Gluten got you down? Whether you’re avoiding it for medical reasons or trying a new diet, eating out can feel, well… impossible. Will you ever eat a muffin that doesn’t taste like sawdust again? A post-workout pizza, or even a warm, gooey bowl of macaroni and cheese? You betcha.
We’ve been all over Detroit to find gluten-free eats that won’t disappoint, with flavors from around the globe, and options for every occasion and budget — from dives to fine dining and breakfast to dessert. Put down that sad salad and get ready to dig in!
There’s nothing worse than getting glutened on a night out. (Seriously, nothing.) Fortunately, Wright & Co. on Woodward Ave. is one of Detroit’s best places for small plates in a polished art deco setting, and one of our top choices for allergy-friendly eats. Just let your server know that you’re avoiding gluten and prepare to be dazzled by courses like chickpea fritters, seared bay scallops with medjool dates, and New York steak with wild mushrooms and tarragon butter. If you somehow still have room for dessert, a tiny mason jar full of their rich butterscotch pudding is the perfect end to the evening.
While this isn’t a dedicated gluten-free bakery, head to Sister Pie in West Village for the best chocolate chip cookie of your life — gluten or no gluten! The buckwheat chocolate chip cookies here are made with locally-grown buckwheat flour, a kiss of coconut oil, top-quality Belgian chocolate chips, and a dusting of flaky Maldon salt. You’ll want to get a box for the office (or yourself). If you want to branch out, there are also fudgy gluten-free vegan brownies, and nourishing seasonal soups and salads made fresh for lunch each day.
If you’re looking to impress a special gluten-intolerant someone, Selden Standard is our choice for stellar service and anything but standard fare. This modern restaurant in the Cass Corridor is known for beautiful dishes in tune with the seasons, but they’re also top on our list for attentive, well-informed servers who can orchestrate menu substitutions for even the most sensitive palate. Choose from an impressive wine list and a menu of shareable plates like smoked lamb ribs, impossibly delicate vegetable carpaccio, and creamy panna cotta for a memorable evening without gluten.
Soak up that Parisian joie de vivre (loving life) right here in Detroit at Le Petit Zinc. This quaint Midtown restaurant has a killer patio and a respectable selection of gluten-free options, making it one of our favorite spots for lazy Sunday gatherings. In addition to a pitch-perfect Salade Niçoise, you can even score a gluten-free crepe! Go sweet with Confiture jam or Nutella, or make a meal of it with smoked salmon and egg or chevre and roasted veggies. Fitt Tip: Le Petit Zinc is BYOB, so remember to stop by the party store for a bottle of bubbly beforehand.
If you’ve been gluten-intolerant in Detroit for any amount of time, you know how real the struggle is to satisfy your sweet tooth. Lust over forbidden pastries no longer, friends, this chic, industrial cafe in Birmingham can finally hook you up! We could talk about the house-roasted coffee or the quinoa bowl or the omelettes — all of which are worth the drive up to Birmingham on their own. But we won’t, because there are gluten-free brownies, macaroons, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, and banana bread to entice you.
These Spanish tapas are legendary. And the gluten-free tapas are just as amazing as the gluten-filled one. This authentic Spanish spot in Midtown will surely please your food cravings. Not only is the menu gluten intolerant-friendly, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options that don’t lack any flavor. Expect the post-visit food coma and prepare to see these tapas in your dreams.
Gluten-free pizza is getting easier and easier to find these days (which we’re certainly not complaining about), but so many disappoint when it comes to flavor. Pie-Sci is a happy exception, experimenting daily with fresh combinations and punny names like “Drop the Beet”, “Big Shrimpin’”, and “The Fennel Countdown”. Honestly, the gluten-free crust is a marvel of science—thin, chewy, and flavorful—and is the perfect base for, say… an Insane Cauliflower Pizza. AND, almost all menu items can be made vegan, too, making this Detroit’s most allergy-friendly slice.
Belly up to the counter for a farm-focused breakfast at this old-timey diner on Jefferson Ave. Surrounded by shelves of pickles and preserves, the congenial atmosphere and close-fitting tables encourage getting to know your neighbor over an egg cream or fresh-squeezed orange juice. If you’re avoiding gluten, there’s plenty to choose from, including Buckwheat Pancakes, made with 100% buckwheat flour and drizzled in Michigan maple syrup, and the Staff Favorite, a hearty rice bowl with eggs, maple bacon, mushrooms, kimchi, and avocado.
Whether you’re feeling Bruschetta (made with gluten-free bread from Rumi’s Passion Bakery!) or want to indulge in a hearty Cilantro-Peanut Stir Fry, this cozy vegan cafe in Midtown has got your taste buds covered. See, there’s no need to forfeit a tasty meal while following a gluten-free lifestyle in the Motor City. Seva specializes in tasty dishes and offers an extensive GF menu with tons of customizable options.
A destination for gearheads far and wide, Vinsetta Garage dishes up “custom Detroit eats” and classic car culture in this former auto shop in Berkley. Their signature Rock N’ Rye nitro ice cream (with Pop Rocks on top!) is worth a visit on its own, but a FULL gluten-free menu keeps us coming back. Rest easy with the knowledge that all gluten-free items are prepared in a separate space, and bask in the rare opportunity to order appetizers, burgers, pizzas, salads, and dessert… all gluten-free. Go virtuous with one of their signature kale bowls or check out their double-decker Vinsetta Burger with maple bacon, double cheese, and McClure’s pickles (on a GF bun, of course).
Known for their “farm-fresh pub grub,” Woodbridge Pub offers local fare sourced within a few miles of their restaurant. Don’t expect the same foods every time — this hip pub changes their menu with every season. Do expect lots of gluten-free options, though. Avoid the “G-word” by indulging in incredible menu options that are marked with a “G”. From Queso Fundido and Steak Salad to Pub Fish ’n Chips and Mushroom Risotto, the GF menu items are far from ordinary. They even have gluten-free buns available for their huge selection of burgers (seriously… there’s nine options and seven “meat” options)!
Looking for a gluten-free alternative to Taco Tuesday? On an unassuming corner in Southwest Detroit, El Rey de las Arepas offers up traditional Venezuelan eats to broaden your horizons. Their signature arepa is a griddled corn cake stuffed with fillings like shredded beef and queso blanco, black beans and cheese, or avocado chicken salad. But there’s more! Try pabéllon criollo, the national dish of stewed beef and black beans over rice, cachapas (cheese-stuffed corn pancakes), or snack on sweet and savory fried plantains.
While we wish this bakery were in Detroit rather than Plymouth, they’re 100% worth the drive to stock up on gluten-free products that you just can’t get elsewhere. We especially love their bread selection, which includes challah and sandwich loaves, cinnamon rolls, pizza crusts, and hamburger and hot dog buns. (Basically, everything you never thought you’d eat again!) And if you need a gluten-free cake for a birthday or even a wedding, look no further — Rumi’s does adorable themed cakes for all ages and occasions.
With a focus on farm-fresh foods, Parks & Rec Diner in The Grand Army of the Republic Building offers a menu that’s as eclectic as it is delicious. They also have menu items that cater to particular allergies. Gluten-free items include the Sausage Sammy, Chilaquiles, Turkish Eggs, and their potato hash. With selections that rotate seasonally, you’ll never get bored eating here. Fitt Tip: they get super-busy on weekends, so bring your patience!
With the catchphrase, “Live. Life. Loud.”, PJ’s Lager House in Corktown is anything but ordinary. A music venue that prides themselves on their dash of New Orleans flavor, the Lager House features a surprisingly impressive menu including gluten-free options. Any of their sandwiches, burgers, or po’boys can be made GF using gluten-free bread from Sugar Kisses Bakery. And they also have a vegetarian menu, if that’s your thing!
Who wants to have their cake and eat it, too? Now you can! And you won’t even have to give gluten a thought. For the Love of Sugar in Midtown offers plenty of delicious gluten-free cakes and macarons (and vegan options, too!). The flavors of these specialty items are always changing, but with sans gluten treats like Rainbow Fruity Cereal Cake and Captain Crunch macarons, you’re sure to not be disappointed.
If you haven’t been to Slows, you haven’t lived. They’re a Detroit staple famous for melting-in-your-mouth BBQ and a variety of exquisite sauces. But Slows also offers an extensive range of gluten-free options. Try some fall-off-the-bone St. Louis Cut Ribs, sustainably-raised pulled pork, the Charles Bronson salad, or some tasty jambalaya. Or, order one of their amazing sandwiches (like Fitt favorite, the Yardbird) just without the bun! Whatever you do, don’t pass up the opportunity to get your GF on at their Michigan Ave. spot for to-go shop in Midtown.
**Updated by Alexis Brumm, September 2018