November is National Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, and The Reader knows there are a number of reasons diners may choose a wheat, rye, barley, and oat-free existence. Regardless of the reasons, restaurants and their staff are growing increasingly aware of just how serious a gluten allergy or intolerance can be.
A decade ago, telling someone you were allergic to spaghetti would probably get you a snicker or an eyeroll, but a gluten reaction is more than a pain in the butt. And it is also a pain in the butt. These days, asking waitstaff about gluten-free options comes with a Master Class in cross contamination, shared fryers, and designated prep spaces.
This month, The Reader took a look at ten of our favorite establishments where diners can feast without fear. Inflammation has left the station, let’s sink our teeth into this delicious list.
Blend Food Hall (Online ordering only)
My first swing at writing a gluten-free dining guide for Omaha years ago was a desperate list of places that served a lot of plain meat on a stick. Even some meat wasn’t safe, as flour and fillers are used in a lot of gyro meat, loaf meats, and nearly every sauce and gravy you sink your teeth into. Gravy Train founder Meghan McLarney decided that even those with allergies deserved to be uncomfortably full on the hardiest, most savory, stick-to-your ribs dishes without the inflammation that often follows. Biscuits and gravy may be the ultimate comfort food, and Gravy Train has made it a lot more comfortable for those with celiac, Crohn’s, or food allergies.
The gluten-free options at Blue & Fly are just as decadent and immersive as the rest of the impeccable menu. You’ll find something to satisfy any appetite, and you can eat until your stomach is satisfied instead of swollen. The meals are as beautiful on the plate as they are on the palate, and taking away the gluten doesn’t take away the sense
of celebration you get dining on these decadent dishes.
Gluten intolerance means you have had to become a picky eater. Gone are the days of ordering chicken tendies and fries. Or are they? Give your inner child, your actual child, or your childish eater a treat and sink into a gluten-free chicken finger basket, snack on savory gluten-free cheese curds, or warm up with a bowl of loaded baked potato soup.
Fine dining should have never been just for those iron of stomach. Rich, decadent, and a feast for the eyes, French cuisine is anything but lean. Gluten-free diners are welcomed to enjoy the fresh flavors, robust bouquet, and tantalizing tastes of the fine art of French dining … but hold the baguette.
You know Pitch has set the standard for high-quality ingredients and a firing technique that’s tasty and unique, but Omaha’s gluten-free elite know the vegan cauliflower crust is a must. Make any pizza gluten free without making it taste like your to-go box. Inventive salads, an extensive wine list, and a seasonal menu that keeps everything fresh in more ways than one make Pitch Omaha’s go-to for a pie you can’t deny.
New to Omaha, but a veteran of the Gaucho game, Texas de Brazil has more than a mouthful of options for gluten-free diners. A quick conversation with the team has, on more than one occasion, resulted in a personal tour of the buffet to point out every item that’s safe for consumption, even if you’re not consuming grain.
From granola to waffles, Early Bird’s gluten-free menu will ensure your breakfast is anything but boring. Enjoy bright flavors, sweet and savory toppings, and a cocktail list to brunch about.
The Northwest location is the only one with the capacity to accommodate a fries-only fryer, allowing even those with celiac to enjoy the fries at this can’t-miss grill. Burgers can be served on a gluten-free bun, and gluten-free beer is available.
While the downtown location offers gluten-free bread, it cannot guarantee a gluten-free cooking surface or that cross contamination won’t happen.
A night out on the town, girls’ day out, romantic date night, or just an excuse to have a whimsical time without taking a literal flight of fancy, Edge of the Universe delivers it all from its cute and convenient Benson location. This magical café hosts book clubs, trivia nights, and themed events year-round, all with a menu of creative concoctions and opulent options that are gluten free and vegan.
Chef/owner Stacie Vancleave is no stranger to the pitfalls of dining with food allergies. The dairy-wary food artisan grew so tired of working for restaurants that belittled diners for their food sensitivities that she decided to begin a business of her own. While one bite might suggest that flawless flavor is Veg.Edible’s No. 1 priority, it falls far behind Vancleave’s passion for transparency and food safety.
Be sure to follow us on Instagram, where we will be highlighting gluten-
free options in Omaha through November.
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