ALL THE BEST SPOTS FOR GLUTEN-FREE EATS IN CHICAGO

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MOIRA LAWLER

APR 2, 2020

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IMAGE VIA VEGGIE GRILL | FACEBOOK

Gluten sensitivity is no joke, and for a growing number of people, eating GF is more than just a trend; it’s a way of life. Thankfully, tons of Chicago restaurants have wised up to the need for gluten-free dining options. Which means whether you’re battling celiac disease or just trying to cut back on your intake of the wheat protein, swearing off gluten no longer means saying goodbye to flavor (or eating out). These gluten-free spots in Chicago are all the proof you need!

You’ve heard us sing Beatrix’s praises before, and for good reason. At this eatery, you can score a healthy and GF-friendly meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we’re not talking bland salads, either. The original Streeterville restaurant, which opened in 2015, has since expanded to River North, Fulton Market, and, more recently, DePaul University’s campus marketplace in the Loop, offering up mouth-watering gluten-alternatives in the form of Kennebec fries, grilled chicken kabobs, and prime burgers.

For gluten-free eaters, Wicker Park’s August 2018 addition, Paradise Park, is well… paradise. Nearly half of their appetizers, which include potato skins and bean dip, boast ingredients that are sans gluten. The third eatery from co-owners Clay Hamilton and Josh Lachelli, the same guys behind gluten-friendly pizza joint Homeslice and Happy Camper, Paradise Park also offers up gluten-free crusts on any small order of their 30 ‘za slice options. What a time to be alive!

This OG hotspot for GF lunchtime sandwiches in the city now has eight locations across town. The restaurant, also known for their devotion to organic ingredients, switched things up for their returning customers, revamping their original 180 W. Washington St. locale in June 2017 after 12 years. The result? Added seating for up to 35 people plus new grab-and-go options that include the chain’s mouth-watering melty ‘wiches—all of which can be ordered on gluten-free bread—and classic bowls. We’ll take the organic quinoa, egg, and avocado power breakfast, please!

This fast-casual restaurant has three Chicago-area locations (River North, Streeterville, and Gold Coast) for gluten-free eaters to hit on the regular. Not only are the options expansive, but they’re naturally gluten-free. That means no crazy ingredients you can’t pronounce subbing in for wheat! Instead, you’ll find only the good stuff you already know and love — like cage-free eggs, local tomatoes, arugula, cheddar, roasted mushrooms, and chipotle aioli on the Glow-Up Egg Omelet. Mmm!

Native Foods Café came to Chicago by way of Palm Springs, California. And now, they have four area locations that all cater to your dietary restrictions—everything on the menu is vegan—and there are plenty of nut-, soy-, and gluten-free options, to boot. Try the portabella mushroom burger and nostalgia-inducing mac and cheese, for starters. But be warned: if you’re especially sensitive to gluten, you may want to choose another spot on the list, this is not a gluten-free-only eatery, so there’s always the potential cross-contamination.

This West Coast import made their way to the Windy City in February 2018 at Broadway and Diversey and quickly expanded, opening doors in The Loop, West Loop, and River North. While their focus remains on (what else?!) vegetarian dishes, fresh takes on gluten-free options abound in menu items like the Quinoa Power Salad, Paleo Zucchini Noodles and Sausage or standalone Crispy Fries or Moroccan Lentil Soup.

Plenty of bakeries offer up a token gluten-free cookie or two. But an entire bakery dedicated to the cause? That’s like winning the lotto. This Andersonville storefront serves old-fashioned sweets, including cakes, brownies, and cookies galore — with a gluten-free twist. Not in the North Side neighborhood? Find the brand at local coffee shops, Whole Foods and other health-minded grocery stores around Chicago and the ’burbs.

River North and The Loop got a little bit healthier when the Asian-inspired Brightwok Kitchen joined the neighborhoods' dining rosters. Not only is everything 100% gluten-free, it’s also dairy- and peanut-free, with homemade sauces made of high-quality, vegan ingredients. That means everything from the orange glazed steak and zucchini to the Magic Cake of cashew butter and chocolate chips is safe for suffers of celiac disease… and beyond!

This veggie-focused Wicker Park locale, has a little something for everyone, gluten- and dairy-free diners included. Kale salad? Shishito? Tuna? Eclectic cocktails and wine? This and more is all here, with ingredients provided from Butternut Sustainable Farm, Mick Klug Farm, Green Acres, and Nicholas Farm and Orchard. It doesn’t get much fresher than that!

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