Like Birkenstocks and brewery yoga, the gluten-free lifestyle is certainly having a moment. But to the many Charlotteans struggling with celiac disease or other dietary restrictions, the rise in gluten awareness is a very welcome trend. Most importantly, it’s one that’s here to stay.
As a rapidly evolving foodie city, many of Charlotte’s local eateries are now offering menu items that allow their gluten-free patrons to dine healthfully, creatively, and, of course, deliciously. Next time you’re out, hungry, and need to avoid the G-word, make one of these spots your go-to.
Moo and Brew
If you haven’t already been to Moo and Brew, you’ve surely heard about it. More than just another gluten-friendly burger joint, Moo and Brew hosts live music, festivals, charities, and more, making it the perfect place to dine in and hang out. Try one of their specialty burgers on a gluten-free bun, and see for yourself why this Plaza Midwood spot is gaining the rep as ‘best burger in Charlotte’.
Living Kitchen—also known as “Luna’s” or “that vegan place”—delivers a raw menu with a gourmet twist (translation: definitely Insta-worthy). With menu items like Pad Thai and Manicotti and Turtle Cake, you almost forget that all of their ingredients are 100% organic and plant-based. Seriously, you should see the things these people can do with zucchini and cashews. With plenty of gluten-free items, Living Kitchen delivers a clean experience that will appeal to a variety of taste buds. Oh, and they now serve brunch on Sundays. Visit their flagship location in Atherton Mill, or head on over to their newer spot in SouthPark.
You probably know 300 East as that cute little house on East Boulevard in Dilworth, but what you might not know is that this quaint, family-run restaurant has a knack for serving eclectic American cuisine. They have an awesomely diverse gluten-free menu, but the Asian Tuna Burger steals the show. Plus, the daughter portion of 300 East’s mother-daughter duo is a pastry chef known for her gluten-free creations. Adding to its accolades, Guy Fieri checked it out on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives! Oh, and did we mention that 300 East is rumored to be haunted? Yep, when it comes to a gluten-free dining experience, this spot is the whole package.
Who wants some ‘za? Finding gluten-free pizza might seem like an impossible task, but Pure has more than stepped up to the (pizza) plate. With locations in 7th Street Market Uptown, as well as on Central, Pure Pizza features an entire gluten-free menu, complete with breadsticks, sandwiches, and, of course, their beloved craft pizzas. The best part? Stay for dessert because their flourless brownie from Gâteau Baking Company is amazing.
For gluten-free eaters seeking a finer dining experience, look no further than Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen in both Uptown and in SouthPark. With food sourced from artisans and small local farmers, Rooster’s menu features many heirloom options for their gluten-friendly guests, all of which can be found on their gluten-free dinner menu. And for the sake of being fancy, pinkies out.
While we’re on the subject of dessert, let’s talk about Suárez Bakery. Known best for their Insta- and drool-worthy layered doughnut cake, this bakery in Park Road Shopping Center also has options for the gluten-free sweet tooth. Try an Almond Horn for a super sweet experience, or a Coconut Macaroon if you’re craving something a little simpler. Wipe your mouth; you’re drooling.
Paco’s Tacos & Tequila
Set up near SouthPark Mall, Paco’s Tacos & Tequila is a great place to rest your feet after a long day of shopping. So why’s this place so great? For one, their portions are huge. And on top of that, instead of offering just a few gluten-free options, Paco’s Tacos & Tequila has an entire menu dedicated to those seeking complete gluten freedom. They don’t just talk the talk; Paco’s Tacos & Tequila walks the walk and guacs the guac.
Sunflour Baking Company
Although Sunflour’s gluten-free menu is small, it’s most definitely mighty. Baking in Dilworth, everything is made in small batches from scratch. Try their velvety gluten-free cheesecake or a coconut macaron. Also, do you like organic coffee? Of course you do. Their irresistible gluten-free treats pair perfectly with their specialty brewed organic coffee.
Okay, yes, it’s a chain. We know that’s like nails on a chalkboard to Charlotte’s #eatlocal crowd. But Taziki’s is too good to forget. Serving it up in Metro, Taziki’s serves Mediterranean fare in a fast-casual setting (think build-your-own everything). The options are limitless for our gluten-free friends and include everything from hummus to Greek salads to grilled meats and fish. They can make just about any meal a gluten-free one. So pretty much, when it comes to saving the gluten-free day, Taziki’s is most definitely the gyro you’ve been waiting for.
Bistro La Bon
A local favorite, Bistro La Bon brings all the best cuisines from around the world — right to the heart of Plaza Midwood. But Bistro La Bon’s about way more than flavor. Not only is all their food locally sourced, there are lots of options for every diner’s diet, including gluten-free. From Grilled Lamb Chops to Stuffed Peppadews. Plus, almost all of their menu items can be customized for the sans gluten eater. Gluten who?
Hawthorne’s New York Pizza & Bar
Sure, most pizza places these days offer a gluten-free crust, but not all have an entire menu just for their gluten-sensitive folks. But then again, not all pizza places can be like Hawthorne’s. Sure, you can stick to the basics, like a salad, or you can order up something savory, including pizza, pasta, and more. There are lots of locations around Charlotte, so just find the one nearest you. Might we suggest the Supreme Pizza or the Pasta Pomadora?
**Updated by Hayley Lyons, August 2018