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May 30, 2009 06:38 AM

Gluten-free in TB?

A friend with celiac disease is visiting soon, and I'm on the hunt for restaurants in Tampa Bay with gluten-free offerings. We're most interested in central Pinellas (Clearwater area), but will be traveling all over Pinellas County and possibly into Tampa, so all ideas are welcome. We hope to stay away from chains. Suggestions, please?

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  1. If you happen to be in down town Tampa for any reason, Karma Bar and Cafe just opened down there. I know they have sandwiches on gluten free rice bread and some other good stuff. Not sure of the address though...sorry. It was Kelly's Pub but has now relaunched as Karma Bar. Good looking salads and sandwiches on the menu.

    1. My same friend is back in town and interestingly, there are quite a few more restaurants making an effort on behalf of those who must (or choose to) avoid gluten. Some of our observations to date:

      Guppy's and Columbia both offer gluten-free menus. When I took my friend to Guppy's last year, the waitress was completely clueless, so this is real progress. Columbia has quite a few dishes that my friend can enjoy, so we've been there a couple times during her trip. Andy Huse, if you're reading this post, you'll be pleased to know that she purchased three copies of your book. :)

      On the other hand, Park Shore Grill in St. Pete was a terrible disappointment. The indifferent hostess pretty much brushed us off when we asked if they had a gluten-free menu or could otherwide accomodate her needs. Not what I would expect from Park Shore at ALL--especially since they weren't particularly busy at the time. Instead, we went down the street to Moon Under Water, where we were cheerfully accomodated with a print-out of the dishes that did have gluten, so my friend could compare to the menu. We then had a perfectly delightful meal there.

      There is also a new lunch spot in downtown Dunedin called Serendipity that is completely gluten-free. We plan to check it out this week.

      Any other suggestions of restos in the greater TB area that do a good job catering to the needs of the gluten-free? Please share, and thank you!

      1 Reply
      1. re: laurie

        It's funny that you topped this thread just now, because yesterday I overheard a woman at Pane Rustica telling a waiter that her husband is allergic to flour, and could he tell her which dishes to avoid? He took her right over to one of the cooks in the open kitchen, and she was able to ask the cook directly and get straight answers. I have no idea if a flour allergy is the same as celiac disease, but the point is, because all the food is cooked fresh to order, Pane Rustica (in S. Tampa) is one place where I would feel confident taking someone with a food allergy--they know what's in their food.

      2. If you end up in Tampa, there is also Vitaals in Seminole Heights (on Florida Ave), and I believe Cafe Hey (north of downtown Tampa, on Franklin I think) has GF menu items as well.

        Cafe Hey
        1540 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602

        1 Reply
        1. re: jfischer27

          Grass Roots cafe can probably oblige too, u guys think?

        2. Thanks, guys, for the recs. We may check some of them out with the limited time she has left in town.

          We went for lunch today to Serendipity Cafe, which is in the little strip center next to The Livingroom on Main St. in Dunedin. Gosh, was it good! I am now officially a huge fan of kale chips--delicate oven-roasted fresh kale leaves that have been oh-so-lightly sprayed with olive oil and dusted with sea salt. Wow, how could something so GOOD for you taste so GOOD? This little place is entirely gluten-free and offers such wonders as cornmeal-based pancakes, lasagna made with polenta instead of noodles, and seriously delicious wraps. We'll be back there for lunch while my friend's in town, and I plan to become a regular once she's gone home--and I don't have any gluten issues at all. Highly recommended!

          3 Replies
          1. re: laurie

            that sounds great laurie! now I feel bad I drove all the heck way out to dunedin to eat at the living room cafe, that place sucked, and there was a little gem right next door!

            1. re: askdrtodd

              I need to mention too that this is mainly a lunch place--open 10 - 5 during the week, 10 - 2 weekends. I think they're closed Mondays.

              Dr. Todd, I actually like The Livingroom, so maybe you should take my recs with a grain of salt. . . .

            2. re: laurie

              Cornmeal pancakes, where have you been all my life?! Those sound great, as do the kale chips!

            3. The original comment has been removed