Gluten-Free Restaurants, Mostly Suburban (Northwest)
Note: I would always recommend letting the wait staff know you are gluten free, even if you are ordering from a gluten free menu. It is a good idea to remind them that the item needs the gluten free preparation.
I will provide both objective and subjective comments. I have placed five stars ***** on some of my favorites. I’ll add stars to more restaurants as I visit them more.
Readers are invited to provide information on their gluten free restaurant experiences.
Deer Park Town Center, 20560 North Rand Road, Deer Park, IL | 847-438-1850
Algonquin Commons, 1524 Randall Road, Algonquin, IL | 847-658-5040
There are other suburban Chicago locations in Deerfield and Naperville, plus they have additional locations in Illinois and other states.
Excellent GF Menu, with many choices. Biaggi’s has a dedication to serving the gluten-free community. They even provide GF dipping bread, many delicious pizza options, two types of gluten free pastas, and list all their gluten free pasta sauces on their two-page GF menu. Biaggi’s is an excellent choice, for the gluten free person and their dinner companions.
Deer Park Town Center, 20530 North Rand Road, Deer Park, IL | 847-726-1000
The Arboretum, 100 West Higgins Road L60, South Barrington, IL, | 847-428-9400
Noodles & Company has many locations around the country. My experience is primarily with the Deer Park location. (Apparently, the staff at some locations isn’t as gluten-free friendly as the Deer Park site.)
Their nutrition guide lists their gluten free options, and does emphasize that there could be cross-contamination due to the presence of so many wheat products. I haven’t had a problem. They offer two gluten free pastas. I have a little fold-up menu that lists their dishes that can be served gluten free. Situated in shopping malls, they provide a quick stop place, if you don’t have a really high level of sensitivity.
Arboretum – South Barrington
100 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington, IL 60010 | 847-844-9300
Pinstripes offers bowling, bocce ball, and dining in a large dining and entertainment venue. They describe the restaurant as a bistro, and the atmosphere is open and friendly. They provide a separate GF Menu, which can be accessed from their menu page on the left-hand side.
There are other Chicagoland locations in Northbrook and Oakbrook, plus out-of-town locations.
The Arboretum, 100 W. Higgins Road, V-1, South Barrington, IL | 847-836-9463
708 W. Algonquin Road, Arlington Heights, IL. 847-981-0900
Cooper’s Hawk has an extensive and excellent GF menu, offering sandwiches and hamburgers on GF buns plus other entrees. During my last visit, I noticed that the buns were even improved, holding together well. All dishes are accompanied by a wine recommendation. (It is a winery as well.) This restaurant is very popular, and quite busy on week-end nights – I strongly recommend reservations for those times. I have often been there for lunch and seating was immediate. GF Menu Go to the bottom of the left column and download the gluten-free menu.
The Arboretum, 100 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington, IL | 847-428-1783
I have only recently discovered that this restaurant offers gluten free options. Gluten Free Crepes!!! among other entrée options. Their menu indicates which choices are gluten free. I have only been there once, so far, but I will definitely be back. For the menu, you can go to the main website and click on “menu”. There isn’t a separate link.
They have a wine bar.
Noodles & Company – see above listing for Deer Park location.
The Arboretum also has Mago Grill and Cantina (Mexican) which has a gluten free menu. I’ll try this out soon, and report back.
Egg Harbor Café
Downtown Barrington, 210 S. Cook St. | 847-304-4033
Egg Harbor has a total of 18 locations, including a number of Chicagoland restaurants.
There is a Gluten Free menu that has many options, including egg dishes, Gluten Free pancakes, a gluten free cinnamon roll breakfast, (yumm!) and sandwiches served on a GF bun (one of the best GF buns I’ve had). They have a decal on the entrance that lets patrons know of their gluten free provider.
Downtown Barrington in the Ice House Mall, 200 Applebee Street, 847-382-5020. Dining available in a railroad car. Gluten free options shown at end of regular menu. Daily specials.
The Foundry, 736 W. Northwest Highway, Barrington } 847-382-1988
This Asian restaurant (pronounced “plate”) has a “wheat free and gluten free” section following their regular menu.
Their menu is on a split page, so your cursor will have to be on the left in order to scroll.
Ciao Baby ***** 232 E. Main Street, Downtown Barrington | 847-381-3555
A family-owned small Italian restaurant in downtown Barrington. A friendly place with good food selections. The chalkboard lists specials, and a companion Tip Top Tap provides a place for the week-end overflow customers to wait for their table. Gluten free pastas and pizzas are noted on their menu. (The menu page has pdf’s of the various menus.)
22221 North Pepper Road, Lake Barrington | 847-381-7308
Situated in a scenic location, the restaurant/brewery can accommodate large groups. They have a sumptuous Sunday brunch. Several gluten free options are listed on their regular menu.
750 Cucina Rustica
7 Jandus Road, Cary, Ilm 847-829-4933
Although the gluten free options are not listed on the menu, the restaurant has GF pasta, and a number of entree options that are gluten free, as well as appetizers, salads, and risottos.
115 Park St. Wauconda, IL, 847-526-9789
Situated on the shore of Bang’s Lake, the restaurant has a boating clientele in the summertime. They have a gluten free menu which is not available online. I did have one bad experience there, but have eaten there a number of times with no ill effect. Gluten free buns for their sandwiches/burgers.
Diamond Fresh Seafood
583 North Rand Road, Lake Zurich, IL , 847-438-4900
Primarily a fresh seafood market, this little gem of a place serves lunch Tuesday thru Saturday, and is open until 7:30 on Thursday and Friday when dinner is available. All items on their menu are made (or available) gluten free. Crab cakes have to be ordered ahead, or purchased frozen if you want them gluten free.
127 West Main Street, West Dundee, 847-844-7099
There are a number of restaurants in the Francesca’s family. We prefer the location in West Dundee. (The Barrington location, Francesca’s Famiglia, is extremely noisy.) They have a gluten free menu, the food is always good and the wait staff excellent.
Benedict’s La Strada
40 N. Williams Street, Crystal Lake, 815-459-6500 They have a second location in East Dundee.
Primarily a breakfast and lunch restaurant, they do serve dinner on Fridays and Saturdays. Friendly, welcoming atmosphere. GF items are noted on the breakfast and lunch menu.
Some additional items can be made gluten free by request.
da Baffone Cucina Italiana
111 North Main Street, Crystal Lake, 815-893-6149
A small, fine Italian restaurant in downtown Crystal Lake. GF pasta is available. Menu selections include items that do not contain gluten. and other dishes can be prepared gluten free on request. A small plate bar menu is also available. Highy recommended!
547 Milwaukee Avenue, Libertyville, 847-549-3152
The restaurant – expectedly – features various chili creations that you can put together from elements on the menu, or order “chili we make”. The dish starts with a base of pasta, potatoes, or rice; next, one of their chilis, and then a selection of toppings. The menu includes a good assortment of sandwiches, sides, salads, appetizers and desserts. Gluten free and vegetarian selections are indicated on the menu although the icons don’t appear on the online version.
Surprisingly, the restaurant exhibits great imagination. Don’t miss the wonderful Barbie and Ken vignettes in the restrooms.
1912 N. Arlington Heights Road, 847-870-7770
A seafood restaurant. No specific gluten free listings, but many options that are naturally gluten free. White linen tablecloths, very pleasant decor (from an earlier time). Professional waiters.
Max and Benny’s
451 Waukegan Road, Northbrook, 847-272-9490
A traditional Jewish deli. There is a limited Gluten Free selection on their menu, but many other dishes don’t contain gluten. (I often order the cabbage soup.) Update – the newest menu doesn’t show the gluten free options, but they’re still available.
Seasons 52 – Various locations around the country. There are locations in Oakbrook and Schaumburg in Illinois.
A tasteful restaurant with good service, excellent presentation, and a calorie-sensitive approach to meals. Menus rotate seasonally. Do plan on having dessert.
Wildfire – http://www.wildfirerestaurant.com/locations
Chicago, Glenview, Schaumburg, Lincolnshire, and Oakbrook
I feel you can never go wrong at a Wildfire Restaurant. One of Lettuce Entertain You’s brands. I have been at several functions serving large groups, and their service to GF is always there. Their gluten free menu is extensive.
Wildfire should be on any list of good restaurants, gluten free or not.
Walker Bros – http://www.walkerbros.net/locations.html
Arlington Heights, Glenview, Highland Park, Lake Zurich, Lincolnshire, and Wilmette
Walker Bros has established a fine reputation over many years for quality ingredients and is regarded as one of the best restaurant choices for breakfast. The stained glass windows and lighting fixtures help to create a unique and beautiful place. The restaurant was reviewed in my posting on April 19.
Lyfe Kitchen –
Evanston, River North, and other locations around the U.S.
A fairly new chain or franchise, there are two locations in the Chicago area. The Evanston restaurant was discussed in my blog “Evanston Find”. Full GF menu, plus V (vegetarian) menu.
1603 Orrington Avenue 847-563-8242
This is the first fast food entry onto my list of gluten free restaurants. They are primarily a Midwestern chain, best known for the ButterBurger. Culver’s has recently started offering their burgers and sandwiches on a gluten-free bun.
Mity Nice Grill ***** 825 N. Michigan Avenue (Water Tower Place) 312-335-4745
They have an excellent GF menu. This restaurant was the subject of my first blog posting. On the mezzanine of Water Tower Place, it is entered through a bustling food court atmosphere, but provides excellent food in an unhurried atmosphere, with attentive service. It is a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant. I have found the LEYE restaurants to be very good choices, and this restaurant is no exception. Wonderful food, great table rolls (actually they’re popovers) and they’re gluten free. The recipe is available online.
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I received several restaurant recommendations from a gluten free friend (listed below). I’ll add more information about them after I’ve visited them.
The Belden Stratford Hotel, 2300 N. Lincoln Park West, Chicago, 773-348-8886
GF Menu, Lettuce Entertain You restaurant.
519 N. Clark, Chicago, 312-284-1377
GF Menu, Lettuce Entertain You restaurant
1732 N. Halsted, Chicago, 312-266-1199
For people going to the Steppenwolf or Royal George theaters, Vinci has “excellent gluten free menu choices, including the best minestrone I’ve ever tasted”.
1437 N. Wells, Chicago, 312-587-3660
According to my friend, it has gluten free items marked on the menu. I didn’t see this online.
Chicago locations at State and Cedar, and 60 E. Ohio, plus locations in Lincolnshire and Schaumburg. GF Menu Lettuce Entertain You restaurants.