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A look at five great restaurants with offerings free of gluten
By Corrie Pelc
Moving to a new city with a food allergy can be extremely difficult. All the restaurants you knew were “safe” for you to eat at are now gone, and you have to play food roulette until you find places you can eat at without getting sick.
I’ve recently moved to Denton and as someone with gluten intolerance, have been going through this exact process for about a month now. However, I am happy to report I’ve been pleasantly surprised by all the great gluten-free options Denton has to offer.
Here’s a look at my top five favorite restaurants in Denton where gluten-free diners can eat well.
**When dining out gluten free, always make sure to double-check with staff before ordering to make sure cooking methods or ingredients have not changed.
311 E Hickory St #110
If you have a hankering for some quick and delicious Mediterranean cuisine, then make sure to check out Gyro 360. Although the pita bread is not gluten free, their marinated halal chicken is and can be enjoyed in a bowl over basmati rice. The bowl also includes a fresh Mediterranean salad, drizzled with their addictive creamy white house sauce. And Jesus Sanchez, manager and team lead at Gyro 360, says their falafel is both vegan and gluten free, and can be enjoyed in a bowl as well.
Hawaiian Bros Island Grill
2220 S Loop 288
Dining out gluten free is easy at Hawaiian Bros Island Grill. That’s because there’s only two items not gluten free on their menu — their macaroni salad and the chow mein noodles on their Pacific Island Salad. When ordering a traditional plate — like their Huli Huli Chicken or Luau Pig — Casey Anderson, general manager at Hawaiian Bros Island Grill says just to ask for them to substitute the macaroni salad with seasoned vegetables. And don’t forget to finish your meal on a sweet note with their gluten-free Dole soft serve.
Kitchen West at UNT
West Hall, 320 N Texas Blvd.
Did you know that Denton’s own University of North Texas (UNT) is home to Texas’ first and only university dining hall certified to be free from the Big 8 food allergens, including milk, eggs, fish, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat (plus barley and rye)? Matthew Ward, executive chef of residential dining at UNT, says that means everything Kitchen West offers — from beef enchiladas to pizza to decadent cupcakes — are made without those ingredients. And the best part is you don’t have to be a college kid to indulge — anyone from the Denton area can enjoy an all-you-care-to-eat dining experience at Kitchen West for just $5.95+tax at the door. Kitchen West serves lunch Monday through Friday from 11am-2pm and dinner Monday through Thursday from 4:30pm-7pm (make sure to check their hours before you go in case they are closed for a special university event), and posts their full menu for each day online. And keep an eye out for their special food events, including National Strawberry Cream Pie Day on September 28th and a special Thanksgiving lunch on November 17th.
217 E Hickory St.
If it’s pizza you want, Mellow Mushroom has you covered with their 10-inch signature gluten-free crust. Although any of Mellow Mushroom’s pizzas can be ordered on the gluten-free crust, Tori Barretto, general manager of Mellow Mushroom says four of their specialty pies — Kosmic Karma, Veg Out, Mighty Meaty, and House Special — are made using their certified gluten-free safe procedures. Through these procedures, the ingredients for these pizzas are kept in a back cooler — staff is instructed to change gloves, wash up and build those pizzas in the back so there’s no cross-contamination. And Mellow Mushroom even has one of their stone brick ovens dedicated just for gluten-free pizzas.
Spiral Diner & Bakery
608 E Hickory St #100
While there’s obviously lots of great gluten-free eats for lunch and dinner in Denton, let’s not forget about the most important meal of the day — breakfast! At the Spiral Diner & Bakery, you can start the day right with a plate of fluffy gluten-free pancakes. Stephanie Solomon, general manager of Spiral Diner & Bakery says these pancakes are made from scratch at the restaurant and are served with vegan butter and agave nectar for a sweet morning treat. Or if you want to go a little bit healthier, Spiral Diner offers four different smoothies that are all gluten free, including the Standard (strawberries, bananas and almond milk), Biz (blueberries bananas, and almond milk), PB Banana (bananas, peanut butter and almond milk) and Green (spinach, banana, strawberry, peanut butter and almond milk).