05 August 2008

GF Tips: Chain Restaurants

There are plenty of good guides to these, and the lists seem to be growing. Here's a site that lets you search for gluten free restaurants by city and state. It's not complete, but it's a starting place. Here's another that is alphabetized by the chain's name, and has a brief review of each. And yet another that mainly links to "allergen lists" for each restaurant. When traveling, it's useful to know these names so that, given a choice, you can choose a restaurant that you know will have edible food.

Prior to my Colorado trip this year, I went looking for restaurants that accommodated gluten-free, and found a big surprise: Wendy's actually has a list of gluten-free products. Unlike most other fast food places, the list does not consist of "Order X without the bun." The chili, several salads, and the frosties are all gluten-free. The fries themselves are gluten free, but in some places may be cooked in the same grease as things that contain gluten, so ask. Oh, if you try to order one of the Chicken Salads, and they ask you what kind of chicken, tell them grilled. That may or may not be one of the mentioned options, even though, theoretically, that should be the default option, but anything else (American or Spicy were the choices offered my mom) will be breaded.

Other chain restaurants that I have been to and tried their gluten free menus:
Beau Jo's: pizza place; in Fort Collins, at least, the GF menu is simply a page in the regular menu.
Chili's: Decent selections; ask for the "allergen menu".
Pier 49: Most locations. So far, there doesn't seem to be an official GF menu, but the one in Pocatello posted "gluten free crusts available" on its sign. Hopefully they'll go one better and get a list of guaranteed GF toppings soon.

As for the two "big" fast food chains, last I checked, Burger King did not acknowledge the existence of celiacs in any way shape or form. Please boycott them. McDonald's has the typical "Order X without the bun" guidelines, with an oddity. McDonald's French fries apparently contain either wheat or an ingredient made from wheat, but independent testing has found no traces of gluten in them (sorry for no citation, but I can't remember where I found that). I still will not eat them, at least in part because I don't go to restaurants where the assumption is that everything will be served on a poisonous bun, but I thought I'd pass the info along.

GF Tips Index


Aunt Bee said...

Burger King has a gluten free menu now and their fries are supposed to be gf with a dedicated fryer in all locations. I would ask to be sure though. MacDonalds no longer has gf fries, but I am pretty sure they have (lame) menu.

Dairy Queen has a very limited menu also.

I have been told that a few of Taco Bell's items are as well, but I'd be checking into that before I went there.

Heard about them on the Gluten-free grapevine.

Qalmlea said...

Thanks for the info. I'll try to get the post updated after Thanksgiving baking is done. ^/^ But unless McDonald's and Burger King can come up with a GF menu with main courses beyond "order X without the bun," I'm still not interested in them, though.