Those who have celiac disease and need to avoid gluten certainly have challenges when eating out! Over the last few years, restaurants have become much more aware of the need to provide gluten-free options for guests who require them. However, this “movement” is still in its infancy. You’ll need to ask each local restaurant whether it offers gluten-free items. Additionally, though, keep in mind that even if a menu item is gluten-free in terms of the ingredients, there is a possibility of cross-contamination if the processes used by the restaurant don’t comply with gluten-free standards. That is, if utensils, pans, cutting boards, etc., aren’t separated, you could still have a reaction. The GREAT Program (Gluten-Free Resource, Education and Awareness Training) provides education to restaurants about setting up a gluten-free kitchen. The best course of action is to ask your favorite restaurant how they approach this.
Down the road, HealthyDiningFinder.com will be identifying menu items that are gluten-free and restaurants that are certified (i.e., by organizations like GREAT) as being “safe” for those with celiac disease. Some of the restaurants that are part of Healthy Dining do offer options for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, including Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s, Flemming’s, Old Spaghetti Factory, Mama Fu’s, Roy’s, and Bonefish Grill.