Angela WetzelGrand Junction Free Press Health & Wellness Columnist

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April 24, 2013
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WETZEL: Dining out on a gluten-free diet

It's amazing the road blocks that one comes upon when going gluten-free. One of the road blocks that I came upon was: Where to eat?No longer can you run to a sandwich shop, grab something and be on your way. Fast food is almost out altogether! Sit-down restaurants can be better at understanding gluten-free diets or have an entire gluten-free menu, but eating out is still hard. One restaurant that really "gets" gluten-free is Red Robin. For those of you that are gluten-free, you understand how a hamburger isn't a juicy hamburger patty with a fluffy bun, it's just a meat patty with cheese and wrapped in lettuce. Not at Red Robin!It's been approximately a year and a half since they announced that they were partnering with Udi's to bring the whole hamburger experience to those who have celiac disease or are gluten-intolerant. The Udi's buns look like normal buns, cover the entire burger as well, and are delicious. Now we can have a "normal" hamburger! The other reason why Red Robin is one of the most gluten-friendly restaurants is that they have a dedicated kitchen for anything gluten-free. This means a separate fryer for French fries, a separate area for putting your meal together, and usually your meal will come in a yellow basket, versus their signature red baskets (which signifies it as a gluten allergy). While they can't guarantee cross contamination, they do try their hardest and seem to train the staff on what gluten-free means. Training a staff on what gluten-free entails is important and Red Robin has done it right. I've never had a server that hasn't been in tune with what gluten-free means or how important it is to make sure that my meal is safe for me to eat. Red Robin also updates their allergen lists frequently.The only thing that Red Robin is missing is a gluten-free dessert. I would assume that they will be developing something soon to stay ahead of the curve. Maybe soon we can enjoy a full meal from appetizers to desserts! Overall, Red Robin is a class act when it comes to eating out and still staying with the lifestyle we need to live. They seem to search for options to make eating gluten-free outside of the home an enjoyable experience. If you are looking for a great meal, stop in at our local Red Robin at 2530 Rimrock Ave. in Grand Junction. It will be a great hamburger experience - buns and all!Angela Wetzel has celiac disease and is president of Gluten Free Grand Valley, a support group for those with celiac disease and wheat allergies. Contact her at

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The Post Independent Updated Apr 24, 2013 03:29PM Published Apr 24, 2013 03:24PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.