Rebecca's Gluten Free Blog

Gluten Free in the Upper Midwest

JD Hoyts February 12, 2015

this old-school steakhouse is a bit of an enigma to me~ it’s a really nice place, with it’s style quaintly trapped in a bygone era, located in a bit of a dodgy area downtown (they offer valet). and given all of that, it’s unexpected that beyond the usual steakhouse fare, they seem to have a love of cajun and Jamaican seasonings and food. it’s very unique, which actually makes it fit right in with all the other oddball places nearby in Northeast Minneapolis~ Nye’s Polynaise Room (R.I.P.), Gasthof’s, etc.

so basically, I wasn’t sure what to expect. but I was very pleasantly surprised! steakhouses generally have plenty of gluten free options, given they mostly serve meat and veggies. but JD Hoyt’s has a lot of fun extras thrown in.

first of all, all of the seasonings and spices are gluten free. so if you want the cajun version of anything, it’s probably fine. (obviously check everything out with your server when ordering). they have several apps that are ok~ there’s something called a Buddy Bowl, which is sort of like a jambalaya: rice, beans, peppers and onions, creole sauce, cheese, and some optional seafood mix-ins. they also have “pig wings” which is a shank that’s grilled and covered in BBQ sauce. and there are maybe a few more apps available gluten free.

then I was delighted to find that they offer a gluten free bun for their burgers and sandwiches! it’s such a nice touch, especially since they already have so many options for us. as with everything, the burgers are available with cajun or Jamaican seasonings 🙂 they also have pork chop sandwiches, prime rib sandwiches, Kobi beef burgers, etc in addition to the basic burger.

and in a surprising twist, they also offer gluten free noodles!! this is above and beyond, given that they only offer one pasta dish (you guessed it, cajun pasta!)

most of the entrees are gluten free as well: pork chops, steaks, seafood, chicken. they have lots of fun toppings offered, and are really flexible if you want anything else requested. (be sure to tell them of you allergy, so you don’t accidentally get an onion ring on your steak, or any other unforeseen gluten accompaniments). the entrees all come with a surprisingly large amount of veggies on the plate. so it’s enough to just get an entree… but why do that when they have the most amazing sides?!

the side dishes were my favorite part of the whole meal! most of them were gluten free. and they come in 3 sizes, from a little cup to a huge plateful. I always love a good hashbrown or mashed potatoes (really any potatoes, I’m from the Midwest, after all!) and they of course have a few more veggies to choose from, if you didn’t get enough from the generous heaping on your plate. but the real highlight was the lobster risotto!! I wish that I lived or worked nearby, so I could pick some up regularly! it was so delicious, perfectly cooked pieces of lobster, and possibly mixed with cheese. it was amazing. definitely a must-try!

don’t be fooled into thinking that because it’s a steakhouse, it’s too pricey. if you want to stay on the thriftier side, you could still eat here quite reasonably, as so many things are a la carte. I’d go there for the risotto alone, but the burgers and sandwiches are also very reasonable.

as you can tell, I really enjoyed eating here, and will hopefully make it back there (very) soon.


Burch Steakhouse & Pizza Bar December 16, 2014

I must admit that I wasn’t too excited to go to Burch at first, because the pizza and dumplings sounded amazing, but I figured they wouldn’t have any of that in gluten free versions. but I was very pleasantly surprised…

while they don’t have gluten free pizzas, several of the dumplings can be made gluten free! they make homemade egg noodles to sub for some of the dumplings menu (at least they taste homemade, I guess I didn’t ask to verify though). I tried two of the three or four options. I’m not sure why I ordered the noodles with lobster, caraway and mint, because I dislike caraway… but the noodles with walnut and gorgonzola I loved!! there was at least one more option that I had to struggle with myself not to order (next time). I know that a lot of Italian restaurants carry gluten free noodles now, but these are quite different, they taste homemade, are a different type of noodle, and have such delightful sauces and toppings that are completely different than Italian restaurants. I just wish that I could get take-out noodles (“dumplings”) from them regularly! they’re also quite reasonably priced, around $10. I believe that they’re meant to be split across several people to sample, but if you order one, that would be sufficient for a whole meal, though quite rich for one. I had a lot to take home!

as for the steaks, of course the steaks are gluten free (and they have a huge assortment of grass fed, regular, wagyu, etc. the largest steak assortment I think I’ve ever seen! and very tasty too.

and of course many of the salads and sides are gluten free, they have a list if you ask.

Burch is located on Hennepin and Franklin, at the crux of Downtown and Uptown, and only open in the evenings, starting at 5pm.


Rodizio Grill November 1, 2013

I recently went to Rodizio for the first time, which is located in Maple Grove. It was really good, and pretty much what I expected (which was “great”). I love Fogo de Chao, and it was a slightly smaller, suburban version of that. also much less expensive! dinner cost only $35, versus $50 at Fogo de Chao.

there were fewer appetizer offerings at Rodizio. Although they had the same cheese bread (GF) and polenta sticks (yum!), instead of plantains, Rodizio offers breaded banana fritters. so I wasn’t able to eat those. and I read online about some sort of potato appetizer, but there wasn’t any offered on the night that I was there. but the two items I did have were great.

you can stick with just the salad bar for $20, if you like. it’s of decent size, and is nicely labelled for what is gluten free. a few things weren’t labelled “GF” that were online, but I didn’t bother asking on them… I wanted to save my appetite for the meat!

the meat is rotisserie-grilled and brought around by servers, who come when you place your stopper on green. they have a wide assortment of beefs, along with pork, lamb, poultry, and seafood. all of it was really tasty. I wish that I could’ve remembered better which was which for when they came around the next time, but there were just too many to keep track of! and I ate way too much!!

so of course I wasn’t able to try any of the desserts, but they do offer several GF desserts, if you somehow have room afterwards.

this place would be especially great for special events.

if you’re interested in perusing, the menu is here


Twin City Grill March 18, 2010

I recently visited the Twin City Grill in the Mall of America for the first time. it’s part of the Lettuce Entertain You group of restaurants, which also owns Wildfire, Maggianos, Big Bowl, and Tucchi Benucch.

we made reservations ahead of time, since it’s at the MOA, and was on a weekend. promptly after being seated, a manager came over and told us a handful of items that were gluten-free. and then we asked about a few more that she didn’t name, and those dishes were also ok, with a few adjustments. (I was disappointed that the ribs weren’t gluten-free though. I used to get my baby back ribs at Chili’s, who recently changed their recipes, and aren’t GF anymore, so I’m still on the search for more ribs we can eat!!)

anyway, the manager was great, but then our waitress seemed really put out. she seemed to be annoyed when I was ordering and making the usual comments to make sure they knew to use clean pans, and to ask if she’s flagging my order for allergies so the chefs definitely knew, etc. and then it just got worse from there. and the bill was such a mess I can’t even tell you.

but other than the poor service on the part of our waitress, the food was pretty good~ the chopped salad without noodles or bleu cheese was very tasty~ it had a dressing similar to Biaggi’s house dressing (always a favorite of mine). the walleye (which we had plain and broiled, with asparagus) was decent, but not that large of a portion~ and despite being listed as a $12 meal, they charged us $15, plus a few dollars extra for the asparagus, which we were led to believe was included. (this was only one of many bill discrepancies, mind you). not to mention that $15 for a small, plain walleye fillet seems like a bit much!

I’m hoping that our bad experience with the service was just a fluke, and that it’s usually a nicer place to go, because the food was decent, and it’s in a convenient location. however, I’m guessing we probably won’t be back anytime soon, so I can’t balance out other experiences there for my post today. (I welcome any positive comments about the place).

so please don’t let the poor service we received stop you from trying it out~ they still cooked the food well, they were knowledgeable, and there were no contamination issues. I think that with a different waiter or waitress, we could’ve had a much better experience.

and if you’re at the Mall of America and you need a place to eat, it’s nice to have some options. I believe Tucchi Benucch also has gluten-free options, though no gluten-free noodles, which is a bit disappointing for a celiac-friendly Italian restaurant. I’ve also heard that the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant has gluten-free options, as does the Napa Valley Grill and Crave, which has a new location at the MOA. I’ve yet to try out any of these other restaurants, particularly since my celiac diagnosis. but if you’re at the MOA and need a place to eat, these are a few of the sit-down restaurant options available to the gluten-free crowd.


Capital Grille March 7, 2010

the Capital Grille is an upscale steakhouse, with various locations across the country. the one in Minneapolis is located on Hennepin Ave, near the Target Center. most steakhouses are able to accommodate their gluten-free guests, but the Capital Grille goes a bit further by offering a gluten-free menu.

the menu has gluten-free options in all the categories: appetizers, salads, steaks, seafood, and even several desserts. if you have other allergies, they’re very easy to work with, and they’ll come up with great alternatives for you.

and if you’ve ever been to a Capital Grille, you’ll know how great the food is. it’s very high in quality, and the chefs are great. once they made me a special potato side dish that was fried up with onions and was fairly complex, and I was very appreciative and impressed at how great it tasted, for just making it on the fly. they were also very discrete so that my entire table didn’t have to know about my special “allergy” complications, which I appreciated.

all in all, the Capital Grille has always been one of my two favorite steakhouses in town (the other of which is no longer in business). they cook a great steak, have great seafood (the crab is my favorite, and they even shell it for you if you wish), and their wine list is extensive. but as with many steakhouses, it can be pricey. they use high quality steaks, and the salads and sides (which feed several people) are all extra. so it’s a great place to go for special nights out, celebrations, and business dinners.


Wildfire Restaurant November 23, 2009

Wildfire restaurant is located in Eden Prairie, and also has several locations in Illinois. they’re a “steak, chop, seafood” restaurant. it has an old Hollywood vibe, and the smells as you walk by the restaurant are amazing.

what’s even more amazing is their attention to gluten allergies/ celiacs. they have a special gluten-free menu with many options. they have gluten-free bread, so while you wait for your dinner and watch everyone else eat the onion loaf, you can have some of your own! they usually warm it up, so it seems like it’s right out of the oven. if they don’t bring you any, just request it.

the salads are big portions~ to be split with others. there are plenty of steak, chicken, pork, and seafood options available for dinner. and one of the best surprises is that they have burgers with gluten-free buns!!! such a treat! although the last time I was there, they’d switched ketchup brands and the new one may have had gluten in it, so you may want to call ahead or bring your own, just in case. also, they don’t have dedicated fryers, so you’ll have to substitute something else for the fries. for dessert, I think there are at least two options that are gluten-free as well. yum!

some of the menu items can be pricey, but there are some cheaper options (such as the burgers, or if you had a salad as an entrée), and the lunch menu is quite reasonable as well.

beyond just a great menu, they take special precautions there, that always make me feel safe. they have big allergy alerts on the ticket, and I was told that they even prepare it in a separate side of the kitchen. they’ve also done special gluten-free events, like a price (prix) fixe menu of 3-4 courses and wine pairings. they really care about the celiac crowd.

since it’s such great food, it’s a very popular restaurant (for everyone). so if you plan to go on a weekend, I highly suggest making reservations, at least a couple days in advance. the reservations can go quickly.