By Brandi Lyons
Looking for some great gluten-free dishes around Ann Arbor? Brandi Lyons has compiled this handy list for a variety of food occasions.
Best Gluten-Free Sunday Brunch: Zingerman’s Roadhouse — Carolina Gold Rice Grits & Bits Waffles. There is no way that the wheat waffles are better than these! Most waffle connoisseurs will find these to be the best waffles they've ever had.
Best Gluten-Free Game Day Food: Stadium Market — Gluten-Free Signature Spinach Pizza. This is Ann Arbor’s best kept secret; a low priced world class pizza. It’s like they are single-handedly making up for all the injustices of going gluten free.
Best Gluten-Free Lunch Menu: Zingerman’s Deli — This is the place where a foodie goes to worship food. Almost any sandwich here can be made on the most luscious gluten-free bread ever. Top it off with a soft, rich Townie Brownie.
Best Gluten-Free Vegetarian: Seva — The Grilled Pesto Pizza Sandwich is my favorite here when the Falafel Sliders aren’t on special. Most things can be made vegan. Don’t miss the Yam Fries and the Flourless Chocolate Cake.
Best Gluten-Free Date Night: Lena – Plantain Tostones and Baked Goat Cheese appetizers, Beef Brisket Taco entrée, with Flan D’Caramel dessert. Also some of the best cocktails anywhere, and all in a romantic setting.
Best Gluten-Free Dinner for a Group: The Melting Pot — A scrumptious multi-course fondue with quality gluten-free breads and cakes. Excellent for a group or with new acquaintances. It’s fun and interactive with entertaining service. Save room for dessert.
Best Gluten-Free Latin Food: Pilar’s Tamales —Truly delectable and authentic Salvadoran cuisine with locally-grown ingredients served by the owner herself. Try a pupusa and a tamale (the best!) with fried plantains and rice pudding for dessert.
Best Gluten-Free Breakfast with Fancy Coffee: SongBird Café — Rosemary Sea Salt Latte with new breakfast pastries, omelets, and sandwiches. It’s counter service, so you can sit all day without cutting into your server’s take-home pay. Also, don’t forget the Farmer’s Omelet at Fleetwood Diner, since omelets are a gluten-free staple.
Best Gluten-Free Indian Food: Curry On — The Uttapam is a fluffy, savory pancake with a variety of flavorings, sauces, and sides. Also try a Rose Faluda (a cold and sweet beverage) with basil seeds. Ann Arbor is blessed with an exquisite Indian food buffet called Earthen Jar, which has desserts like the Grasshopper Brookie.
Best Gluten-Free Breakfast on the Go: Roos Roast — The best thing about the tasty muffins and pastries here is their symbiosis with the coffee. They use the “long-pull” coffee method, which creates a sublime texture. Take a sip between each bite of your muffin.
Best Gluten-Free Burger: Red Robin — The Royal Red Robin. Any burger can be made on a soft, sweet gluten-free bun. I find that burgers can be even more flavorful eaten with a fork and no bun. Casey’s Tavern has many burger and salad options, as well as delightful staff that will surely make you become a regular.
Best Gluten-Free Healthy and Local Food: Juicy Kitchen — Baked Eggs with Sunflower Toast and an Apple Walnut Muffin. Almost everything here can be made gluten-free, and it’s such an adorable place. It feels so wholesome with counter service and a homey dining area.
Best Gluten-Free Night on the Town: Aventura — The Paella here is fantastic! And it is huge; you’ll be enjoying it for days after. And most of the menu here happens to be gluten free. Don’t miss the Datiles con Chorizo appetizer.
Fastest Gluten-Free Breakfast or Lunch: The Wafel Shop — Waffles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner alone or with company. These are a blank canvas for your wildest topping combinations. Walk down the block afterward for super creamy Frozen Yogurt with Mochi at Lab Coffee.
Best Gluten-Free Snack: The Kerrytown Farmer’s Market — “B Bars.” Healthy gluten-free snack bars that come in a variety of flavors. If you are of the belief that food should be thy medicine, this is the portable and convenient treat for you.
A Gluten-Free American Dream: Washtenaw Dairy — Try Bear Claw and Mackinaw Island Fudge ice creams. For those of you recently gluten-free people still struggling to find the new “normal,” nothing is more cathartic than getting a huge two-scoop cup of ice cream and walking around this lovely neighborhood. (Most ice cream is gluten-free, but some flavors do contain wheat components. The best thing to do is read the ingredients list to identify the gluten-free flavors.)
Brandi Lyons has been a student of Ayurveda for seven years and is an author and graphic artist living in Ann Arbor.