Hello gluten free-ers! I have returned from a wonderful weekend trip with Ryan—he surprised me for my birthday with a trip to Chicago so we could “meet halfway.” Such a fantastic idea and it was a fabulous trip. Here are the restaurants that I visited while in Chicago. *Remember to always check with the restaurant staff to determine if your dietary restriction can be accommodated–precautions and ingredients can change at any time!*
Marcello’s Father and Son Restaurants
- Location: 645 W. North Avenue, Chicago, IL, or 2475 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL, or 1911 Cherry Lane, Northbrook, IL
- Type of Cuisine: Pizza
- GF&G rating: 4/5
- PDF of gluten free menu: http://www.marcellos.com/pdf/Marcellos-Abbes-Gluten-Free-Menu.pdf
Chicago native celiac who answered all of my gluten free and touristy questions regarding Chicago. She is an extremely sensitive celiac (even more sensitive than me!) so I knew if I went to somewhere she recommended that the food would be awesome and I would not get glutened. Ryan and I visited the Milwaukee Avenue location and was seated immediately. Marcello’s did not disappoint! Marcello’s has an entirely gluten free menu–love having the separate menu so my options were laid out for me. There is gluten free pasta and pizza. There were two options for pizza: thin crust and pan (note: pan is not true deep dish). The flavors were amazing with ample toppings. Ryan commented that he absolutely loved the sauce. Most importantly, this restaurant understood cross contamination and took tons of precautions for preventing it!! Separate areas, separate toppings, etc. Oh! Did I mention that they have gluten free desserts?!?! I ordered the brownie pie and cannot recommend it enough, although there are other dessert options to make everyone happy. It was delicious! 🙂 I loved having options for both dinner AND
dessert. And now for the (few) negatives: 1) no meat options at all for gluten free. I spoke to Brianna about this and she informed me that this was in an effort to prevent cross contamination, which I do understand and appreciate. However, I wish that they did have a protein option! 2) The portion sizes were pretty tiny. Ryan and I each had our own pizza and were still not quite full afterwards. 3) The waitress we had was a bit confused on gluten free–I asked if the vanilla gelato was gluten free and she said no because it has milk? She kept confusing dairy free with gluten free. Luckily, she always double checked with the chef and I had no issues. One waiter brought us bread which I almost ate since I told them that I am gluten free but when I asked, I was told it was not gluten free–he was not our waiter but just a heads up that the bread given to the table is not gluten free. However, overall, I loved this place! Thanks, Brianna, for the recommendation!
- Location: 1400 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
- Type of Cuisine: Waffles
- GF&G rating: 1/5
Review: Ryan knows how much I love pancakes and waffles so he did some research and found that Chicago Waffles has gluten free waffles and pancakes. Being the amazing boyfriend he is, he called ahead to make sure that they catered towards celiac and not just the trend. He was informed that they take precautions against cross contamination and understand celiac. So off we went after a beautiful morning exploring Millennium Park. Upon arriving, I again expressed my concerns and they said “no problem!” When I sat down to order, I inquired more about their waffle iron—they use the same one for gluten waffles! I was shocked! Those irons are HARD to clean. A simple wipe down will not do for celiac disease! I told the staff that the irons are unacceptable for celiac disease and therefore, could not order them. I grilled them on how they handled pancakes and they stated that they clean everything and take precautions. Okay, so I settled on those. I asked about toppings–could I have chocolate chips? No apparently according to the restaurant. I asked if the whipped topping that comes with pancakes was gluten free and they were “unsure.” I ordered plain pancakes. When they arrived, they had the whipped topping. When I asked the waitress, she was still unsure if it was gluten free. UNACCEPTABLE!!! The staff checked and finally determined that yes it was. Then I asked if they had gluten free maple syrup…and was brought sugar free. The waitress was convinced that sugar free meant gluten free. Not the case. Turns out…the staff has no idea if any maple syrup is gluten free. They use an obscure brand that even google can’t give an indication. Was I glutened eating my plain boring dry pancakes? No, but I wasn’t full either and it was honestly a pretty crappy experience. Staff never checked on us and was unapologetic about their lack of gluten free knowledge and their misleading information that they gave us TWICE. Long story short: don’t waste your time!! Bisquik makes a much better pancake mix.
- Location:3114 N Lincoln Av or 1919 W Montrose Av. or 4520 W Irving Park Rd.
- Type of Cuisine: Pizza
- GF&G rating: 500+/5
Review: Let me preface this…I cannot rave about this place enough!! The level of allergy
knowledge that this staff has is fantastic! (Don’t believe me? Check the reviews on Find Me Gluten Free!) Although the restaurant notes that they do make gluten-containing items so this is not a dedicated gluten free facility, they make every effort to minimize this!!! They have dedicated equipment and separate oven for their gluten free food. Their staff understands food allergies and takes tons of precautions. Now for the food….HUGE HUGE HUGE portions! I mean HUGE! AND TONS OF OPTIONS!!! First, right after you tell your server that you are gluten free, you receive gluten free bread!! 😀 Now for the entrees..There are three types of gluten free pizza that you can have: thin crust, deep dish, or stuffed crust. And if that isn’t overwhelming enough, they have sandwich AND CALZONES. YES
CALZONES! Anyone who knows me knows that I am absolutely obsessed with calzones and I have not had one since my celiac diagnosis. Unlike Marcello’s, most of their toppings, including meats, are gluten free! I FINALLY settled on a gluten free calzone with chicken, mushroom, and pineapple–my favorite go-to pre-celiac days. IT WAS GINORMOUS AND DELICIOUS! The crust was perfect and tasted like old times. Ryan settled on a gluten free deep dish spinach pizza. He LOVED it!
It was so big he couldn’t even finish it. One awesome thing to note is that, unlike most places, you can order your gluten free pizza in ANY size, which is perfect for someone like me that eats a lot. Although I was completely stuffed from dinner, I had to try their dessert because they had SO MANY gluten free dessert options. I settled on the gluten free death by chocolate and was not disappointed (although I took 90% of it home because I couldn’t finish it and ate it the next day for breakfast. oops.). Would I recommend this place? You bet! Would I return? In a heartbeat. This is the best gluten free pizza I have ever had. This has to be one of my favorite restaurants too! Thanks Gluten Free Philly for the recommendation!!!
- Location: 835 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL (Water Tower Place)
- Type of Cuisine: American
- GF&G rating: 5/5
Review: I went here once before with my mom on a day trip to Chicago about 3 years ago. I had totally forgotten until Brianna recommended it. HOW COULD I FORGET THIS
MARVELOUS PLACE?!? Huge gluten free menu!! SO MANY OPTIONS! I think I annoyed the staff because I kept changing my mind on what I wanted. I finally settled on a cheeseburger. Mity nice carries gluten free buns which are fantastic–amplifying the options available to celiacs. Once you say that you are gluten free, AMAZING gluten free cheese bread (think popovers with cheese on inside) are brought to your table. Forget having to just sit there while the rest of your table enjoys their bread basket. I LOVED being able to enjoy the bread…wish I had gone for seconds! The bread was incredible too. Their burger was absolutely delicious. Only
recommendation? Wish they would have gluten free fries! However, the staff makes up for this in terms of sheer number of options available as a side. I had mashed potatoes while Ryan settled on veggies (he isn’t quite the carbaholic that I am!). The burger was flavorful and was a
good size portion. Sadly, at the time, we were too full for dessert but Mity Nice does have a couple gluten free dessert options including cookie sundaes! Wish I could have tried that! Mity Nice is reasonably priced too! Like Chicago’s Pizza, there is a warning that this restaurant does use gluten so there is always a chance of cross contamination. However, like Chicago’s Pizza, the staff understands food allergies and takes precautions to prevent any cross contamination. Neither time I went to Mity Nice was I glutened and I would definitely return again!!
- Location: 50 East Walton Street, Chicago, IL
- Type of Cuisine: Cupcakes!
- GF&G rating: 5/5
Review: I LOVE SPRINKLES CUPCAKES! They are my go-to in NYC. However, I didn’t
realize that there was one in Chicago until Celiac Pack told me that Sprinkles was right by Navy Pier. Thanks, Celiac Pack, for the information! You made me one very happy celiac! Sprinkles has one gluten free flavor: Red velvet. It is honestly the very best red velvet cupcake that I have ever had. It is moist and good size—tons of perfect cream cheese
frosting. Best of all, Sprinkles keeps their gluten free cupcakes in back away from all of the gluten-containing cupcakes in the case. Although Sprinkles is not a dedicated gluten free facility, the gluten free cupcakes are made first thing in the morning before any gluten containing cupcakes are made and the equipment is cleaned down. These gluten free cupcakes are kept away from the gluten-containing cupcakes at all times and the staff changes their gloves to prevent cross contamination. Each gluten free cupcake has a sugar “G” on it to designate it being gluten free. No confusion there! Apparently Sprinkles now has gluten free cookies (WHAT!!!) but I didn’t know that until it was too late–will need to check on how they bake those, but look for a future post regarding that! Thanks Sprinkles for offering the best gluten free red velvet cupcakes ever and taking the precautions so I can enjoy them as a celiac!!
Do you have any restaurants you would recommend in Chicago for our next trip there? Would love to hear if you visited these places too! 🙂
Enjoy the rest of your week everyone!!