I am at a stage where all parents of gluten free kids get to several times in their life — planning a vacation and finding gluten-free friendly restaurants. I had lots of luck researching this when we went to DC last year. But Charleston, South Carolina is proving to be a bit more difficult.
Luckily we’re renting a beach home so we can cook our meals, but it is nice to know where you can go out to eat. I have done my usual research…and I honestly am not feeling very secure in what I’ve found.
Finding a Gluten-Free Savvy Restaurant
First I went to glutenfreeregistry.com. It had many restaurants, but what you need to do is continue your research because there are sooooo many restaurants who say they are gluten-free friendly, but I want to know if they’re gluten-free SAVVY! They need to be smart about gluten free and cross contamination too! I already try to rule out chain restaurants (including Chili’s which I wouldn’t wish upon any gluten-free eater — sorry guys) that I can eat at here in Minnesota.
So I found a few worth exploring. Some are very upscale and not ready for my meat and potatoes family (or is that we’re not ready for them?) So with those ruled out, I looked at a few restaurants including Jason’s Deli. Which looked promising. Until I saw the “Note” on the gluten-free menu:
“Please be advised that all of our foods are prepared in a common kitchen and that Jason’s Deli cannot guarantee that cross-contact with other gluten-containing products will not occur. As a result, we cannot recommend this for persons with Celiac Disease. Our gluten-free offerings are designed for those with minor gluten sensitivities or those who prefer to avoid gluten for nutritional reasons.”
Great (note sarcasm)! I am not sure if I should be happy they shared this information with me or sad that they’re going to all this work to cater mostly to the fad diet. Most people I know of with gluten sensitivities probably wouldn’t eat there either. Ugh.
So I moved on to Your Pie. I sent them an email requesting information on how they deal with cross contamination concerns. While I haven’t heard from them yet, I was a little concerned with their nutritional information on the gluten free pizza crust. Now maybe I shouldn’t worry about it but look at this graph below!
More than two times the amount of calories, three times the sodium and eight times the amount of total fat! Maybe this is the case for all gluten free pizza crust??? Even if they talk about the most pristine gluten free practices, I wonder if this will taint my desire to go??
Atlanticville on Sullivan’s Island seemed promising, but there is no menu listed and it’s far away from where we’re staying.
So then I moved onto Glutenfreetravelsite.com where I found T-Bonz and a good review to boot: “It was such a great experience,” the reviewer said, “I will definitely go back next time I am in Charleston!” However there was no acknowledgment of gluten-free offerings. So I sent them an email as well.
I also did a Google search for “gluten free Charleston, SC” and up came COAST Bar and Grill and someone on Citysearch did a review mentioning how the waitress helped with a gluten free patron, “…my boyfriend requires gluten-free and she went back into the kitchen to find out about various dishes and came back with a full report of what would be good options for him without our asking. I thought that was a very generous act!” I would love to go there, but I am not sure my kids would love it….might be a little too “fishy” so to speak.
Anyway….enough said, it has been a lot of work this morning. And I have to admit, sometimes it gets tiring, especially when you don’t come up with the answers you were looking for (ala Jason’s Deli).
So now I’m turning to my readers for both tips on how they find gluten-free SAVVY restaurants — and if you know of any restaurants you’ve had luck with in Charleston, please comment below!