It’s estimated that roughly ten percent of the population has some form of gluten intolerance ranging from a severe allergy called Celiac Disease to an almost undetectable intolerance that can produce symptoms such as mild to moderate stomach discomfort, acne and joint pain (source). Gluten is the protein found in wheat and several other grains and is difficult to digest in people with intolerance. Unfortunately for the folks with this allergy, a lot of the American diet is composed of grains – pizza crust, sandwich bread, hamburger buns. This makes dining out problematic and sometimes complicated. People with gluten allergies have a much more limited selection when it comes to dining locations. Choosing a restaurant can seem like a daunting task and an inconvenience to others. Personally, I always feel guilty when my friends and family have to make exceptions or special accommodations for me and my gluten intolerance.
If you or someone you know has a gluten allergy or sensitivity, here’s a list of local Valley restaurants that offer gluten free fare. I’m sure this list isn’t comprehensive, but it’s what I’ve found in my 3 years of living gluten free. I’m aware that there are quite a few restaurants in the Huntsville area that offer burgers without a bun and a side salad with no dressing, and they call that a Gluten Free Menu. I didn’t include those restaurants here. I was only interested in listing locations that had a significant selection and/or a specialty item.
Disclaimer – Don’t assume something is gluten free. Always ask your server. If they seem unsure, ask to speak with a manager.
4800 Whitesburg Dr. S Ste. 33
Bonefish Grill on Whitesburg Drive offers a large selection of gluten free menu items, including desserts. I believe all of their grilled fish is gluten free and all but one of their side items. I’ve eaten there numerous times and highly recommend the Lily’s Chicken and Crème Brûlée for dessert.
330 The Bridge St
Cantina Laredo offers a wide variety of gourmet Mexican food. Gluten Free items are clearly noted on the traditional menu. No need to ask for a separate menu, which I like. Options include appetizers, salads, steak, soups and fajitas.
2801 Memorial Pkwy SW
Almost all of the items on the GF menu come with some sort of stipulation, such as request without grill baste, request no pasta salad, or request no garlic toast. To me, it defeats the purpose of having a gluten free menu if the customer has to further specify even after ordering from the Gluten Free Menu.
345 The Bridge St # 101
Connor’s offers a dedicated Gluten Free Menu that you can get from your sever. Their menu is somewhat like Carrabba’s. There are quite a few stipulations when ordering gluten free. However, they have a much larger selection.
1395 Enterprise Way NW
The Five Guys website states that the only item with gluten in their restaurant is their hamburger buns. This means that their fries are gluten free. Since nothing else in the building is fried, there should be no risk of cross contamination.
2211 Seminole Dr.
For an upgrade of $.50, any sandwich that Happy Tummy offers can be made on gluten free bread. Gluten free ingredients are not noted on the menu, so be sure to ask when you’re ordering if any of your sandwich components contain gluten.
Various Huntsville Locations
(256) 883-7300 / (256) 971-5325
Jason’s Deli locations offer sandwiches, soups and side items that are gluten free and are clearly noted on their menu. Their gluten free bread is Udi’s Bakery bread, only on a much larger scale than you can buy in the supermarket. In my experience, the restaurant is very accommodating to food allergies. Last time I had a sandwich at Jason’s Deli they asked if I needed the person handling the sandwich to change gloves, knife and cutting board.
2358 Whitesburg Drive
Huntsville, AL 35801
This relatively new (opened in 2013) is Alabama’s first dedicated gluten free bakery. Locally owned and operated, they’re goal is to “eliminate the flavorless cardboard view of allergen friendly foods” and if you’ve ever tasted their sweets, you know they’ve knocked it out of the park!
470 Providence Main St NW
Mellow Mushroom has gluten free pizza crust! Yes, you heard that right. I’ve been gluten free since 2008 and this is, by far, the best GF pizza crust I’ve tried. You can get any pizza that they offer on the crust, but it only comes in one size – 14 inch.
3730 University Dr. NW
The Olive Garden offers a surprising amount of gluten free options, including some pasta. Most of the gluten free menu items are standard GF fare: grilled chicken and vegetables, steaks, etc.
300 Church St SW
Pane e Víno is located behind the Huntsville Museum of Art. They offer gluten free pizza crust that can be topped with any of their gourmet ingredients. I haven’t tried this pizza crust yet, so I have no feedback or recommendations. You can bet it’s at the very top of my list to try. As soon as I dine at Pane e Víno, expect a full review.
305 The Bridge St
PF Changs offers a full menu of appetizers, side items and main courses that are gluten-free. Ask your server for the Gluten Free Menu. Some of the items on the GF menu have the same name as regular menu items, so be sure to specify that you want the gluten free version of the dish.