The GFCF Restaurant Guide

Ok -- here it is, as promised. This is the start of my free online restaurant guide. It is only a guide. You must -- I repeat, must -- check these places on your own. The info here will arm with you with valuable knowledge but every restaurant has its own practices and each store within a chain is managed differently. So, be careful.

I will continue updating this as I learn more. Let me tell you what I've found. I've determined a lot of places will tell you that they have GFCF food, but they don't tell you that it's prepared along with non-GFCF food, so there is a cross-contact issue. Be careful of that -- always ask!

By the way, what we're really concerned about here is called "cross-contact," not cross contamination. But, you'll notice that I slip back and forth on that phrasing. Forgive me.

Also, many restaurants are heading toward having Gluten Free Menus, but not GFCF menus. It's not the same, of course.

Below is my list. Next to each is a grade, just like in school, A-F. I've provided web links and allergen details with my explanation next to each so you understand.

Applebee's - F
Allergen info online: No
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: No, according to a corporate official. This -- from them: "Thank you for your recent request for a list of gluten, dairy, and soy free menu items available at Applebee's. Due to the frequency in which we change our menus, as well as the small risk of cross-contamination, we can not provide the list you requested."

Arby's - D
Allergen info online: yes,
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: NO -- while the homestyle fries and potato cakes are listed as gluten/dairy free, make sure to read the fine print. All the fried foods are cooked together -- with the foods having gluten and casein. From the website: "When checking food allergens, it is important to know all of our fried products may be cooked using shared frying oil."

Burger King - B
Allergen info online: yes - go to and type "allergens" in the search box.
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: Yes. French fries are cooked in a dedicated fryer. Plain burger and grilled chicken also cooked on a broiler. Mott's applesauce. I checked our local BK and indeed they used a dedicated fryer. More info:

Chick Fil A - B
Allergen info online: yes, go to and you'll see links to both "allergens" and "gluten." NOTE - CHICK FIL A USES PEANUT OIL. They have gluten-free waffle fries, which others have told me are fried alone. I HAVE NOT confirmed this yet with the company. I'm waiting for their response to my question.
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: ??

Chili's - B-minus
Allergen info online: yes,
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: Yes, BUT they warn people with serious food issues to avoid ALL fried foods because of cross contamination. And, they do not guarantee that they can make their food entirely free of the item that you're intolerant/allergic too, even if it's on the special menu list. So, be warned.

Damon's Grill - D
Allergen info online: yes,
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: Yes -- I contacted Damon's as we wanted to try them on an upcoming trip. The fries are gluten-free but cooked in a common fryer with other foods that have gluten. So, you may want to avoid those. But, the company says the following foods should have no cross-contact issues: steak, salmon, grilled chicken, ribs, baked potato, vegetables, salad and applesauce.

Denny's - D
Allergen info online: yes,
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: NO -- I spoke with a corporate nutrition manager who said although the stores are supposed to cook fries separate, for example, they most times are not. Burgers and chicken cooked on the same grill as other stuff. So, there are serious concerns here.

Eat N Park (PA, OH, WV) - A
Allergen info online: yes, it has a celiac menu
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: yes and if you want fries, try asking for baked fries since the oil shares foods, a district manager says.

Houlihan's - D
Allergen info online: No
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: They say to ask when you order about having special items made. Do so at your own risk though.

Kings Family Restaurants - D
Allergen info online: no
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: A district manager by telephone says they can if you work through local store managers. I've not tested this yet at our local Kings.

Longhorn Steakhouse - A-minus
Allergen info online: yes,
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: Yes, but cooking is not in a gluten-free kitchen. No fries on gluten-free menu. Developing a new menu soon.

Mitchell's Fish Market - A
Allergen info online: yes, a gluten-free menu
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: yes - mostly for adults.

Olive Garden - F
Allergen info online: No
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: No. From them, "We appreciate your desire to know which menu items may fit with the allergen constraints of your diet. At this time, our nutritional database does not include the type of detailed information you need."

Outback Steakhouse - A-minus
Allergen info online: yes, a gluten-free menu
Gluten-casein free foods without cross-contamination: yes (but no fries for children)

PF Changs China Bistro - A-minus
Allergen info online: yes
Gluten-casein free foods without cross-contamination: yes, mostly for adults.

Red Robin - A
Allergen info online: no, but can be emailed by request.
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: Yes, but not guaranteed. I'm hearing online that every store does it differently. At mine, they fry the fries in one fryer, breaded items in another and fish in a third. They also have a food-allergy system so orders with restrictions are flagged and people cooking know about it. With some allergies, they'll even put on special gloves while cooking that food. Some stores have a gluten-free menu sheet available.

Sonic America's Drive-In - F
Allergen info online: No.
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: No. I called. They checked. Basically, the pickles are OK.

Steak N Shake - D
Allergen info online: yes,
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: Likely not -- they're good about listing all the foods and the steakburger and fries are free and clear. However, they openly tell us cross contamination is a problem. "Please be advised that many menu items may be made with equipment also used to make menu items containing milk, peanuts, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, soy and/or fish."

Wendy's - D
Allergen info online: yes,
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: NO -- check the nutrition menu carefully. Even though some things don't have gluten, they are cross-contaminated, including french fries. Chili seems OK though.


Beth said…
Just to add a comment about Wendy's. They do have a plain baked potato that we often make use of. The potato with a cup of chili makes a nice alternative for our son.
jim said…
You're right. And, you will find an item like that here and there at restaurants. I noticed the chili and potato too.
GFCF Mommy said…
Wow, you did so much work! Thanks for putting this together.

Moi ;) said…
Hi - I love this blog! I'm going to throw a curve at ya....

How about MSG? Any info on that? I've heard that can act just like gluten as far as food allergies go.....
jim said…
Yes, you're right. Not only do many people -- especially those of us obviously dealing with food issues -- react poorly to MSG, it can contain gluten. Many celiac groups recommend avoiding MSG because wheat is often a source of the glutamic acid -- so is soy and corn -- in the MSG.
Cyndi said…
This is great...thanks so much! Now I can get fries from BK for my almost 3 year old w/o worrying! :)
jim said…
Thought I'd follow up on this. We have eaten twice now at two Burger Kings. Both follow the restaurant's policy that I've posted. Doesn't mean you shouldn't keep checking, but it's a good indication that they follow this.
Sue said…
Hi - thanks for the info. What do you know about Hardees? They recently added natural cut french fries to their menu that are gf, but I'm not certain about the cross-contamination issue.

Also, are McDonald's fries no longer gf?
jim said…
Don't know much about Hardees. I'll have to look into it. McDonald's fries were found to have gluten in them. The restaurant claimed it was so miniscule it could not possible harm anyone. Yet, they did not the gluten publicly until it was revealed. So, I'm not sure what McD's says now. I'm not inclined to believe them. I would also question McD's, and any other fast food, whether they fry the fries separate from other breaded items, like nuggets and fish.
Anonymous said…
I have autistic sons, and are new to gfcf diets and many of the things that are no-nos for them...that's what they want. Can someone give me suggestions. Thanks!
Miss Special said…
jim, would u please add mcdonald's to the list of restaurant foods because my dad and i go to mcdonald's every sunday morning for breakfast and i would like to see if i could have any of mcdondald's foods.
jim, is it ok to have mcdonald's fries on the gfcf diet?
Amy said…
Hey, I wanted to give a heads up about McD's fries. I was told just told this week about a report put out by McDonald's this past Sept admitting they have always used Casein in their fry mixture as well as gluten.
I had wondered why my daughter would start having problems after she ate their fries.
Also, I found a lawsuit from 2006. A child with autism became increasingly sick after eating the fries. I guess it's better to be safe than sorry.
Here's the link to the article....
GFCF Mommy said…
Thank you for putting this together for us GF/CF parents. Just FYI...In and Out burger has been a life saver for a quick on the go meal. We order protein style hamburger with ketchup, mustard, onion, tomato( or to your liking.) Their french fries are gluten free, although not sure what oil they use. They actually wrap your burger in crisp ice burg lettuce...its yummy! =)

I found your blog through Google and it having very good information on Restaurant guide, I am found too much things in your Restaurant Guide like online dining & restaurant guide that committed to Houston Restaurants worldwide.
Anonymous said…
After having been a manager at McDonalds, I can tell you that it is standard that they fry french fries and fried foods i.e chicken and fish in separate fry stations. HOWEVER, they use one machine to filter, so there is going to be no guarantee that you will not get some form of cross contamination. I have a question though, how do you make a change to this diet without everyone including your ex husband ( who has GOUT and has gone GF himself), his girlfriend and your sons therapist from thinking that you are totally crazy? I'm tired of not getting any straight answers or help from anyone and the allergist so far is the only person to really step up and say this will help. And how to do you tell a 6 yr old that he can no longer have the foods he loves without breaking your own heart for breaking his? I'm really having a hard time dealing with making this decision and need HELP!
Paecci said…
I had been feeding my son my spanish rice that he loves AND McD's fries... thinking I was stickin to his GF/CF regime. Sigh... I emailed KNORR because I use their boullion in my spanish rice and I wanted to know if their MSG was made from gluten or if it was the kind that was not. They informed me that their boullion did indeed have gluten in it. Soooo I'm goin to have to come up with a different way to make my spanish rice. It's one of the few things he will eat consistently and let me tell you folks, that is a very... VERY narrow list.
Paecci said…
I found a recipe for excellent gf/cf chicken nuggets. The batter comes out just like a McD's nugget. My husband and I loved it.. my son.. wouldn't even touch it. Just looked at it and walked away. Thinking if I put them in the batter and then roll them in some gf/cf bread crumbs before frying.. he may go for that, the texture will be more like the tyson nuggets he loved so much.
Divinia said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Divinia said…
Thanks for the effort here, just wanted to update you on Olive Garden. They now have several gf options, including gluten free penne which they cook in a pot ont used for any other pastas.
Spencer said…
Working with people with autism and those on the GFCF diet, this website has been very helpful.

For the question from Anonymous, through a lot of research and talking with doctors it is believed that those on the GFCF Diet crave those foods because they are addicting. When trying the GFCF diet with your children make sure that everything they eat is GFCF or it won't get out of their system. It will take a couple of weeks but when it's completely out of their system it will be easier to stick to it.

First couple of weeks is always the hardest. Stay strong.
nfreiling said…
Olive Garden now has a GF menu. It is small, however.

Uno's also has a GF menu. It is great!
Hannah said…
Olive Garden has a Gluten-Free menu under the Garden Fare section
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Anonymous said…
Just wanted to pass this info along... Allergy menu at Applebees-
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
For some reason, the link isn't working. If you go to and click on menu, there will be a link on the left hand side of the screen to Download Allergen Information.
cookiebaker said…
MELLOW MUSHROOM PIZZA! They now offer gluten-free dough and Daiya vegan cheese substitute (quite tasty, and available at Kroger.) See for more.
Anonymous said…
Chick-Fil-A also has gfcf chicken nuggets. You have to ask for them specifically and sometimes one of the employees won't have any idea what you're talking about, but they are GRILLED chicken nuggets (NO breading)...I think they basically cut up a grilled chicken filet but it works for us.
MrRobison said…
Being GF, CF, DF, EF, SF, and feels like FF (fun free), I do lots of research on restaurants before I go. Applebee's is one of a very small list of restaurants I can go to because they are very accommodating to allergies. Applebee's website is very thorough on all sorts of allergies it offers. Also, because of free wifi, you can check right in your seat. They will also print out the entire menu for you.
MrRobison said…
For BK, I have frequently found onion rings in my fries since they are in the same serving area. They may have a separate fryer, but not scoop or container.
Wendy's is awesome for allergies, get the chili minus the cheese and onions and the fries or baked potato for about $4.
Olive Garden has an entire menu for GF although the noodles change from time to time and are not cooked quite right.
Red Robin you have to ask for unseasoned fries.
Erin Hartnett said…
This is great to know! Thank you for posting
Mike said…
Wow thanks this super helpful. I can't eat gluten so when I go out with my friends to restaurants it can be super difficult. I also love how you included cross contamination as most people don't think of this.

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