Do you need to eat gluten free while you are in Grand Rapids?

Real Estate Agent with JH Realty Partners 6501309180

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:

Right outside Eastown is Marie Catribs.

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

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 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

 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  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

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 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!


The Brick road pizza was a great find.............the gluten free pizza was very good..........and my family very much liked their 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.











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Michelle Gordon is a Realtor with JH Realty Partners - Ada, Michigan -  With a team of Realtors who's Focus is 1st time home buyers, Relocation, Luxury listings and Commercial Properties in West Michigan.  You may find Michelle on facebook, twitter or linked in and she invites you to join her.


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Glen Kotulek
Home Critique Property Inspections LLC - Austin, TX
Austin Home Inspector, schedule online

Nice info Michelle!  I'm sure the local Celiac's will benefit greatly from this information!  I too am Gluten intolerant and will try to do the same type post for the Austin TX area when I finish my research of the area!  

A great new gluten free beer from Anhauser Busch is now readily available in most stores around here and hopefully there too:  "Red Bridge"  made from sorghum and is quite good and is not too over-priced!   Happy eating

Glen Kotulek,  Home Critique Property Inspections LLC 

Feb 07, 2008 09:02 AM #1
Bridget Blodgett


 Thank you so much for making this post! I was recently diagnosed with celiac's and offered an internship in GR. I've been going crazy to try and figure out this information for my hometown let alone trying to move in the middle of it. I look forward to trying some of these places now!

Apr 21, 2008 12:46 PM #2
Michelle Gordon
JH Realty Partners - Ada, MI
Finding Your Place
WOW, I am so excited!  This is what this blog was for; to help people like you!  Feel free to e-mail me when you are in town if you need help.  There are more places then just my favorites on this list!  Holland (about 30 miles south of here) opened a gluten free store and cafe.  I have not been yet, but I heard it is very good.  A good time to go to holland right now, soon the tulips will be blooming, so you will get some eye candy too!
Apr 21, 2008 01:43 PM #3
Michelle Gordon
JH Realty Partners - Ada, MI
Finding Your Place

Bridget - check out my new blog, this may interest you.  It could help you out while trying to get settled in here in GR, they make gluten free dinners and deliver! 


Apr 29, 2008 12:41 AM #4
Kathy Passarette
Creative Home Expressions - Mount Sinai, NY
L.I. Staging/Decorating

Michelle ~ I know this is an older blog, but it came up when I searched "gluten free".  I started a gluten free diet last weekend, having been going along with an IBS diagnosis for the past two years.  Unfortunately, I have felt worse as the months went on.  After finding Celiac disease by accident, I realized that this is what I may actually have (especially after reading that it can take 9 years to be diagnosed correctly and IBS is one of the incorrect diagnoses).  Within a matter of a couple of days I felt fantastic!  No "IBS episodes", no stomach noises that sound like a wild animal tryiing to break loose, even my mood is better.

I am spending a lot of time trying to figure out what I can eat, ordering food I can eat and reading ingredient labels.  I thank you for the bakery link and I see that I can order some things and have it delivered.  I also found some restaurants (nationwide chains) have gluten free menus.  Outback is one and you can print it out from their website.

I will have a follow-up with my doctor soon and plan on sharing with her my diet change and see if she agrees that it could be celiac disease.  It is hard to give up foods I just used to eat and take for granted, but I'm finding there are substitutes for some things.


Nov 22, 2008 11:58 AM #5
Rebecca Stocking

The West Michigan Gluten Free Food Fair is a great event in Grand Rapids.  The first one was in 2007.
Anchor Baptist Church sponsors this event. 
It is held at Kuyper College 3333 East Beltline (across the street from Sunshine Community Church.
May 2, 2009  10:00am to 3:00pm  This is a great opportunity to view, sample and purchase gluten free products.  Meet others with in the area who also have to follow a gluten free diet.  Learn about restaurants, support groups, and new products.

For more information, email Nancy at
View Anchor Baptist Church's website at

Mar 13, 2009 12:28 AM #6

Fabulous post!  There are a few new additions to the GF scene in GR.


Two neighboring hotspots on Wealthy St are The Electric Cheetah and Brick Road Pizza Company both serve up GF fare.  You can get a burger and fries, or any sandwich on GF bread at EC, and Brick Road, while perhaps not the best solution for those who can't go into places with any flour in the air, does carry a 10 inch pizza crust, which is crispy and delicious!  They are also rumored to have a supplier for GF pasta.


I end up at Marie Catribs at LEAST once a week.  Try the pudding.  Seriously.

Jun 18, 2009 04:48 PM #7
Michelle Gordon
JH Realty Partners - Ada, MI
Finding Your Place

Hi Lauren,

Okay I tried both!!!   WONDERFUL!!!!!  The pizza was great!  A wonderful experience at the Electric Cheetah...........I will add links above!



Jun 23, 2009 02:28 AM #8
Sandy Tuka
Help, I'm on a gluten and dairy free diet. I live in Cannonsburg. Can't find any place that has a decent menu for me.
Feb 25, 2011 09:09 AM #9
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