Will “they” ever “get it”???

Network news broadcasts report that the number of us who eat Gluten Free is growing, yet there remain “food establishments” who still prefer to ignore our existence.

Many months ago I had to leave a “Potbelly’s” restaurant because there simply was nothing on the menu board that I could eat. One would think that salads would be a safe bet, but they didn’t even have simple oil and vinegar anywhere in the kitchen that could be used as a salad dressing.

This week I visited a TGI Friday’s for dinner. I asked the hostess if they had Gluten Free offerings and the Manager answered, “Yes, their salads would be a safe bet.” I did order a (non-marinated) steak seasoned with only salt and pepper and it was delicious. The mashed potatoes I ordered as a side were likewise quite tasty, but the side salad came with croûtons (not too big a problem… I simply removed them) and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It appeared to be “thickened” (not merely balsamic vinegar and oil) so I asked the manager to check the ingredient list… which he did. Unfortunately, this dressing contained wheat based ingredients and they did not have any oil and vinegar in the kitchen. My only option was to eat the salad ingredients without dressing. It is a real shame that this popular restaurant cannot take a page from the PF Chang’s “playbook” by providing Gluten Free offerings. I won’t go back to a TGI Friday’s until they do.

On a positive note, upon request, a local Ben & Jerry’s was all too happy to show me their extensive list of Gluten Free flavors. I thoroughly enjoyed a cup of Cherry Garcia and New York Super Fudge Chunk. (Yeah, D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!!) I asked them if I could get a copy of their list. They replied that it was available online.
This is where the situation became disappointing. Not only did the website not provide a list of Gluten free flavors, but in speaking with a customer service rep I was told Ben & Jerry’s corporate would not “step out on a limb” and declare a flavor Gluten Free in case the ingredients changed in the future.

I had been prepared to sing their praises for having a Gluten Free list and an extensive one, at that. Apparently the management of the one store I visited deserves the credit, in this case. I will visit this store at least one more time so I can write down their list of Gluten Free flavors.
I will continue to visit Ben & Jerry’s (when I can find them – there isn’t one near my home) and will always ask for a Gluten Free list. When one is not available, I will ask to check the ingredient list of the flavors I want to try… just in case “corporate” changes the recipe in the future.

I do look forward to a time when all restaurants and other food establishments fully understand our Gluten concerns and provide Gluten Free among their offerings.  Then it will truly be a “Wonderful World”!