Since the White Dog Cafe opened in Philadelphia in 1983, it has been notable for its principles of environmental sustainability and responsibility and fresh, exciting local flavors. Visitors to the University City and Wayne locations are charmed by the doggy decor and canine references; it's cool, but not over-the-top. And while the food and restaurants are themselves beautiful to look at, the tastes are spectacular. You will know that the basil or strawberries are fresh picked because of the way the flavors pop in your mouth.
Visiting the Wayne location just this past Sunday with my family, I asked for a gluten-free menu. The gave me an allergen-noted version of the menu everyone else had. (Each item had a letter next to it, noting which allergen it contained.) There weren't many dishes listed that I could eat, but there were a few from which to choose. The server was extremely knowledgeable about the food and about gluten, thankfully. As she was finishing up taking our orders, she mentioned the blueberry breakfast bread that she'd be bringing back for the table, and then she turned to me and said, "And we have homemade gluten-free rolls for you - I'll just warm them up." Rolls? For me? My loving family laughed at the shocked look on my face (I have never been offered bread at a restaurant.) The rolls came, warm as promised, and they were wonderful; biscuit-y and herb-y and all mine.
I ordered the Strawberry and Ricotta Market Salad, which was excellent. Dotted with plump golden raisins and Marcona almonds, the ricotta was fresh and creamy. I wish I had taken my server's advice and ordered a protein to go on top (like grilled chicken,) but it was still a fantastic salad. I took full advantage of the bottomless Mimosa (which could have been traded out at any time for Sangria, Bloody Marys, Screwdrivers or Greyhounds,) and the observant wait staff made sure my glass stayed full.
I am excited to return, because their menu changes seasonally. Hopefully, White Dog will add some more delicious gluten-free fare next time around.
White Dog Cafe
3420 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
200 West Lancaster Avenue
Wayne, PA 19087