Does Shredded Wheat leave your stomach…well, shredded? Chances are you are in good company with the millions of Americans who have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that hinders one from properly digesting gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye).
While the words “autoimmune disorder” seem intimidating, treatment for celiac disease is actually rather simple: just adhere to a gluten-free diet. Considering the burgeoning number of gluten-free food manufacturers, people who have celiac disease have more options than ever including gluten-free interpretations of pizza, bread, pasta, beer, and countless other items.
Below is a guide for local gluten-free (or gluten-free friendly) restaurants, bakeries, and support groups, along with grocery stores that sell a plethora of gluten-free items, making your expedition into this specialty diet easy as “GF” pie.
Sinfully Gluten-Free: Dayton’s only 100% dedicated gluten-free restaurant that serves pizzas, sandwiches, quiche, chicken wings, and dessert items.
Olive, an Urban Dive: A localvore favorite. The owners of the establishment welcome patrons with food sensitivities. Upon request, they will even craft their sandwiches with the much-loved Udi’s gluten-free bread for a nominal charge.
The Green Nature Cafe: Located in Clayton, The Green Nature Cafe is Dayton’s latest organic hotspot. They offer a wide spectrum of raw, vegan, and gluten-free selections.
Lucky’s Taproom & Eatery: A hip joint in the Oregon District serving up fine craft beers, soup, salads, and sandwiches. They have many gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.
P.F. Chang’s: One of the first chain restaurants to provide a gluten-free menu. They offer numerous Asian-fusion dishes on their impressive gluten-free menu.
The Rusty Bucket: A midwest chain with a stronghold in Ohio, they serve Americana fare. They are known for their “gluten-free friendly” menu, which even has a list of gluten-free alcoholic drinks.
Butter Cafe: Socially informed and delectable. You can order one of their sandwiches with gluten-free bread or have gluten-free toast with your breakfast order.
The Chef Case: Located in the 2nd Street Market, The Chef Case offers conscious cuisine with a focus on local, healthy dishes. They serve individuals who follow a variety of special diets including vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and casein-free.
Rue Dumaine: American-meets-French cuisine from expert chef, Anne Kearney. They are gluten-free aware and happy to assist people with special dietary needs.
El Meson: A mainstay of West Carrollton, this upscale restaurant specializes in Spanish and Latin American food. Many of the dishes are naturally gluten-free, and the staff is gluten-free conscious.
Uno’s: Conveniently located across from the Schuster Center, Uno’s has a gluten-free menu that includes pizzas, burgers, and beers.
The Melting Pot: An elegant fondue chain located in Centerville, they have a three-course, gluten-free menu. They even have several gluten-free cocktails from which to choose.
Bonefish Grill: Well-known for their seafood and fish dishes, they have an extensive gluten-free menu. You can find them at the Dayton Mall.
Keep in mind that there are copious other chain restaurants and local eateries that cater to gluten-free patrons, so this is only a partial list. If you dine in a mixed-kitchen, you can minimize your chance of cross-contamination by dining during off-hours (giving the staff time to honor your requests), speaking with management ahead of time about their measures to prevent cross-contamination, and ordering directly from a gluten-free menu instead of requesting custom-made dishes. Additionally, it is recommended to purchase Triumph Dining’s gluten-free dining cards, which come in 10 languages and give tips for safely dining in a variety of world cuisines.
Tina’s Sweet Treats: Many of her cookies and muffins can be found at Dorothy Lane Market, but you can also place an order by phone. Tina also bakes cakes for all occasions along with the ever-so-hip cake pops.
Sonny Marie’s: While they primarily serve the Cincinnati market, Sonny Marie’s is slowly working its way upstream, as their products can be found in Health Foods Unlimited in Centerville. They are best-known for their Sonny Tarts, which are a gluten-free and dairy-free version of the iconic PopTart.
AllerEnergy: Bringing a twist to the gluten-free market (literally and figuratively), this Centerville-based company makes allergen-free and gluten-free soft pretzels, marshmallows, and energy bars. You can find their products at Dorothy Lane Market, across the United States, and even Canada.
Ella Bella Cookies: One of Dayton’s newest home bakeries, Ella Bella Cookies sells muffins, banana nut bread, lemon bars, whoopie pies, cookies, and other tasty treats. You can call or email Ella Bella with your orders.
Moondance: Based in Cincinnati, you can find products by this award-winning, gluten-free bakery in more than 20 states and 40 Ohio cities
. Make sure to try their individual-serving size cheesecakes and brownies.
Eban Bakery: While they are located in Columbus, Eban Bakery has expanded into the Cincinnati and Dayton health food markets. Well-known for their breads and cookies, you can find their offerings at all three Dorothy Lane Market locations.
A diagnoses of celiac disease can be a radical lifestyle change, especially in terms of how you adjust your grocery shopping, cooking, and dining. To help you navigate the initially murky waters of living gluten-free, there are several support groups located within Dayton and the surrounding communities that can offer guidance, classes, and lectures for successfully integrating the gluten-free diet into your daily routine.
Now more than ever grocery stores strive to accommodate to their gluten-free patrons. Several large chains, including Kroger’s, Wal-Mart, and Meijer’s, even have gluten-free sections and/or stickers to denote gluten-free products. Below is a list of local grocery stores and health food stores that have a higher percentage of gluten-free product listings (and a few of them even have gluten-free guides).
South Dayton area: Dorothy Lane Market (three locations in south Dayton), Trader Joe’s (Kettering), Health Foods Unlimited (Miami Township), Olympia Health Food Center (Kettering), and Earth Fare (Centerville).
North Dayton area: Healthy Alternative (two locations), Natural Food Plus (Dayton), Nutra Foods (Huber Heights), Dayton Nutra Foods (Trotwood), Starflower Natural Foods (Yellow Springs), and To Your Health (Eaton).
Celiac disease has only recently gained exposure within popular culture, so new information about this condition is always being disseminated. With that in mind, staying abreast of the latest news and research is imperative and can change (usually for the better) your experience of this diet. For more information, make sure to visit the Celiac Disease Foundation or The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.