I recently got the chance to get out and check out a relatively new gluten free menu in the Twin Cities area. I have wanted to check out Cooper’s Pub in St. Louis Park since my friend Alexa blogged about their promising new gluten free menu in June. She was at their gluten-free menu unveiling and raved about it as well as their cooking/preparation procedures.
So when I was planning to go out with friends to a dinner and a movie last weekend, I had expressed my interest in Cooper’s.
When we arrived (7 months after the launch of the menu) the gluten-free menu looked formidable. They had appetizers, salads, entrees, burgers/sandwiches (with gluten free buns for an extra $1), desserts and beer. The menu had french fries listed on it — which is always exciting and a red flag all at the same time. So I asked the waitress if the french fries were shared in the same fryer as other breaded/deep fried items. She said she’s heard both yes and no as the answer and went in the kitchen to check. She came back with a resounding yes, the fries are in a shared fryer. Sigh. But then she dug a deeper hole by acting like she knew anything about gluten issues and said “….so it just depends on how severe your allergy is to gluten….” and I said, “with celiac disease you can’t have any gluten.”
She also explained how the restaurant’s menu was made with the intent of having a dedicated gluten-free fryer, but the cooks weren’t able to commit to it and they were using the fryer for other things — causing the gluten contamination in the oil.
I then ordered a cheeseburger with a bun and mashed potatoes, which were on the gluten free menu.
I got my meal and the bun looked fine — smaller than their burgers — with poppy seeds on top. I received a hearty serving of mashed potatoes and what was next to it? A ramekin of gravy. I asked the guy who was serving our food if it was gluten free and he fumbled saying yes….but that it was made with a beef base so it should be fine. Oh boy…he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I asked if the gravy was thickened with flour (which it looked like) or something else. He went back in the kitchen and asked and came back and said yes. I told him it wasn’t gluten free then and I handed him the ramekin.
My meal was fine, the potatoes were good, but really could have used some gravy.
At one point I tried to explain to the waitress that if they’re doing their gluten free menu they need more education — and I explained the gravy incident to her. I didn’t get the feeling that it mattered much to her, but from her perspective, she was busy.
Too bad. We won’t be going there again because it’s a cool place with a great atmosphere. Just a poorly-executed gluten-free menu.