HEALTH: A great gluten-free Italian dining option |

HEALTH: A great gluten-free Italian dining option

Angela Wetzel
Free Press Health Columnist

I love eating out. It’s nice after a hard day of work to sometimes go somewhere, grab a bite and relax before heading home. When eating gluten-free, the number of restaurants available to eat at decrease by more than half. This is why when a group of us from Gluten Free Grand Valley decided to eat out, we chose a restaurant with a large gluten-free menu: Johnny Carino’s.

Johnny Carino’s, located at 2480 U.S. Hwy. 6 and 50, recently released a new gluten-free menu with a large assortment of gluten-free options which include appetizers, salads, soups, main dishes and even desserts. We decided to check it out and were pleasantly surprised!

I arrived early so I could chat with the manager and explain to him that our group was on its way and why we had a sensitive situation. He was very receptive and explained how their kitchen is in tune with how important keeping our food from cross contamination is and he also told me about their kitchen processes when handling gluten-free items. This put my mind at ease. The manager also spoke with our server and she was very attentive to how important our gluten-free needs were.

I was very impressed with their menu and the choices available. Since we also have people in our group that are dairy-free or have other allergies, it was important that substitutions are allowed. When we ordered, this was not a problem, which is another bonus for Johnny Carino’s. While we were waiting for our meals, the manager sent out appetizer samples so we could give him feedback on what the items tasted like! What a great treat! Our orders did arrive and although a couple things had to be sent back, it wasn’t a big deal and the server happily exchanged items for us.

The food itself was amazing. Sometimes gluten-free pasta can either be mushy or too al dente and this pasta was perfect. The chicken I had was made perfectly as well. All of the food that the group had was fantastic and included items from pasta dishes to burgers to salads. We knew we were leaving happy and full and that the food had been prepared safely.

Overall, our experience at Johnny Carino’s went to the top of my “favorite gluten-free restaurants” list. Between great food and an educated staff, it made eating out a worry-free pleasure. For more information, call Carino’s at 970-255-0560.

If you would like me to visit your restaurant for a gluten-free menu review, email me at!

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 or visit Gluten Free Grand Valley on Facebook.

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