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). And 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. #winning!
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 boasts seven locations after opening a brand new Randolph street locale at Randolph & Clark streets. 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 Lincoln Park) 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 mushrooms, onions, cheese, and balsamic on the Roasted Mushroom & Goat. Mmm!
Native Foods Café
Native Foods Café came to Chicago by way of Palm Springs, California. And now, they boast 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 at their Wells Street Loop location in March. While their focus remains on (what else?!) vegetarian dishes, fresh takes on gluten-free options abound in menu items like the seasonal Chargrilled Street Corn Bowl, Quinoa Power Salad, or standalone turmeric cauliflower and roasted yams.
Plenty of bakeries offer up a token gluten-free cookie or two. But an entire bakery dedicated to the cause? That’s like finding the proverbial dessert in a haystack. 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 Whole Foods and other health-minded grocery stores around Chicago and the ’burbs.
River North got a little bit healthier when the Asian-inspired Brightwok Kitchen joined the neighborhood’s dining roster. 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!
Though this Riverside bakery has long been serving up gluten-free treats to patrons and wholesale clients (including the University of Chicago, which receives 2,000 muffins a week from Flùr) alike, owner Adriana Saldaña-Meadath expanded her offerings into a “marketplace” of gluten-free food choices that range from sauerkraut to GF baby food in May 2018. If all goes well, we may even see the new goods manifest into their own spinoff shop — fingers crossed!
While those with gluten sensitivity will want to steer clear of the sweet brews found at Chicago’s first cider house, there’s plenty to eat in the form of GF candied bacon, Crispy Duck Tacos, Faroe Island Salmon, Jasmine Paella… need we go on? The dinner menu is a venerable cornucopia of gluten-free finds!
This veggie-focused Wicker Park locale, has a little something for everyone, gluten- and dairy-free diners included. Kale salad? Shishito? Tuna? 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!
**Updated by Nicole Briese, August 2018