When you’re a collegiette with celiac disease, finding a restaurant that’s understanding of your gluten-free needs can be tough. Many restaurants claim to have gluten-free options but don’t completely understand which foods have gluten in them. Since gluten-free diets have become a fad, some restaurants aren’t as nitpicky about gluten-free foods as is necessary for people who actually have an allergy. To make your lives easier, we surveyed some gluten-free collegiettes to find out their favorite restaurant spots that make their lifestyle not only easy, but also delicious!
1. Not Your Average Joe’s
Locations: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, Maryland, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania
This chain restaurant provides gluten-free meals from start to finish. Inform your server as soon as you’re seated, and you’ll receive a gluten-free version of their bread and dip and an entire menu of options. Start off with Thai chicken lettuce wraps or a spicy tuna sushi roll. You can also choose from entrees that range from salads and fish to a burger on a gluten-free caramelized onion roll. They even have a gluten-free menu for kids! According to several gluten-free collegiettes, there really is no place better.
“I love Not Your Average Joe’s because of the gluten-free bread and dip,” says Blair*, a junior at Syracuse University. “It truly makes me feel as though I have the same options as my not-gluten-free friends.”
2. Legal Sea Foods
Locations: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Georgia, Rhode Island and Virginia
“If it isn’t fresh, it isn’t Legal” is the slogan of this chain, and they definitely live up to it. Legal Sea Foods’ gluten-free menu is particularly impressive since it’s equally as tasty as its regular items! Enjoy lite clam chowder, wood-grilled fish or crispy fried seafood that’s made entirely without gluten.
“I eat at Legal because almost every item on their menu can be prepared without gluten,” says Jenny*, a Northeastern University junior. “The manager brings out the meals himself and reiterates that there was no cross-contamination in the preparation. It’s awesome!”
3. P.F. Chang’s
Locations: Over 200 locations around the U.S.
P.F. Chang’s gives lovers of Asian food something worth celebrating. Ranked the second most allergy-friendly restaurant by AllergyEats, P.F. Chang’s provides gluten-free egg drop soup, fried rice, spicy chicken, beef with broccoli and more.
“I love Chinese food and I’ve never had a problem using the gluten-free menu at P.F. Chang’s,” says Juliet*, a Syracuse University junior. “I highly recommend [it]!”
4. Chipotle Mexican Grill
Locations:Locations all across the U.S. and abroad
At Chipotle, it’s easy to eat gluten free because there’s almost no gluten! Since the only item with gluten is their flour tortillas, you have your choice of any other meal and all of their toppings. With no boundaries in a burrito bowl, this makes Chipotle an ideal fast food chain for all gluten-free collegiettes.
“Chipotle is my favorite place to eat because I literally have no boundaries,” says Lily*, a Pennsylvania State University senior says. “I always get a burrito bowl, which means no tortilla. Once I tell the employees I have a gluten allergy, they always change their gloves so there’s no cross-contamination.”
5. Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Locations: Over 200 locations
Carrabba’s Italian Grill prides themselves on honoring all dietary restrictions. Nationwide, their restaurants offer gluten-free takes on their most popular family recipes, such as Chicken Bryan and Chicken Marsala. Carrabba’s encourages its guests to call ahead so that restaurant employees can inform you of all their gluten-free options.
“I thoroughly enjoyed their gluten-free menu,” says Vanessa*, a Syracuse University senior. “I got the Chicken Marsala and loved it.”
6. Outback Steakhouse
Locations: Over 900 locations
With the Outback Steakhouse gluten-free menu, you can choose from multiple appetizers, entrees and desserts that are all made without gluten. The Chocolate Thunder From Down Under, a classic Outback dessert, is also available gluten free. With over 900 locations in many different countries, you’re bound to always find an Outback for your gluten-free needs.
“My family always goes to Outback Steakhouses on vacation because it’s a reliable chain that has a great menu for me,” says Olivia*, a Syracuse University senior.
Having a gluten allergy can make going out to dinner tough. The next time your group of friends wants to go to dinner, suggest one of these restaurants—they’ll make everything a little bit easier.
*Names have been changed.