The Clarion

Eating gluten-free in the Madison area

Anna Richter, Staff Writer

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You probably have a family member, friend, or have seen a customer that asks to see a gluten-free menu from time to time. Some do it because they have celiac disease, others as a fad diet, or maybe they just don’t like being bloated and gaining weight.

Whatever their reason, sometimes they (myself included) make dining-out a chore. And if they are also dairy-free, the options are spread fairly thin. Wisconsin is known for cows, cheese, beer and football; none of which fit into a healthy lifestyle.

People look at you like you’re crazy when you tell them about your allergies or eating restrictions then ask questions like: “So, you can’t eat eggs?”

I shake my head and wait for them to realize that eggs come out of chickens and, therefore, are not gluten or dairy.

If you suffer from ailments of the food-allergy variety, or know a person that makes eating out more of a chore than you bargained for, this website offers a solution: The following are some of my favorites:

1) Bunky’s Café.
Serving Mediterranean cuisine
(pricey, but worth it). Located at 2425 Atwood Ave, Madison. Call (608) 204-7004.

2) Bonzo.
If you enjoy falafel, or have never tried it, this is the place to go. Located at 2105 Sherman Ave, Madison. Call (608) 441-2002.

3) Bonfyre American Grille.
Try the “Mort’s Pot Roast” red wine demi glaze, shitakes, spinach, baby carrots, asparagus, and mash. Located at 2601 W. Beltline Highway, Madison, off of Todd Drive. Call (608) 273-3973.

4) Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse.
Get ready to taste heaven. “Johnny’s Supper Club Spinach Salad” with hot bacon dressing, sun-dried tomatoes, pecans, prosciutto, and hard cooked egg. Located at  8390 Market St, Middleton. Call (608) 831-3705.

5) HuHot Mongolian Grill.
If you are looking to save money, this is a perfect choice where you can build your own hibachi meal. Located at 610 Junction Road #101, Madison. Call (608) 827-7110.

6) Glass Nickel Pizza.
Has build-your-own salads that are to die for. A number of locations on all sides of town. Call (608) 218-9000.

7) Joey’s Seafood & Grill.
Get the crab legs. Located at Clock Tower Court, 6604 Mineral Point Road, Madison. Call (608) 829-0093

8) Monty’s Blue Plate Diner.
They not only have a GF (Gluten-Free) on certain dishes they serve, but also a V (for Vegan)! Vegans who are gluten-free have it even worse than the rest of us. Located at 2089 Atwood Ave, Madison. Call (608) 244-8505.

9) Edo.
Great sushi and private tea rooms! Gluten-free soy sauce available. Located at 6309 Monona Drive, Monona. Call (608) 226-9829.

10) Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace.
Southwestern cuisine. All sorts of tacos to choose from. Located at 2009 Atwood Ave., Madison. Call (608) 242-1800.

I hope these selections are helpful to you and that you enjoy your next meal.
In retrospect, these are a few restaurants that you might have problems finding gluten-free options:

  • Famous Dave’s – sorry guys, great food, but not a safe bet.
  • Burger King – obviously McDonald’s and Wendy’s, too.
  • Denny’s – and IHOP and Perkins, too.
  • Potbelly – answer is in the name.
  • Hooters – unless you go for their oysters.
  • Texas Roadhouse – the little bread rolls are delicious and almost worth it though.
  • Happy Wok – you won’t be missed.
  • Culver’s – sad, but true.

Hopefully you can take this as lightheartedly as I did, and realize that I’m not telling anyone not to frequent these establishments. I am just pointing out the places that are difficult to order gluten-free from.

You are probably hungry by now, so stop reading this article and go indulge.

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Eating gluten-free in the Madison area