Pittsburgh sometimes gets a bad rap. Our family, however, loves visiting this city (which says a lot, given that our trips there are always for hockey tournaments in the dead of winter!). We like visiting because there are a lot of fun things to do between hockey games (the Carnegie Science Center and adjacent Highmark SportsWorks complex are always a hit with kids and adults!), and there are some really great places for gluten free meals (and gluten free baked goods!).
Each time we're in Pittsburgh, Gluuteny is HIGH on our priority list (just don't make the mistake of planning your visit for a Monday...we did that last year, only to find out that's the one day they're closed!). Gluuteny is a completely gluten free, dairy free bakery. While our Celiac son does not need to be dairy free (and sometimes we're not crazy about the taste of dairy free baked goods), this place nails it in terms of flavor and texture. All their baked goods -- and there are many -- are fantastic. Even the "buttercream" on their cupcakes (made with dairy free margarine) is wonderfully creamy and tasty. I had an almond cupcake with vanilla buttercream icing, while my husband had a chocolate cupcake with peppermint icing, and our son had a "Hostess-like" chocolate cupcake (decorated just as you remember...see them in the case in the photo to the left!).
Because we visited at the beginning of the weekend, we also stocked up on some brownies, donuts, and muffins for treats to enjoy over the following couple days. (Gluuteny's baked goods do not contain preservatives, so they are best enjoyed within a day or two.) If we'd had access to a freezer or had been driving home within 24 hours of our visit, we would have bought a lot more!). We did purchase one of their many baking mixes they sell...a gluten free pizza crust mix. FYI: they also ship their mixes, as well as many (but not all) of their fresh baked items, so even if you don't have reason to visit Pittsburgh, this may be worth considering as a special treat for yourself or a gluten free friend or family member.
We sent another hockey player's family to Gluuteny, too. The dad and sister can't eat gluten, dairy, or soy. Although not all the products at Gluuteny are soy-free, many are. They had an absolute field day in the store, buying up the remaining items they could eat. I'm glad we arrived before they did, or there would have been very little left! So, the point is...pay this place a visit if in Pittsburgh!
Next on our gluten free priority list for Pittsburgh is always Giovanni's Pizza and Pasta, a casual Italian restaurant on West Liberty Avenue. Two years ago, we dined in for lunch. The gluten free pizza and pasta was so good (and they have a long history of serving gluten free diners) that we decided to have them cater our team dinners in our hotel both last year and this year! They are not a 100% gluten free restaurant, but they are very careful. It was great being able to order pizzas and large trays of "regular" pasta and chicken for the group...and tack on individual-sized portions of the gluten free items for the GF folks. Everyone was happy! In addition to the gluten free pasta and pizza options, Giovanni's also offers gluten free hoagies and chicken entrees.
A new discovery for us this year was Burgatory, a burger chain with awesome burgers (complete with tasty gluten free buns) and seven Pittsburgh area locations. They have a Gluten Free Menu (and are very proud of it, as shown in the photo...unfortunately, it is not posted online). There are all sorts of burgers that are marked gluten free, and the toppings that are safe are also listed so that you can customize whatever type of "burger" you order (beef, bison, turkey, chicken, etc.) There are salads and milkshakes on the Gluten Free Menu as well. The only downside was that the fries aren't free. However, our Celiac son immediately felt better upon learning he could get a milkshake to go with his burger!
Because Pittsburgh is a big city, there are many chain restaurants, including those known for their wonderful gluten free menus. P.F. Chang's in the Settlers Ridge shopping center is always one of our stops, and there is also a Red Robin, serving gluten free burgers, buns, and fries in the same shopping center. Pittsburgh also has other GF-friendly chains like First Watch, Buca di Beppo, BRAVO! Italian Kitchen, Joe's Crab Shack, Eat N' Park, and T.G.I. Friday's. You are never far from some safe options for dining.
If you're driving from the eastern side of Pittsburgh, definitely make a point of stopping at Ali's Marketplace/The Gluten Free Zone in Murraysville, PA. This store and cafe is 100% gluten free and a great place to buy ready-to-eat food as well as stock up on GF staples for your trip.
What are YOUR favorite spots for gluten free dining in Pittsburgh?