Three Restaurants That Don’t Even Bother

In my hunt for gluten-free food, I have come across a few places that don’t even bother trying to be gluten-friendly. Here are the three worst offenders that I’ve encountered.

Applebee’s

I visited Applebee’s once or twice before I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, and wasn’t a huge fan. I found the food salty (this from someone who puts salt on McDonald’s fries) but otherwise tasteless, the portions way too big, and the menu unappealing. However, I recently received a coupon so Mike and I decided to give it a shot.

I arrived at the restaurant first, and asked the hostess if they had a gluten-free menu. I got a blank stare and then a, “No.” I asked if they had an allergen chart. Same blank stare, followed by, “I don’t think so.” I asked if she could check. She did so, clearly annoyed, and returned to say that they didn’t have one. I waited for Mike in the parking lot and we went to Montana’s instead.

I’ve done some research since then. Although Applebee’s is a franchise (meaning that practices can differ between restaurants), their general practice is to tell those with Celiac disease that nothing can be guaranteed gluten-free. This includes steamed vegetables – they are typically covered in a seasoning that contains gluten.

Pizza Delight

Pizza Delight is a little bit better than Applebee’s when it comes to gluten-friendliness, meaning that they’re terrible instead of appalling. I went there once with  friends, figuring that I could have a salad or a grilled meal. They did have an allergen chart (although I couldn’t find one online), which revealed that the only gluten-free item on the menu was a garden salad with no dressing. I had wine instead of a meal.

Pizza Hut

Before I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, Pizza Hut was my favourite hangover food. I can’t properly rate their gluten-friendliness since I haven’t been back since then. However, their allergen chart shows that your gluten-free choices are limited to a Greek salad with no dressing, or traditional wings with hot or medium buffalo sauce, or garlic Parmesan sauce. (I highly doubt that the wings aren’t breaded and/or deep fried in contaminated oil, but this information is from their online allergen chart.) Many of their sauces and toppings are gluten-free, but there’s nothing to put it on!

What I find most disturbing is that items with gluten are not marked as such; instead it says, “Contains ingredients that may contain sensitivity.” (I think if I ate a slice of their deep-dish pepperoni pizza I’d have a reaction beyond “sensitivity!”) It seems clear that they don’t have a clue what a gluten allergy or intolerance really is.

Am I ever glad that Boston Pizza has gluten-free pizza and is allergy aware!

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  1. #1 by Michael Kelly on May 18, 2011 - 9:36 pm

    Nice to read your blog. I am a fellow Haligonian. I guess you have to be careful at some Boston Pizzas. My wife’s friend used to work at one and caught them not washing their hands between making regular pizza and gluten free pizza. Pizza Delight apparently has gluten free pizza now, but apparently it tastes horrible.

    • #2 by glutenfree4hfx on May 19, 2011 - 7:52 am

      Great to hear from you Michael! That is terrible about Boston Pizza, but good to know. And I will have to check out Pizza Delight for the sake of research. The last time I went there they had one item (garden salad) that could be made gluten-free. Thanks for commenting!

  2. #3 by Chris Avery on December 15, 2014 - 1:49 pm

    Applebee’s is hands down the worst restaurant experience I ever had and that was before I had celiac, I was not able to even eat salad due to Chicken allergy, they said they would not guarantee anything and we had to leave.

    • #4 by glutenfree4hfx on December 15, 2014 - 1:53 pm

      I sure don’t miss Applebee’s, it’s totally appalling! I’ve heard that some U.S. Applebee’s locations are better, but apparently it varies by location since it’s franchised. Not worth the risk at all 🙂

  1. Boston Pizza Adds More Gluten-Free Toppings To Its Lineup « Gluten For Punishment

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