I have had a great experience eating out gluten-free but I also may have helped drive change at my favorite restaurant! So as you know I am in the middle immersing myself in the gluten-free lifestyle. While I’m at it, I thought I would challenge a few restaurants, including my favorite: Bella in Blaine, Minnesota (it has the same owners as Bellanotte in Minneapolis).

My husband was planning to take me out for my birthday so I called Bella ahead of time to ask what kind of accommodations the restaurant could make for gluten-free customers. They quickly told me about their “Simple Chicken” dish. It sounded great, but they also said they could modify and help me with any accommodations I requested. So given that offer, when we went out to dinner, I grabbed some gluten-free noodles on the way out the door.

Fitting my Gluten-Free Needs

We went to the restaurant and talked with our very knowledgeable server. When I threw the idea of them cooking up my noodles and pair with their sauce, he listed off the sauces and the ingredients in them, and together we agreed – no gluten. We were in! I ordered alfredo sauce with my gluten-free noodles as well as a Cesar salad (no croutons). The server double checked on the dressing for the salad and confirmed that it was indeed gluten-free.

I was off to the races! My dinner was fantastic. I didn’t want or desire anything more than I had in front of me. But what happened next was even cooler. I was telling the server how great the dinner was and I said they really should get some gluten-free noodles to have on hand. He came back about 5 minutes later and said the chef was going to order them right away to have them available.

How awesome is that!?! I do know there are some challenges here – educating staff about cross contamination is one biggie. But this server was already so knowledgeable about what was in their food, and the chef was so accommodating, I have to think making the change may not be as “painfully” difficult as some people might think.

Sometimes it pays to educate, challenge and work with others (including establishments) to make some change – for the better. But I didn’t just educate him, the server himself was educating me on their foods and ingredients which helped me make good choices. It also helps that they make all their own sauces on site with real ingredients!

If you’re ever in this area (attending the 3M Championship at the TPC golf course in August or bringing your child to the USA Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament in July), you totally should check this place out. It is literally only blocks from both areas and well worth the trip.

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2 Responses to “Bella Gets High Marks for Gluten-Free Accommodations”

  1. There is a wonderful Italian restaurant in Winter Park, Florida called Tollas that reminds me of your Bella. Gary Tolla keeps several varieties of gluten-free noodles on hand and will modify any dish for gluten-free needs. He prepares the dish in a separate pan so as not to cross-contaminate. He also has a well-educated staff. Knowing I can go to his restaurant with confidence has made me a loyal customer.

  2. That’s great to hear. Although this is dangerously close to us…

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