Here are some of our favorite "Fast Food" places to eat. We hope you enjoy them too.
Five Guys is one of the only fast food restaurants where you can get both a burger and fries without being too concerned about cross contamination, as the only food item that contains gluten in the entire facility are their gluten-filled buns. Their fries are 100% gluten free as they are the only items that enter their fryolators. Therefore, both the cajun fries and regular fries are gluten free! They do not have gluten free buns, but if you let the server know you have an issue with gluten, they will prepare your food in a separate area and will gladly either wrap your burger in lettuce or put it into a bowl. Milkshakes are definitely a no-go, however, as some can contain malted milk and/or Oreo mix-ins. Cross contamination in the blenders is highly possible. Also, avoid the fry sauce and (obviously) the malt vinegar on the tables.
Favorite Order: Bacon cheeseburger (wrapped in lettuce) with cajun fries.
Even though many restaurants offer gluten-free pizza these days, very few are chains that can be found across the Northeast. When I found out that Papa Gino’s was serving pizzas on Udi’s gluten free crust, I was quite excited to know that I would be able to order a gluten free pizza for myself when getting pizza with my friends. They have a disclaimer on their website describing how they prepare these pizzas separately, use dedicated utensils/prep spaces and have trained their staff to know what toppings contain gluten (visit this link: https://www.papaginos.com/our-food/gluten-free). Additionally, pretty much all their toppings are gluten free aside from their meatballs, chicken tenders and mac-n-cheese (this is on pizzas?). TIP: Ask for the pizza well done, the crust is even better prepared this way.
Favorite Order: Plain cheese pizza or bacon pizza
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Whether you are traveling out of state or looking for a quick meal nearby, Chipotle is a convenient gluten-free-friendly Mexican fast food chain. There are many locations throughout the U.S. The only item containing gluten within the restaurant is the flour tortilla. So, as long as you request that your server changes their gloves and retrieves any cheese and lettuce you would like from out back (as gloves that may have handled the flour tortilla could have came in contact with these items) you should be all set! They offer gluten free corn tortillas, taco salads and burrito bowls as options.
Favorite Order: Burrito bowl with pork carnitas, cheese, lettuce, black beans, white rice, mild salsa and corn salsa
This health conscious eatery has fourteen locations in Massachusetts, serving build-your-own salads and grain bowls. There is also a fixed menu (with gluten containing items marked with an asterisk) with different types of salads and bowls for those who are less creative. Everything in sweetgreen (at least according to their current menu- hopefully this remains to be the case!) is gluten free with the exception of their Za’atar Breadcrumbs which always seem to be located far from the rest of their assembly line to avoid the risk of cross contamination. Still ask your server to change their gloves just in case!
Favorite Order: Toss up between the Kale Caesar or Pesto Portabello
The GluTeen Free blog posts are written by Sarah and Kaitlyn Roffman, twins with celiac disease who are currently juniors at Littleton High School.
I love Chipotle’s and eat there often. Some locations are definitely better than others, but what bothers me most (at all places)–is the way the wheat tortillas are dragged across the counter with part of it hanging into the filling containers. When a scoop of filling is placed on the tortilla, the spoon usually taps the tortilla, then dips back into the containers, so gluten is constantly being dragged back and forth. There should be a ridge between the counter and the fillings and workers should be trained to keep the spoon above the bread. OR, better yet (I say this with a smile) change to GF tortillas and open up a whole new world for Celiacs!