Gluten Be Gone

Think that being on a gluten-free diet means missing your favorite foods? Think again. Whether you’re in the mood for a casual pizza and beer or an exotic tagine, local restaurants like these are making it so you can enjoy the gluten-free—and still delicious—version. Of course, as always, if you have a gluten allergy, tell your server about your needs.
Chris Edwards

Vivace Italian Restaurant
This chic midtown spot has an entire menu dedicated to gluten-free dining. In addition to the meat and cheese plates and salads, you’ll find entrées like fennel-crusted salmon ($19), hanger steak with braised short rib and potato purée ($19), and osso bucco ($29), all altered to accommodate those on a Celiac diet. 1100 Metropolitan Ave., 704-370-7755

Big Daddy’s Burger Bar
Sure, Big Daddy’s offers items like salad and chili for those on a gluten-free diet. But if you’re here, this is your chance to enjoy one of its celebrated juicy burgers ($8.50) on a gluten-free bun. (They’re also offered on a lettuce wrap.) Load it up with choices from the more than twenty-five toppings on the gluten-free menu and enjoy it with a side of chips. 1626 East Blvd., 704-714-4888; 15105 John J. Delaney Dr., 704-919-2700

Blue Restaurant & Bar
No longer are those with wheat allergies relegated to the sidelines of the gourmet game. At this swanky spot, menu items noted with a GF can be prepared sans gluten. You’ll find choices like lobster and slow-cooked blanquette of pork ($28.95) and scallops wrapped in prosciutto ($11.95). But your best bet for culinary indulgence is Chef Gene Briggs’s famed short-rib tagine ($28.95). 206 N. College St., 704-927-2583

This popular local pizza chain offers gluten-free versions of its beloved pies. While you can’t order the without-wheat version by the slice, twelve-inch pizzas start at $10.95 and pair well with a Red Bridge gluten-free beer. Those especially sensitive to gluten should note, though, that while the tasty crusts are made elsewhere, they are baked in the same ovens as regular pizzas. Multiple locations,

Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen
Salads? Of course. Seared sea scallops? Got it. Spit-fire roasted BBQ chicken? Yep. Pan- fried corn? Buttered butter beans? Fresh garden peas? Check, check, check. At this always-busy SouthPark spot, those avoiding gluten can enjoy locally grown veggies and tender, slow-cooked meats. Just ask for the gluten-free menu when you arrive. 6601 Morrison Blvd., 704-366-8688

Cantina 1511
The gluten-free menu here may be short (there are only seven items), but quality makes up for quantity with choices like fish tacos drizzled with a spicy chipotle ranch ($12) and a creamy coconut flan topped with fresh fruit ($5.95). Want something to munch on while your companions share the chips? Try the queso appetizer served with corn tortillas ($5). 511 East Blvd., 704-331-9222; 7708 Rea Rd., 704-752-9797

Categories: Local Flavor