Going on a road trip can be a challenge if you are gluten free. I have usually tried to plan meal stops near fairly large cities, so there will be a variety of choices. My husband and I are traveling to New York for a getaway with friends, with a stop in Springfield, Ohio, to stock our booth in the Heart of Ohio Antique Center. For lunch, we often eat at an Olive Garden, but we stopped near Lafayette and ate at a Chili’s. Chili’s website lists a number of menus for people with food allergies – egg, fish, milk, peanut, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat/gluten. I chose one of their Fresh Mex Bowls which was ordered without the corn salsa or tortilla strips, per menu instructions. It was quite nice, and I was pleased to see the extent to which Chili’s is accommodating people with food allergies.
Springfield, Ohio is an eating challenge on Sunday nights, even if you’re not gluten free. The Courtyard by Marriott has a relatively nice restaurant, Mela, but it is closed on Sunday evenings. (Note – the Courtyard by Marriott is in downtown Springfield. We had previously stayed in one of several chain hotels near the Interstate, but that neighborhood is run-down, and the nearby restaurants don’t offer much variety – hamburger chains and Bob Evans, etc.) Springfield isn’t much of a town for fine dining. Even the B & B recommended by the hotel desk clerk as a good place to eat wasn’t open for Sunday night dinner. We wound up at a deli, and I ate a sandwich sans bread. Springfield is the location of a number of different events, so it is rather surprising that they can’t support a better selection of restaurants.
If you ever travel to Springfield, do take a ride on High Street to see the great Victorian houses.
Monday’s breakfast was in the hotel restaurant. An egg breakfast (plus sides) is often the option for me when there are no special GF choices. Then we pushed on, and had lunch in Pickerington, Ohio at a Longhorn’s. Lucky again! They provided a gluten-free menu (not included on their website). There were a number of selections, and I had a nice lamb chop meal with mashed potatoes (mixed with a bit of horseradish sauce) and spinach.
Our evening stay was to be in Somerset, Pennsylvania. Due to a two-hour delay caused by an accident, we arrived after 7:00 p.m. Fortunately, we found a King’s Family Restaurant close to the hotel, and there, too, there were gluten free items posted on the menu. (Again , these items are not noted on their website.) King’s has a number of locations in Pennsylvania, and the Somerset restaurant had a fantastic-looking soda fountain. They sell hand-packed ice cream. Although we passed on the ice cream this time, we’ll definitely plan to try it at a later date!
While the choices offered by the chains don’t compete with the extensive GF menu options offered at a number of restaurants on my listing, I’m happy to find them catering to people with eating restrictions. This greatly expands the options available on the road.
I’ll be providing updates soon.