Three Days in Chicago: A Gluten-Free Guide

A sunny day at Chicago’s Bean, July 2017

As someone with celiac who also values having memorable dining experiences when she travels, finding good restaurants can be . . . difficult for me. I can vacillate between being in total awe of the options/care taken at one restaurant and completely frustrated by the ineptitude of another, often in the same day. It’s hard to find up-to-date information about gluten-free options in any given city, because the restaurant scene is constantly evolving. I can also kind of be a picky customer — I don’t want to just eat a slice of gluten-free bread that I could eat at home, and I don’t really want to just “fuel” myself for the day. I want creative, interesting options.

So, with the mission of putting some more up-to-date information out there for food-savvy folks who also happen to be gluten-free, I thought I’d do a run-down of all the places I ate at and enjoyed during a recent visit to Chicago.

Y’all, Chicago takes care of its gluten-free eaters. Not only did I find a wide variety of options across the city, but I was also incredibly impressed by the city’s waitstaff. When you have celiac, you need waiters who are both kind and knowledgeable. In Chicago, multiple waiters immediately asked if I had celiac or not, and then went of their way to make sure the kitchen avoided cross-contamination. Even aside from their gluten-helpfulness, the waiters in Chicago all seemed lovely and genuinely interested in ensuring I and my family had the best meal possible. We talked about this phenomenon to a friend who just moved to Chicago from Austin and he’s had the same experience — the food culture in Chicago is one of real friendliness, information, and care, no matter your diet.

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