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Gluten-free dining report June 2014

It's June and that means it is time for my monthly gluten-free restaurant update. I do hope there will be more gluten-free options coming to Atlanta during this month, so I will need to write a second one. This update brings with it new gluten-free options for: salads, sweets, small plates, snacks, chicken nuggets, burgers on buns, French-inspired cuisine, and more.

Gluten-free chocolate cherry cupcakes
2B Whole European Bakery

Please keep in mind that none of these establishments have dedicated gluten-free kitchens, but they take steps to avoid cross contact during preparation. Here is this month's contenders in alphabetical order.

2B Whole Gluten-Free European Bakery - is rolling out summer flavors of cupcakes: Cherry Chocolate, Black Forest, and Strawberry Shortcake.

Christophe's To Go - has three locations serving up French-inspired, precooked soups, salads, sides, and entrees for those living a Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free lifestyle. These foods, which are sold as 'to go', are made fresh daily with nutrition, taste, and convenience forefront. All of the chef's recipes can be customized to fit most any lifestyle and the cuisine ranges from comfort foods to osso bucco. Chef Christophe does not use artificial flavors, preservatives, or chemicals with unpronounceable names, so you can enjoy a great meal and peace of mind.

Common Quarter - in Marietta (serving brunch and dinner) boasts a menu with many gluten-free options that are marked with a '**', or they can easily be modified to remove gluten. More investigation has determined that fried foods are prepared in a shared fryer and they do not offer any gluten-free breads. That being said, they take care to ensure the preparation of gluten-free foods is free of cross contact.

Four Seasons' Park 75 - has added an outdoor, rooftop dining experience dubbed Garden Table. This concept is the brainchild of Executive Chef Gerstenecker and his culinary team who wanted to share their passion for local, fresh flavors with diners in an up-close-and-personal way. Garden Table takes place outside on the Hotel's fifth floor terrace, where diners enjoy a five course meal prepared tableside while overlooking the sweeping views of Atlanta's skyline. Reservations for Garden Table are available Tuesday through Saturday until November, pending weather and availability. Cost is $280 per person. Call Park 75 at 404-253-3840 to reserve your experience. Available annually for eight to 18 people (minimum booking of eight). If you can't gather eight people, call Park 75 and ask to be added to the 'Wait for Eight' and enjoy the Garden Table with new friends sourced by the Park 75 hostess.

Fresh to Order - is set to open in Decatur in the former Hola! Mexican Cantina space later this year. That space seems to be a bit of a dicey location for Decatur, so I hope this restaurant can give it a go. Their gluten-free menu is decent, but it is kind of pricey. Thanks Eli!

Jason's Deli - is introducing the new gluten-free chicken nuggets as a side option and as a protein addition to your salad bar, which is much cheaper way to order them. They will still come in a four-piece order, but without the kid's side/drink and at a lower price. I recently tried the nuggets and the breading is quite thick and corn-y tasting. They arrived at my table still cold in the middle, but when they returned they were nice and hot.

Panera Bread - recently announced its pledge to remove artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives from their food by 2016. Clean ingredients and more menu transparency are among the chain's priorities. I can't tell you the last time I dined at one of these restaurants, but they do have a gluten-free menu and it features salads and a couple of soups.

The Bishop - in Avondale Estates recently opened and it offers American classics and traditional comfort foods with a twist using all-natural, locally sourced products. These comfort foods include a number of gluten-free: small plates, salads, burgers on buns, sandwiches on bread, and dinner plates. The restaurant is only open for dinner (starting at 4:00 p.m.) and it serves Pure Knead's gluten-free and vegan bread and buns.

The Polaris - located in the Hyatt Regency, will reopen for business June 10 after a 10 year absence. It will offer dinner from 6-1 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The new restaurant feels more like a lounge, or a night club than a seated restaurant. The menu will feature small plates, perfect for sharing. I attended a menu preview and there are a number of great offerings, such as the Gazpacho Flight (strawberry, yellow tomato, cucumber), Red Porgy with pickled vegetables and finger lime caviar, and the Chocolate Pecan Praline Torte. Make sure to order the H&F Benton's bacon popcorn too.

TGI Fridays - has improved its options for gluten-sensitive diners as a small part of the company's brand refresh, which also includes a new logo. TGI Fridays launched a food truck, which will arrive in Atlanta July 23-27, to introduce consumers to its new handcrafted summer menu.

Tin Roof Kitchen - has recently updated its menus, so take a look and see what's new. The fried chicken with white gravy, red skinned mashed potatoes and lime chili chicken in phenomenal.

What looks good to you?

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