If you are gluten intolerant like me, one of the things you are going to worry about is; when I go to Grand Rapids, where will I eat?
This was a huge concern of mine. I had just found out I was gluten intolerant right before moving here. The company that was relocating us was sending us here for a long week end to check out the area and look for a home to move into. However, my biggest worry was where am I going to eat?
I knew I was going to be on the road a lot, so getting the wrong food, was not an option. So needless to say I did not eat much the whole time I was here, and was relieved to go home so I could cook my own food.
Well, Grand Rapids has come a long way with accommodating food allergies in the restaurant industry.
My personal Favorites:
She caters to just about any food allergy you may have. One of the things that impressed me is that her staff is as knowledgeable as her. Her wait staff can guide you as to what you can eat and can not eat. She makes her own gluten free bread, so I can even have a sandwich if I want to! Wooo Hooo!
Another restaurant near by but want to have a cocktail with your food is The Green Well. http://www.thegreenwell.com/about
Matt, the head chef has been cooking gluten free for me for about 4 years now. He knows his stuff!
This gastro pub has 20 draught beers on tap, that change all the time to give you a variety, with in the mix is always some local brew.
I have never gone to either of theses restaurants with out waiting for a seat, but they are worth it. Both of these resultants believe in local first and try to buy from the local farmers. So my advise is go to Marie Catribs for breakfast, as her plates are large........you will be full till dinner! Then go to The Green Well for dinner.
Looking for a more formal dinner? Two of my favorites are in Down Town Grand Rapids.
The Chop House http://www.thechophouserestaurant.com/pages/chop_grand.html
A wonderful steak house that has their gluten free menu on line. My daughter's favorite place to go for her birthday! If you go ON your birthday your dinner is free. All of their meat is grain fed, USDA Prime beef. The have a very nice wine list as well. When you are done eating, and think you can eat no more............. Then it is time to go down stairs to the cigar room. After dinner drinks and deserts and cigars are served here. A very nice place to go for fine dining and entertaining.
My favorite for seafood. Having moved here from the east coast, and raised in Florida, do I need to say how particular I am about my seafood? Leo (the owner) gets fresh seafood in daily. So therefore their menu may change as to what the fresh catch is or what oysters they may have available that night. You can go casual and eat in the bar area, my husband and my favorite thing to do. Or dress it up a bit and eat in the dinning room. Either way you are going to have great gluten free food!
Still downtown but want a light bite or just a bunch of appetizers? Well then, San Chez http://www.sanchezbistro.com/ is your place. They can tell you what you can not eat. San Chez, a Tapas Bistro, has this very cool computer program that when they put into the computer your food allergy, it spits out what you can not eat. A very fun and vibrant place to go. It is located in the heart of all the down town action! Near by is valet parking (right around the corner). Very good for the person out on the town for the evening. Park your car and walk.
I have to tell you right across from the valet parking there is a hot dog vender. I think he comes out about 10pm. He has the best dogs in town. You will find a long line waiting for his dogs at 1am! No, they are not gluten free! I get the hot dog and throw away the bun!
I can not do this with out telling you about my bakery. Coco Charlotte http://coco-charlotte.com/
Erin makes the best gluten free deserts! Her chocolate chip cookies are to die for! I get 2 dozen at a time, and my family eats them as well. You can not even tell they are gluten free! She has not been open long, but the word about her great baked goods have spread like wild fire. I do not wait till the end of the day to go see her, as she is always sold out. Erin also sells her baked items to Forest Hills Foods.
If you need to visit a grocery store, Forest Hills Foods http://www.foresthillsfoods.com/Store/StoreHome.aspx has one of the largest selections and is the most accommodating store I have found. When you walk in to the store right around the customer service desk, you will find a wall of brochures. This is where you will go to find their list of gluten free foods by aisle. I do not like to grocery shop, so they have made my life a lot easier. Forest Hills Foods will also have gluten free seminars and samples for you try on occasion, which is great, because buying gluten free food is expensive, so it nice to try the food first. I can not tell you how many boxes of food I have thrown away!
There many other places you can go in Grand Rapids that will cook gluten free for you, this is just a list of my favorites. As none of them have ever slipped up once while I was there.
While you are here I hope you have a chance to visit some of these places, you will not be disappointed!
New additions 06/23/2009
Per the recommendation from a fellow blogger below I tried the Electric Cheetah and the Brick Road pizza place. Both very good recommendations in my opinion!
The electric Cheetah uses and much as they can from local farmers and natural organic ingredients. The price tag was very reasonable and VERY tasty food. They made me gluten free croutons for my salad.... and had gluten free buns for my burger..........I felt like I was eating like everyone else! http://www.electriccheetah.com/
The Brick road pizza was a great find.............the gluten free pizza was very good..........and my family very much liked their pizza...........so they did not mind getting a "regular" pizza while I ordered the gluten free one............we are from the east coast and used to a thin crust pizza where you can fold the slice in half and eat it............they can make one like this. http://www.brickroadpizza.com/