This week we’ve got some news on a menu that you may want to ask a few questions about before eating there, also find out an easy way to donate to celiac disease.  Plus there’s a reason there are many gluten free offerings out there these days — it’s big business!

Stella’s Fish Cafe’s “Fishy” Gluten Free Menu

A friend of mine recently forwarded to me the gluten-free menu for Stella’s Fish Cafe.   I thought it sounded intriguing so I looked at it.  One item that caught my eye, their caesar salad “with garlic croutons”.  Now keep in mind I didn’t see one other bread item on the menu, so it lead me to question, why they would bring in gluten free bread just for croutons?

I emailed Stella’s Fish Cafe asking whether the croutons were gluten free, this is the answer I received from Chad Rasmussen, Regional Executive Chef for Stella’s (in Mpls) and Molly Cool’s in Milwaukee,

“With Stella’s salads and croutons on our Gluten free menu it is something that can easily be removed, so they can be asked to be on the side or simply removed from the salad. Just state to the server you have an allergy.”

Yup, you read right, those are regular “gluteny”croutons on the gluten free menu. Here is how I responded,

“Most celiacs or gluten sensitive people who read ‘croutons’ on a gluten free menu will probably ask about them. But a newly diagnosed person with celiac disease (and even some veterans who are hopeful that they’re gluten free) will assume since it is on the gluten free menu that the croutons are gluten free.

I hope you can remove these croutons from your GF menu for clarity and no accidental ingestion will occur. People with celiac disease get very sick from any ingestion of gluten. While we understand there is a risk of cross contamination in all restaurants, it helps to have a clear and accurate menu as a first step.”

I have not heard back from them.  But it makes me wonder about the other “gluten free” items on their menu.  I looked at the Molly Cool’s Website and did not see a gluten free menu there.

Big Gluten Free Business

Whether a business is catering to celiacs or not, there’s a reason why they’re making room for gluten free food — it’s big business.  A recent CNBC report: Gluten Free Foods Paying Off Big said “Global sales are up 92 percent since 2005 and are forecast to hit $3.4 billion by 2015. In the U.S., sales reached $1.2 billion last year, more than double that of five years ago. Euromonitor is forecasting $1.7 billion in sales by 2015.”

How could companies resist offering a gluten free menu?  But the question to me is, are they doing it the right way?  The first few companies mentioned in the article are definitely taking a great approach, working with celiac organizations to make good gluten free products:  PF Changs, General Mills and Whole Foods.

I liked the way the PF Changs spokesperson responded to this topic in the article:

The article reads:

“It’s tempting to dismiss the explosion of gluten-free items as a food fad; experts, however, say it is not a dietary choice but a necessity for those suffering from gluten-related disorders. ‘They are doing it because they are allergic to the ingredients,’ says Greg Piazzi, director of culinary operations for P.F. Chang’s”.

Thank you!  We need more restaurants to look at the gluten free offerings and preparation surrounding them more as an allergy rather than a suggestion.  I know there are many folks who don’t like to use the term allergy with celiac or a gluten sensitivity, but I think if more restaurants thought of it THAT way, we might have more safe gluten-free dining options.

Subway is mentioned in this article, they are actually expanding their gluten free offerings beyond Texas and into the Oregon market.  I still haven’t heard much about how that’s working for celiacs or folks with gluten sensitivities.

The article finishes by saying there’s still more opportunity for growth in gluten free offerings.

Eat out and Raise Money for Celiac

So sorry I am a little late on this, but people in the Twin Cities and in West Central Minnesota may want to do a fun night out at McGarry’s Pub in Maple Plain.  If you order from the “Gluten Free Options” on the menu, the owner will donate 50% of profits to the University of Maryland Baltimore’s Center for Celiac Research.  The deal is only good through Friday.    So make a date night for tonight or tomorrow to get in on this great deal!

There is a celiac connection to this restaurant, so, while I don’t know first hand about their gluten free practices, you can always give them a call to ask.  Download McGarrys Pub Flier for Fundraiser.


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One Response to “Gluten Free News: Stella’s “Fishy” Gluten Free Menu; GF Means Business; Eat Out & Raise Money for Celiac”

  1. I had a really bad experience at Stella’s. Ordered something that I discussed at length with the server about prior to placing my order which came with a great big piece of garlic toast on top of my food. I was not willing to have the meal prepared a second time. I lost complete confidence. Personally, I would not eat at Stella’s. The GF menu is yet another indication that they don’t get it!

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