Gluten Free Restaurants: Burtons Grill Thrills Gluten Free Diners with One of the Best Gluten Free Menu
I'll be straight with you: Burtons Grill, with 9 locations (and a 10th to open soon!), is at the top of the food chain when it comes to restaurants offering Gluten Free Menus.
I can say this from personal experience, having been to at least three of their locations -- and often seeking them out when traveling. Currently, they have 5 locations in Massachusetts, 1 in Connecticut, 1 in New Hampshire, 1 in South Carolina, and 1 in Virginia (with a second VA location coming soon to Charlottesville).
Their commitment to the gluten free community runs deep. Kevin Harron, their CEO, has Celiac Disease, and they have an Allergy Commitment to all their guests with special dietary restrictions that involves training ALL their staff, not only the chefs preparing your food.
I recently had a chance to talk with Denise Baron Herrera, Vice President of Food and Beverage, who has a shrimp allergy herself. She said the servers are trained to ask if anyone at the table has any food allergies or intolerances, and now almost every ticket that comes back to the kitchen notes some sort of allergy. (Burtons does not have any peanuts or peanut-containing products on the premises of their restaurants.)
Denise said that initially, each Burtons location would receive about 3-5 gluten free requests per day. Now it's 30-50 per day! Because dairy free requests are also common, they have modified some recipes, like the rissotto, to remove the butter and cheese. For guests who aren't dairy intolerant, the butter and/or cheese can be added after cooking if desired.
Burtons Grill offers both a Gluten Free Lunch Menu and a Gluten Free Dinner Menu. Both feature items not typically found on Gluten Free Menus...items like burgers WITH a bun (gluten free, of course!), lightly breaded and fried fish, lobster and shrimp pasta, and even fried calamari! In fact, Denise said that they recently decided to use a gluten free flour to coat ALL their fried items so there would be no need to have separate fryers. They have three fryers in each restaurant: one used just for french fries, which is gluten free...another for frying fish, which is gluten free since now all batter is GF...and a third for frying spring rolls (NOT gluten free and therefore not used for anything else). Denise IS trying to develop a gluten free version of the spring rolls. Stay tuned....
New items of the Gluten Free Menu, which changes seasonally, include a Harvest Salad, Braised Short Ribs, and a spicy version of the fried calamari. I can uniquivocally say the "regular" gluten free fried calamari (not currently listed on the menu but still available by request) is to-die-for! It is honestly the best calamari I've ever had, gluten free or otherwise! Apparently I'm not alone in my obsession with their fried calamari...Denise confirmed that it -- along with their other fried items and burgers (with GF buns) -- are among Burtons Grill's most popular items. As she stated, "It makes gluten free diners feel 'normal' -- like everyone else." Denise is always looking for items to add to the GF Menu and is currently experimenting with a gluten free version of crab cakes, which will be offered on their Spring menu.
Burtons just opened a new location in Westford, Massachusetts, about 30 miles northwest of Boston. A Charlottesville, Virginia location is due to open on December 3. Be sure to continually check our page devoted to Burtons Grill on GlutenFreeTravelSite, where we link to their expanding list of locations, their seasonally updated Gluten Free Menus, and also their Special Events page, which will showcase some Gluten Free Events at all their locations in 2013!
We showcase many other restaurants with Gluten Free Menus on our Gluten Free Restaurant Menus page of GlutenFreeTravelSite. You'll see some familiar names -- and probably discover a few you haven't heard of. Please feel free to share your comments about Burtons Grill -- or any other GF-friendly restaurant chain -- by clicking on the Comments button below.