Dining out on vacation can be one of the best parts of a trip. What better way to get the pulse on local culture and experience a city’s charm and creativity? It’s that one fantastic meal, that one great craft cocktail, that one friendly server that can help make memories on a trip. But for the gluten-free traveler, dining out on vacation can sometimes be tricky. Where will we eat? Will they be able to accommodate for gluten-free?
In my job, I travel our great state of Missouri quite frequently. I also have Celiac Disease. But as food and travel are my two main passions in life, no way will I let gluten get in the way of a great trip. Wherever possible, I make sure to stop and sample the gluten-free fare in our cities. And let me tell you, we have some really great restaurants that bend over backwards to accommodate gluten-free travelers.
Without further ado, here is a small sampling of Missouri restaurants at which I’ve personally dined that either have gluten-free menus or are able to accommodate for gluten-free.
Please note, this list is not meant to be a list of restaurants that are certified gluten-free or exercise cross-contamination best practices. So, please be cautious and address your dietary needs/concerns with the manager and server. We hope this will get you started in the right direction and give you a taste of the fantastic gluten-free dining options right here in Missouri.
- Catalpa – Named “Best Restaurant” by Rural Missouri in 2012 and 2013, Catalpa is a hidden gem in historic Arrow Rock. Chef Liz can modify many dishes to be gluten-free and even offers visitors the opportunity to call ahead to discuss dietary needs.
- Cantina Laredo - This upscale Mexican restaurant in Branson easily accommodates gluten-free diners and marks their gluten-free menu items with a triangle. Their tortilla chips are fried in a dedicated fryer and many of their tacos can be served on corn tortillas. Try the Tacos de Pescado, made with Mahi Mahi, marinated veggies, queso fresco and chipotle aioli.
- Silver Dollar City - Silver Dollar City offers quite a few options for the gluten-free visitor and features multiple allergen menus on their website. Try the Tender Smoked Beef Brisket at the Mine Restaurant, or the Skillet at the Tater Patch.
- Bleu - Bleu is an absolute breeze to dine at if you are looking for gluten-free options. Menu items marked with a “g” either are, or can be prepared, gluten-free. Bleu prides themselves on sourcing food locally, and you’ll certainly be able to taste the farm-to-table goodness. Their menu changes twice a year, with the seasons. The Shrimp and Grits and the Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with bacon are to die for.
- ingredient restaurant – If you’re on the go in Columbia, this gourmet fast casual restaurant is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat. Many of Ingredient’s menu items are gluten-free or can be prepared gluten-free. They’ll even bring out gluten-free chips and queso to you while you’re waiting. Though they have many delicious salads, I’m fond of the Chicken Caesar Salad without croutons. And guess what? It comes with a [darn good] gluten-free breadstick. Ingredient also has locations in Kansas City.
- Beks – A unique gastropub in the heart of downtown Fulton that features fresh, local ingredients, Bek’s is knowledgeable about gluten and can prepare many menu items to be gluten-free.
- Arris’ Pizza - This Greek-style pizza house offers a mean gluten-free pizza – one of the best crusts I’ve had in Missouri. For those of you with Celiac Disease or severe allergies, there may be some cross-contamination in the preparation of the pizza, so please proceed with caution.
- Gram & Dun - Located on the Plaza in Kansas City, Gram and Dun was very knowledgeable about gluten-free dining. In addition to a great atmosphere and delicious cocktails, they have delicious food. The Blackened Shrimp and Grits are amazing. If you’re dining with someone who is not gluten-free, tell them they really must try the Chicken & Waffles.
Lake of the Ozarks
- H. Toad’s Bar and Grill – I found myself very familiar with H. Toad’s Bar and Grill after being caught here in a snowstorm for a couple of days this past March. H. Toad’s did a great job with accommodating for gluten-free for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Word on the street when I stayed there last was that they were working on a gluten-free menu.
- Baxter’s Lakeside Grill - Step into Baxter’s and prepare yourself for gorgeous lakeside views, stellar service and delicious cuisine. The servers are knowledgeable about gluten and can modify your entree to be gluten-free.
- Chaumette Vineyards and Winery - Chaumette offers fresh, world-class cuisine and does a fantastic job with accommodating gluten-free visitors. Get the full scoop on what to eat here.
- Bad Art Bistro - Located in downtown St. Joseph, Bad Art Bistro offers fresh, innovative cuisine in an intimate and unique gallery-esque space, perfect for a date night or a girls night out. Their food is wonderful, and many options can be prepared gluten-free. I recommend the Boneless Pork Chop, wrapped in bacon and served with Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and a bourbon glaze.
- Aviary Cafe and Creperie - Step into Aviary Café and Creperie and prepare to fall in love. The décor, the food, and the atmosphere are all delightful. They offer gluten-free crepes and can modify salads and entrees to be gluten-free. May I recommend the Peach Melba crepe?
- Pastaria – Located in downtown Clayton, Pastaria is the latest endeavor of Gerard Craft, the owner of Niche. They offer fantastic homemade gluten-free pasta, salads and delicious gelato. You won’t be disappointed.
- Corner Pub and Grill – If you’re looking for great gluten-free bar food (a rarity, it seems), look no farther than Corner Pub in Valley Park. The owner’s daughter, Hanna, is gluten-free, and he has created a wonderful menu for her – complete with gluten-free chicken wings, nachos, burgers, sandwiches and French fries fried in a dedicated fryer. Eat your heart out and finish up with a homemade gluten-free chocolate chip cookie for dessert.
What are your favorite gluten-free spots in Missouri? Comment below!
For an expanded list of gluten-free restaurants in Missouri, click here.
Written by Kate Kerans, senior account executive with H&L Partners, the Missouri Division of Tourism’s advertising agency of record, and blogger at GlutenFreePearls.com