Last week Jeremy and I took a trip to Minneapolis to visit some friends. This was my first time to Minnesota and I was super excited as I’ve been told time and time again that Minneapolis has a great food scene and lots of gluten free friendly restaurants.
Not only did we eat great food, but we also enjoyed happy hour! As we all know, Boston does not offer happy hour (sad face). Even on our last night there I still got excited when we were told it was happy hour. I mean, you can’t beat half priced drinks! I was very impressed with the gluten free options available in Minneapolis. All of our servers knew what gluten free meant, which I wish was true every time I went out to eat here! I was even more impressed when an old school, greasy spoon diner offered Udi’s gluten free bread. This was totally unexpected. I am talking about The Uptown Diner. A classic diner and an ideal spot to grab a quick and tasty breakfast. Udi’s gluten free bread is available for an extra $1.50. We also ate breakfast at Barbette, named “Best French Restaurant” by Mpls/St. Paul Magazine. This French bistro serves simply good food in a casual, eclectic atmosphere. The menu has many gluten free and vegetarian items available, using locally sourced ingredients as often as possible. I ordered the seasonal vegetable hash with a side of Udi’s gluten free toast. There was no upcharge here for the gluten free toast, but there was a $0.50 upcharge for the soy milk I ordered with my coffee. I’m sure you’ve heard of French Meadows Bakery. Their gluten free cookies and brownies are available throughout Boston at cafes, coffee shops, and many lunch spots. It’s so nice when places will put that little GF (and V for vegan!) next to their items on the menu. Gluten free options include corn pancakes, entrees, salads, soups, and desserts. My favorite restaurant that we tried was Brasa Premium Rotisserie, which has been featured on NBCnews.com as one of the 5 American meals not to be missed and Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel. Brasa serves comfort food inspired by the Creole cooking traditions of the Americas and Caribbean.
All menu items are gluten free except sandwich rolls, sliced bread, cornbread, macaroni and cheese, and most of the rotating desserts. They have eliminated the chance for cross contamination by eliminating all gluten products from the fryers, rotisserie, and smoker. The kitchen is thoroughly cleaned between the production of gluten free recipes and recipes containing gluten.
The menu is designed for sharing. First you order your protein(s) and choose a size; small, medium, or large. Next you order a variety of sides, also available in three sizes, to share with the table. It is a great way to try many different items and foods you might not typically be inclined to order.
Food at Brasa comes from the highest quality sources available. Year round nearly 100% of the meat, dairy, eggs, sweet corn, and cornmeal served is produced in Minnesota, Wisconsin, & Iowa on small family owned farms and cooperatives. Many of their other ingredients are organic or sustainably raised. They also feature local vegetables when available.
The following night we had dinner at Hell’s Kitchen, located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis in an underground space. The menu is unique but not fancy, interesting but not fussy, just the way the chefs intended it to be. Almost everything at Hell’s Kitchen is homemade, including the ketchup, mustard, tomato juice, iced tea and the raved-about peanut butter.
The menu uses (v) for vegetarian items and (g) for gluten free friendly items, or items that can be prepared gluten free friendly with minor omissions. They do make it clear on their menu that this is not a gluten free kitchen and there is a possibility of cross contamination, hence the gluten free friendly designation, not gluten free. I was fine.
Hell’s Kitchen serves breakfast all day long so for dinner I ordered steak and eggs. A 5 oz. melt-in-your-mouth, charbroiled beef filet plus two organic eggs, hash browns, a side of mixed greens, and a gluten free English muffin. Other gluten friendly menu options include; burgers, vegetable frittata, kangaroo steak, chicken, ribs, French fries, mussels, and more.
On our last day we headed to a Thai restaurant in Uptown called Amazing Thailand for lunch. And to my delight they had a gluten free menu! I usually do very well at Thai restaurants, the food is very gluten free friendly, but nevertheless I was impressed that they offered a complete gluten free menu.
The food was very good and the portion sizes were huge. They also offer an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for $9.95 for your friends/family who do not eat—or won’t eat—gluten free. The buffet is not very gluten free friendly, so stay away from it and order off the menu.
On our last night we went to the Twins vs. Red Sox game. Although it was freezing, we still had a good time watching the Red Sox win. Target Field offers food and fare that caters to our dietary needs. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options are available throughout the stadium. Gluten free options include sandwiches, fruit, popcorn, pork chop on a stick, Red Bridge gluten free beer, salads, bunless grilled chicken, bunless hot dogs (they have sandwich bread but no buns or rolls, they are so close, yet so far!), nachos and cheese, soft serve ice cream, and cotton candy.
Minneapolis is home to a gluten free food truck, Sassy Spoon Truck. Unfortunately we were never in the same place at the same time so I did not get the chance to try it, but I’ve heard it’s good! Minneapolis is also home to Sociable Cider Werks, a cider brewery. There was a lot of upheaval from the gluten free community when Sociable Cider Werks first opened because not all the ciders are gluten free. Some of the products are 100% naturally gluten free while others are processed using gluten containing ingredients that undergo an enzymatic process to remove gluten. That said, they always make the distinction between their products that are gluten free and those that are gluten removed. For some, this is a no-no and they can never drink something that shared a product line with gluten ingredients. For others it’s not an issue. Drink at your own risk. Everywhere we went there was at least one cider on the menu. The most popular ciders, a/k/a the ones I saw most often on the menu, were Crispin cider from Minnesota, Ace cider from California, Strongbow from England, and Angry Orchard from Cincinnati, OH. All in all I found Minneapolis to be a very gluten free friendly city, with plenty of options for any meal. Other restaurants with gluten free menus include:
- Birchwood Café: bread for toast and sandwiches, oatmeal, dinner options
- Chin Dian: Asian food; menu items labeled gluten free
- Common Roots Café: breakfast items, bread, wraps, entrees
- Copperhen Kitchen: many breakfast and dinner options can be made GF
- Davanni’s: pizza and salads
- Ecopolitan; salads and wraps can be made GF
- Fireroast Café: sandwiches, salads, tamales, baked goods, breakfast
- Galactic Pizza: pizza, vegan options also available
- Gigi’s Cafe: sandwiches, salads
- Keys at the Foshay: pancakes, waffles, French toast, and dinner options.
- Pizza Luce: pizza and stuffed shells. Vegan options also available.
- Pizzeria Lola: pizza
- Seward Cafe: bread, sandwiches, burgers, appetizers, entrees
- The Lowbrow: buns for burgers and sandwiches, pasta, breakfast sandwiches
- Wild Roast Cafe: breakfast, sandwiches, salads, appetizers, entrees
- World Street Kitchen: snacks, rice bowls, lettuce wraps, tacos, omelets
Have you been to Minneapolis? What is your favorite gluten free restaurant?