Trip Report: Gluten Free in the Twin Cities!


Pictured: Burning Bros Brewing Logo

We just returned from a long weekend trip to the Minneapolis, St Paul metro area.  I’m happy to report that there are some stellar gluten free options in the Twin Cities!

I always use the Find Me Gluten Free app to scope out an area when traveling.  I suggest that you actively use it as well – write fair reviews and suggest new businesses to add.  That is a service to the gluten free community – we want to know what you know!  Since I have Celiac Disease, I generally filter by the Celiac Friendly tag and see what comes up.  Example – Celiac Friendly in Minneapolis, sorted by rating.

Here’s where we went…

  • Twin City Grill – We went here for an anniversary dinner.  Very nice restaurant with lots of GF options and professional staff.  I was immediately put to ease after chatting with our server.  Twin City Grill is part of the Lettuce Entertain You group of restaurants and, it’s my understanding, that LEY, takes food allergies seriously.  That’s certainly the case at Twin City Grill.  Excellent meal.  GF items came out tagged with allergy labels.  I love that.  Restaurants… identify GF and specially prepared foods when you bring them to the table.  This let’s us know you cared all the way through the process.  Twin City Grill even had a flourless chocolate cake available (although we were too full).
  • Burning Brothers Brewing – with a motto of “Don’t Fear the Beer”, a completely gluten free brewery (sign on the door says no gluten allowed) and a Celiac brewmaster… this place is my jam.  Excellent GF beer and truly warm and nice people.  This is a great first-ish stop in the TC area, because you can chat with these folks about GF options around the area.  They periodically have food trucks (all are said to have GF food).  This has a cool neighborhood brewery feel – with none of the gluten.  I recommend the sampler and ended getting a pint (and a growler to go) of their Pyro Pale Ale infused with Raspberry.  Burning Brothers also cans their beer and is available throughout the Twin Cities, Minnesota and Beyond.  Dedicated gluten free breweries are a rare sight.  This place is an absolute jewel… go there!
  • ZZQ Smokehouse – This place is…. outstanding.  I’ve eaten a lot of BBQ (in my pre-celiac days) and have made my own bbq at home for years and years.  This place is a legit barbecue restaurant [regardless of gluten content] that stacks right up there with some of the best places I’ve visited in Kansas City and Memphis.  The fryer only fries handcut potatoes and every single side and sauce is gluten free.  The only thing that has gluten is the bun.  I identified myself as someone with Celiac Disease and the owner wiped down the counter and cleaned utensils.  I chatted with the owner at length and he has a relative with Celiac Disease.  We tried to eat here again, but it didn’t work out schedule-wise.  This is an outstanding restaurant.
  • Sassy Spoon – This is a dedicated gluten free restaurant that serves a creative menu along with local gluten free beer (Burning Bros!), cider and wine.  We went on a Sunday.  On weekends that also offer a brunch menu.  I got the biscuits and gravy, which were a treat.  I also sampled the omelette.  The Sassy Spoon is in a cool neighborhood and has some outdoor seating.  What a great restaurant.
  • Freshens – Freshens has a couple locations in the Mall of America.  Their smoothies were all 100% gluten free.  I picked up a smoothy while and the mall and it was pretty tasty.
  • Beer – Burning Brothers – pick it up in the brewery or at local stores.  Glutenberg Beer – Glutenberg has good distribution in the Twin Cities area.  I was able to try a couple of their beers and they were excellent.  James Page Brewings JP’s Acapella Pale Ale was also available at both the wine stores I went to – very tasty pale ale.  I also picked up a bottle of Element Brewing Company’s Plasma Sake IPA, although I have yet to try it.  It can be a trick to find specific beers in stock.  A store may carry it, but it may not be available.  Total Wine allows you to order online for in store pickup.  That way, you have your order reserved.  Total Wine had every GF beer I’ve mentioned here, including Burning Brothers Beers – Pyro Ale and Roasted Coffee Ale.  I also found good availability at Haskell’s a local chain of wine stores.
  • Rojo Mexican Grill – The menu has lots of clearly marked GF options.  Our food was good, albeit it a little on the pricey side for serving sizes.  Serving sizes in general were good, but the tacos in particular are on the small side.  Our service was slow, but the server was nice and apologetic about the wait.  I think they were understaffed when we visited.  It was an excellent experience in that I did not get sick [my #1 priority] and the food was delicious.  I would definitely go and give them another try.

Didn’t Go, but wanted to…

  • Wok in the Park – Although, we didn’t end up getting to go here, I wanted to.  This place get’s stellar ratings online, I had those echoed to me by locals (at Burning Brothers Brewery) that I spoke with.  We did go to this restaurant and went inside, but unfortunately they weren’t open and going back just didn’t fit in our schedule.  It seems like an awesome place, I’m looking forward to trying it on a future trip.
  • The Original Pancake House – I’ve eaten at a couple of these pre-Celiac and had some great breakfasts.  The ones in the Twin Cities area, in particular, get great ratings in Find Me Gluten Free.  Another restaurant on my to-try list.

We stayed at the Home2 Suites by Hilton in Bloomington.  Really great hotel, newer and a good location close to the Mall of America, but not too close.  This was a Celiac Friendly hotel for us since – it has a kitchenette area to make food, it has a Red Robin in it and a great health food store [Fresh Tyme Grocery] is located right across the parking lot.

We enjoyed some of the area parks and rented bikes.  The Twin Cities is an awesome area with a lot to offer including many great gluten free options.

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