Chain Restaurants

We are now well over a decade into the gluten free awakening in our country. By "awakening" I mean when "gluten free" became part of our lexicon, and more people became aware of gluten's affects on individuals with Celiac and gluten sensitivity. Whether you were one of those getting a diagnosis -- or if it was a family member or friend -- "gluten free" was something that was now on your radar. And of course, there have also been plenty of people who have chosen to adopt a gluten free diet, for various other reasons. The point is, the demand for gluten free meals has really taken off over the past decade, and many restaurants have worked hard to help those with Celiac and gluten sensitivity enjoy a safe and thoughtfully prepared meal. Of course, we all know that other restaurants have simply "hopped on the bandwagon" for business reasons, slapping "GF" notations on menu items without much regard for the proper training of "front of house" staff (servers, managers) and "back of house" staff (kitchen). That is a continual challenge for those of us dining out. The more research you can do about a restaurant before setting foot in... Read more →


We are proud to have been the very first website devoted to giving the gluten free community a forum to search and submit reviews of gluten-free friendly dining venues. We launched GlutenFreeTravelSite way back in April 2008 -- almost 11 years ago -- when "gluten free" wasn't yet a household term. There was a bit of education to do, both with the public and with restaurants. Our database has grown tremendously, and searching is even easier than ever. Simply enter a town or zip code into the search box on the Search/Mapping page of our site, and you'll get a list of places that have been reviewed, alongside a map with all the venues plotted. Click on any restaurant in the listing -- or zoom in to click a marker on the map -- to read the review(s). You'll find hundreds of places in the big cities...and at least a dozen or more gluten-free friendly venues reviewed in most smaller cities. We have places reviewed not just in the U.S., but all over the world! It is amazing to see where reviews come in from! If you prefer to do a broad search on our site -- for example, by... Read more →


Pie Five Pizza has been on a tear...opening new locations at a fast clip all over the country. In fact, this "fast casual" concept now has about 300 locations across 20 states...and is expanding into at least 4 other states. This is a big deal because now they have not one, but two, choices for gluten free pizza crust! So perhaps you'll want to see if there's a location near where you live...or where you might be traveling. Their "original" gluten free crust, launched years ago, is particularly unique. First, it's homemade, which you don't find at many places. Secondly, it's made from ancient grains, so it has a nutritionally superior profile versus most gluten free pizza crusts. Pie Five combines teff, amaranth, and sorghum flours which deliver vitamins, minerals, fiber, and great taste! And finally, Pie Five's pizzas are ready in just five minutes (thus the name "Pie Five"...). Quality has always been a huge focus with Pie Five. They use homemade, all natural, preservative-free tomato sauce, sausage without antibiotics or hormones, and other high-quality toppings, almost all of which are gluten free. Back in April, after introducing a "limited time" pizza crust made from a blend of cauliflower... Read more →


Responding to the trend to incorporate cauliflower into more menu items, including pizza crusts, California Pizza Kitchen announced their full line of cauliflower crust pizzas on Tuesday. CPK has always been an innovator, especially when it comes to pizza. Some of you may remember they introduced the first BBQ Chicken Pizza back in 1985. (Now you’ll find it on pizza menus virtually everywhere!) Made from a blend of cauliflower, mozzarella cheese, rice flour, herbs, and spices, the cauliflower crusts were developed by CPK’s Culinary Innovations Team to meet a demand for lower carb, higher fiber, and nutritionally-dense pizza crusts. While California Pizza Kitchen already has a line of certified gluten free pizza crusts, these cauliflower crust pizzas give diners another gluten free alternative, depending on their taste preferences. Like their existing line of gluten free pizzas, there will be four varieties of the cauliflower crust pizza that are certified gluten free. California Pizza Kitchen employs protocol developed in conjunction with the Gluten Intolerance Group to keep gluten free diners safe. The Margherita (shown below), Pepperoni, Mushroom/Pepperoni/Sausage, and Original BBQ Chicken varieties of pizza – whether ordered on their traditional gluten free crust or the new cauliflower crust – are prepared... Read more →


For over 12 years, Picazzo's Healthy Italian Kitchen, with 5 locations in Arizona has been continuously raising the bar for high quality dining, especially for those that are gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan. Year after year, they have added new menu items that combine healthy ingredients, new flavor combinations, and interesting takes on traditional favorites. Most of all, they continue to deliver on quality and TASTE. My secret wish is that Picazzo's would expand nationwide. We need one of these restaurants in every neighborhood! In the meantime, it's worth a visit to Arizona just to dine at Picazzo's (for every meal of your stay -- after all, with all their tempting menu items, you'd never get bored!). Here are 10 Things to LOVE About Picazzo's: 1.) They're the New Times "Best of Phoenix" Readers's Choice Winner for Best Gluten Free Restaurant in 2015 and 2016. Take it from your fellow gluten free diners...this place is awesome! 2.) Their ENTIRE MENU, full of starters (like the Caprese salad with homemade GF focaccia and pesto above), soups, salads, entrees, pizza, and pastas is GLUTEN FREE, with the exception of 2 of their pizza crust options (Organic Original and Organic Whole Grain). But... Read more →


We're a decade into the growth of the gluten free "marketplace," thanks to increased awareness of Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity -- and improving rates of diagnosis. Not only has "gluten free" become a household term, in many cases it's become a dietary "trend." For those of us personally affected by Celiac or gluten sensitivity, this is a mixed blessing -- as many have discussed in recent years. While demand for gluten free meals in restaurants eventually gives us more choice, the situation does come with pitfalls. First and foremost is the need to ensure that any restaurant with a gluten free menu knows not just what ingredients are used in their recipes...but how to safely prepare the meal without putting you at risk from gluten cross contamination. Another less serious -- but still frustrating -- challenge is being able to separate those restaurants that make the most basic (and often less-than-appetizing) substitutions or omissions to claim that a menu item is gluten free from restaurants that work hard to surprise and delight their gluten free diners with well-thought-out, flavorful offerings. (Check out the creative layered Beet Salad, with goat cheese, candied walnuts, and caramelized onions from Burtons Grill, below.)... Read more →


You probably recall me mentioning Burtons Grill many times. It's a regional chain with 11 restaurants in the following five states: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Virginia, and South Carolina. They have another Virginia location slated to open this summer, along with locations coming soon to North Carolina and Florida. It's one of our favorite restaurants, so were were thrilled when their Alexandria, VA restaurant opened not too far from us. (Prior to that, we made it a priority to visit a Burtons Grill whenever we happened to be traveling or visiting family in one of their areas!). They have an amazing selection of gluten free menu items, including the best fried calamari ever (and yes, it's gluten free!). They also are extremely knowledgeable about how to safely prepare gluten free meals, as Kevin Harron, the co-founder and president of Burton's Grill, has Celiac disease himself. It's not surprising, then, that they would carry on this mission to serve the gluten free community with their second restaurant concept, launched in 2014. It's called Red Heat Tavern, and the casual dining restaurants, inspired by the food and ambiance of backyard barbecues, are located in both Bedford, MA and Wilmington, MA. The food... Read more →


We're always adding helpful content, updating resources, and improving the functionality of GlutenFreeTravelSite and our free companion mobile app, Dine Gluten Free. But for those of you who haven't visited for a while -- or may not be aware of all the ways these valuable resources can help you DINE & TRAVEL gluten free more easily, we thought it might be time for a reminder... First Stop (if you need it): An Overview Under the RESOURCES tab within the navigation bar on our website, there's a section of the site called About Celiac & Gluten Sensitivity that contains 12 "chapters" of information that are helpful to both new and veteran gluten free folks. And if you have friends or family members that need to understand your diet better, send them a link to this page for answers to the questions they may have (sometimes it's easier when it comes from an impartial source!). Also, if you have a friend that suspects gluten may be adversely affecting their health, by all means, pass along this information to them. It could provide the spark that leads them to get tested. We've tried to make the explanations about Celiac, gluten sensitivity, and a... Read more →


Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen and its founder Rick Freedman have always been trailblazers in the dining world. Picazzo's was one of the first to offer a large choice of gluten free options on their menu -- even many years ago -- and with each passing year, their menu has become more gluten-free friendly. In fact, their entire menu is now gluten free, save for the option to order pizza with either their organic "original" crust or organic whole-grain crust (of course, they do have gluten-free pizza, too...more about that in a moment). Whereas most gluten-free-savvy restaurants have a separate area of the kitchen for preparing their gluten free orders, Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen is the opposite. Their main kitchen is all gluten free, and they have a separate prep area and separate oven for their "regular" pizzas, which are the only gluten-containing items on the menu! There's not even a need to have "GF" notations on the menu, since everything is GF, save those two types of pizza. Imagine going into a restaurant and being able to order literally anything on the menu. And we're not talking about a small restaurant with just a few items. Picazzo's has a huge... Read more →


With Celiac Awareness Month coming to a close, we have one final gift card giveaway. This time it's a $25 Gift Card to Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano, with 22 locations spread out over 10 states. It's one restaurant our family looks forward to tracking down when traveling (unfortunately, there isn't a location near us yet -- we keep hoping!). With delectable Italian specialties including gluten free pasta and homemade gluten free pizza, you'll be tempted by many of the choices on their large Gluten Free Menu. They're always adding new gluten free items and seasonal specials, and we mentioned them in a recent Blog post where we showcased our favorite gluten-free friendly chains. DETAILS OF THE $25 GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY Have you already tried any of the gluten free offerings at Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano? If so, Submit a Review of the location you've dined to GlutenFreeTravelSite (or submit a quick review right on our DINE GLUTEN FREE app), and you'll be entered into our random drawing for a $25 Biaggi's Gift Card. If you haven't yet tried Biaggi's gluten free menu items, you can still enter the contest...just choose another favorite GF-friendly restaurant to review on our website. If you prefer... Read more →


In honor of Celiac Awareness Month, we have a couple restaurant gift card giveaways in the coming week. Our first is for a $25 Gift Card to Burtons Grill. Burtons was mentioned in my last post in which I shared some of our favorite gluten-free friendly restaurant chains and the new gluten free items on their menus. If you'd like to learn more about what Burtons Grill offers, link directly to their amazing Gluten Free Menu, and find out if they have a location near you, visit their page on our website. DETAILS OF THE $25 GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY Have you already tried any of the gluten free offerings at Burtons Grill? If so, Submit a Review of the location you've dined to GlutenFreeTravelSite, and you'll be entered into our random drawing for a $25 Burtons Grill Gift Card. If you haven't yet tried Burtons Grill's gluten free menu items, you can still enter the contest...just choose another favorite GF-friendly restaurant to review on our website. Any gluten free dining or travel review submitted to GlutenFreeTravelSite between now and Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 11:59 pm Eastern time counts as one entry in our random drawing for the $25 Gift... Read more →


Just in time for Celiac Awareness Month, many of our favorite "gluten-free friendly" restaurant chains have added even more gluten free items to their already impressive Gluten Free Menus. There's bound to be a location of one of these chains near you…and keep the others on your radar when you travel. Our family finds that's part of the fun of traveling…getting to try some of the best GF-friendly restaurants that don't happen to have a location near us. Burtons Grill -- A chain with locations along the East Coast, Burtons is one of our personal favorites. We dined at their Charlottesville, VA location over our kids' Spring Break when we visited Monticello and Montpelier. Favorite items ordered included the Spicy Fried Calamari, Beet Salad, Mediterranean Chicken Risotto, and gluten free Fish & Chips (really…how often do you find gluten free calamari and fish and chips?!) Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano -- This chain, with locations in 10 states, is another favorite we look forward to visiting when we travel. They have many gluten free pastas on the menu, in addition to gluten free pizza (including two new ones). I'm looking forward to trying the Wild Mushroom Truffle pizza at some point. Another... Read more →