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Gluten-free dining in the suburbs is looking up

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A fast food or chain restaurant is what comes to mind when people think of dining the suburbs. Luckily, there is an influx of restaurants choosing to grow roots in the suburbs and their cuisine is anything but ordinary. I live outside the perimeter (OTP), but I love to eat out, so that meant I had to drive to Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Decatur, Midtown, or Atlanta to find quality food. Fortunately that is not the case anymore, and I have compiled a list of some of the restaurants offering up quality cuisine in the 'burbs.

None of these restaurants, with the exception of Tin Roof Kitchen, has a dedicated gluten-free kitchen. This means cross contact is a possibility, but all of these restaurants take the necessary steps to prevent it by following safe handling procedures. The last thing they want to do is make someone ill, so be sure to make your food allergy/intolerance known to the staff when placing an order.

  • Common Quarter - in Marietta made the Top 100 Neighborhood Restos in America 2014 by Open Table. Their menu has a number of gluten-friendly options, so be sure to ask your server for a rundown.
  • Osteria Mattone - in Roswell was also was named Top 100 Neighborhood Restos in America 2014 by Open Table. Their menu offers gluten-free options, including three types of gluten-free pasta (Le Veneziane and two others), so be sure to ask your server for more details. They take handling food intolerance/allergies very seriously because they know how hard it can be to eat out and find something delicious and safe. I can't wait to go in and try some pasta!
  • Salt Factory Pub - in Roswell, Alpharetta, and soon-to-be Woodstock offers an upscale gastro pub and wine bar experience with internationally influenced cuisine and a focus on drinks. The menu, which features comfort foods with international influences, is heavy with oysters, meats/cheeses, appetizers, and soups and salads. Although they don't have a gluten-free menu, a number of their options can be modified.
  • Seed Kitchen & Bar - in Marietta isn't new to the dining scene, but its cuisine has earned it a place on this list. It offers a menu full of gluten-free options that are marked with a (gf) and prepared using safe handling procedures. “From day one, we knew that gluten-free was going to be a big part of our agenda,” says Doug Turbush, chef and owner. I haven't been there yet, but their seasonal menu focuses on locally sustainable ingredients.
  • Southbound - is open for lunch in Chamblee and it offers Udi's Gluten Free's bread for sandwiches. According to the restaurant, their cuisine is very 'gluten-free friendly' and they have taken the unusual step of marking items that cannot be modified with a "*".
  • Table & Main - in Roswell is owned by the same group behind Osteria Mattone, so guests with food allergies/intolerance only need to make them known to receive a safe and delicious meal. According to Ryan Pernice, many of their regular menu items are either gluten free, or can be modified to be so. Here is a sampling of their simple, seasonal, and Southern gluten-free options: Charleston she-crab soup, pickle plate, vegetable plate, lamb rack, beef ribeye, scallops (minus croutons), and ice cream or puddin' (minus graham cracker) for dessert.
  • Taqueria del Mar - I have been a fan of this restaurant since it opened in Norcross last year. It is the only place I go to get gluten-free crab cakes (bring them gluten-free breadcrumbs and call in advance). The quality of the seafood is top notch, the interior is hand crafted, and the location and staff are wonderful. Oh, and the prices aren't exorbitant either.
  • The Crossing Steakhouse - in Norcross occupies the space formerly belonging to The Train Station. I haven't been there yet, but I have been told that the inside has been transformed just like the menu. They mainly offer surf and turf with Southern flair.
  • Tin Roof Kitchen - in Alpharetta is the first 100% gluten-free restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This cuisine is indistinguishable as gluten-free and its bold and clever flavor combinations have people (gluten free or not) coming back for more.
  • Zeal Restaurant - opened in Marietta at the end of 2013 and offers gluten-free bread and buns, has a dedicated fryer, and makes a gluten-free crust for their cheesecake. Their cuisine can be described as a twist on seasonal and locally sourced foods served in a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. I haven't dined her yet, but some of the menu highlights include: fried green tomatoes, duck poutine, and stuffed pork tenderloin.

I have just given you ten options that keep you (and your money) in the suburbs, so go dine out and let me know what you think. I have never been happier to live in the 'burbs. Now, we just need to get more restaurants to Norcross, like a decent barbecue joint, a meat and three restaurant, etc.

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