Recently I posted about some of the big worries people have regarding eating gluten free at the holidays. There are different stressors whether you host the meal at your house or go to someone else’s home for the holidays.  A friend on Facebook reminded me that her biggest concern was actually none of those, but rather, trying to find a place that has gluten free Thanksgiving offerings at a restaurant.

A Gluten Free Thanksgiving Menu might just seem like a Holiday Miracle!

A Gluten Free Thanksgiving Menu might just seem like a Holiday Miracle!

So true!  So I set out to research gluten-free Thanksgiving meals at restaurants.  I want to tell you how I did it.  I was impressed with what I foud out!

Searching for your gluten free Thanksgiving meal

Here is what I did to find a few gluten free friendly Thanksgiving locations.

  1. I started by searching OpenTable.com It is a website that takes reservations for registered restaurants.  It is only in certain communities.
  2. Once I picked a city, I went into Google and searched:  Open Table gluten free Thanksgiving.  All of the restaurants serving Thanksgiving meals will pop up.  Some even say they have gluten free options.
  3. Call the ones that say gluten free and confirm what foods on their menu are gluten free, and whether you need to make any special arrangements.
  4. If it doesn’t say gluten free, I would pick out restaurants you may have successfully eaten at before.  They may not have a menu but are willing to work with you and your diet.  You could also compare the Open Table list with restaurants in your Gluten Free Registry or Find Me Gluten Free websites or apps.  Maybe the restaurant overlooked their gluten free “friendliness” when writing up the Thanksgiving meal description for Open Table.
  5. If you aren’t familiar with any of the restaurants, just start calling.  Most of the restaurants on Open Table are higher end, which have (at least for us) proven to be more friendly to a gluten free request.
  6. Once you find a location, find out if the meal is a buffet style or brought to your table from the kitchen.  Buffets can freak gluten free people out a little bit because of cross contamination of utensils or dropping gluteny food in the gluten free food.  If that is a concern for you, ask the restaurant if they can plate your food with fresh selections from the back.

This post is not intended to be a big promotion for Open Table.  It just was helpful for me to find the restaurants that are promoting a Thanksgiving meal, and then find gluten free possibilities from that list.  There is another website called Seat Me where you could try to do the same thing.

A few gluten free friendly Thanksgiving options

Afton House Inn and Current Restaurant and Bar (both located at Afton House in Afton, MN), have a huge selection of gluten free foods for their Thanksgiving meal.  Staff at the restaurant told me they have Turkey, pork loin and Yankee pot roast, mashed potatoes (with gluten free gravy) and much more!  You can eat it there or have them box it up for you.  This is a buffet.  The employee told me the only thing with gluten is the sage and onion dressing, however the menu online says it is gluten free (which I would be impressed about). You will want to inquire about that and double check on the gravy too, just to be sure.   If you didn’t want your meal from the buffet because of cross contamination concerns, they would plate up a meal for you back in the kitchen. Click here to see the menu.  

Ernie’s Pub in Burnsville, MN will have a Thanksgiving brunch, where you not only have the choice to go with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, but you can also have pancakes, bacon and sausage.  And of course there will be gluten free dessert available. Click here to make reservations — they are recommended for Thanksgiving.

At Pastaio in Spring Lake New Jersey, they will have their signature gluten free pasta dishes, but also a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner.  You can call ahead, talk to them about your needs and when you’ll be coming.  The turkey is gluten free and if you request it, they could make a gluten free gravy for your meat and potatoes.  “We take gluten free very seriously,” Pastaio executive chef Lisa Stanko said.  So if you are in that area for Thanksgiving, or any other time, you can check them out.

Wildfire Restaurant locations in Minnesota, Illinois and Virginia will have a gluten-free Thanksgiving Menu for each state.  All include turkey, gravy, stuffing, dessert and more …. a full Thanksgiving selection.  See the menus here:  Minnesota GF Thanksgiving Menu, Illinois GF Thanksgiving MenuVirginia GF Thanksgiving Menu  Plus, Wildfire will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the Thanksgiving meal to worthy organizations.  Wildfire has very good gluten free protocols in place and often demonstrate their gluten free menu items at local celiac and gluten-free events.

I tweeted Maggiano’s (a nationwide chain) to see if their Thanksgiving menu would be gluten free friendly.  They said “There will be #glutenfree options.  Please let your server know and we’ll be glad to accommodate you and your guest’s dietary needs”. I always think giving them a quick call to solidify the plan is always a good idea however.

I am sure there are many more, but this list of restaurants and search tips can at least get you started.  We know this time of year can be stressful.  Hopefully by contacting the restaurants and asking the right questions, you’ll be able to hone in on a great place to dine safely for Thanksgiving.

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