A few weeks ago, I talked about Smashburger’s new gluten-free options. With an Udi’s bun and reformulated burger…Smashburger says you can now eat gluten free there. My recent article talked about the areas where you may want to be cautious, when eating there.
What it didn’t address was the french fries. I finally got the chance to nail down the company on the gluten-free status of the fries.
Smashburger and Gluten Free Fries
The Smashburger Allergen Menu explains that the french fries and the sweet potato fries are gluten free, however, each of them is noted as “…prepared on shared equipment”.
So what does that mean?
- The fries are indeed cooked in oil shared with gluten products?
- The fries might share the oil?
- There is a dedicated fryer to gluten-free and they are just covering themselves by saying there is a chance it could be shared?
There are a lot of different and very real scenarios that we gluten-free folks need to consider when figuring out what we can eat.
Initially, Christine Beggan who is handling the communications with Smashburger said french fries and sweet potato fries are gluten free. She added “While these items are gluten free, Smashburger’s kitchens are not. Smashburger cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free environment as it shares cooking equipment and preparation surfaces in the restaurants and cross-contact with items containing gluten may occur.”
While I do appreciate her effort of getting back to me, she still really didn’t fully answer the question, in my opinion. So I asked again:
“So to make sure I am clear, the french fries and sweet potato fries are fried in oil that doesn’t get used with other wheat/gluten items?” I also asked, “Is there a specific food item that would have gluten it it that goes into the oil?”
Beggan replied, “To clarify, Smashburger’s french fries and sweet potato fries are typically made in a dedicated fryer for gluten-free items. However, the company suggests guests inquire with the manager to ensure a dedicated fryer is being used for the french fries or sweet potato fries before ordering.”
I did ask about other toppings and foods and their gluten free status as well. All of their salads and salad dressings are gluten free. According to their allergen menu, all of their grilled/raw produce and cheese are gluten free. Bacon has the same “prepared on shared equipment” notation.
Bottom line, know that you will be asking questions at your local Smashburger, and you may be asking for special accommodations. I recommend the first time (or couple of times) you call your local Smashburger during off hours to ask your series of questions to the manager so you can decide whether you are going to go there for lunch or dinner that day. If you ask your full line of questions during the lunch or dinner rush, you may not the right answers to your questions, since the staff will be very busy.