - their GF pitas are better than the reg (or so my friends tell me I only eat the gf ones)...I was so impressed i asked where they get them from...Rose' gf bakery in evanston (of course!) :)

                                  1. re: nuttmegs17

                                    Ha, I knew that they tasted familiar...I've been making all sorts of wraps and crazy good thin crust pizza's with them for a few years!

                                    I'm so happy to see that Rose's commercial baking clientele is expanding! She's a great lady! She's selling some product at Whole Foods too.

                              2. Check out Fattoush Restaurant in Lincoln Park. We are almost 100% gluten free, as well as having lots of dairy free options!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: sharris009

                                  I wanted to revive this thread to see if there's any new gluten-free spots or places with gluten-free options that have opened recently? Or any of the places above that are a must try? I'm visiting in a couple of weeks and looking for great places to try.

                                  Any yummy spots for pizza, or are the places above still open?