Eating Gluten-Free in Pittsburgh
Gluten-free is one of the biggest buzzwords in recent discussion regarding American diets. For those of you who aren’t totally sure what it is, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. For the three million people in the U.S. with Celiac Disease, foods containing these items can make them very sick. Some going gluten-free have something called non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), which is estimated to affect about 18 million Americans. While we don’t know a whole lot about NCGS, it’s recieved a lot of buzz lately about whether it has to do with gluten at all, but its supposed symptoms are enough to make anyone sacrifice their love for pizza and beer. Because of the serious implications of Celiac Disease, it’s important to get tested and talk to a doctor about your concerns when exploring a complete gluten elimination diet.
For some, going gluten-free isn’t about a disease, it’s about slimming down for their itsy-bitsy bikinis this summer or adopting a healthier diet. Plenty of foods are naturally gluten-free, like meat, most vegetables and fruit, eggs, rice, potatoes, corn, and dairy products. If you’re someone who can’t forfeit the baked goods, know that some special care has to go into gluten-free cakes and cookies. Notice how “gluten” sounds a little like “glue?” That’s because it’s what holds bread, pastries, and biscuits together. There are special ways to bake gluten-free without creating a brick or a crumbly mess. Some establishments have the process down to an art, so we’re giving you a list of the best gluten-free in Pittsburgh.
Located in Squirrel Hill on Murray Avenue, Gluuteny is a gluten-free bakery with a sinfully clever name. Most of their products are casein-free too, but you wouldn’t know it! Everything in the store is gluten-free, so cross-contamination is a not an issue. From birthday cakes to sugar cookies (and even tasty gluten-free, vegan donuts), Gluuteny has your sweet tooth covered. You can also check it out for fresh baked bread, flour mixes, and pizzas. Yum!
Gus’s Cafe just opened at the end of 2013 in Lawrenceville. Though they aren’t totally gluten-free, they still have a bunch of options for those on a special diet. Gus’s has a nice outdoor patio and a full bar, so it’s a fitting atmosphere for all occasions with your gluten-free friends. Some of their menu highlights include their gluten-free gnocchi, gluten-free fried “Oreos,” and their intriguing street tacos.
Square Cafe, located in Regent Square, is one of the best brunch places in the city, but it also has a decent amount of gluten-free offerings. Aside from their gluten-free pancakes (which are delicious), their menu tends to boast tasty recipes that are naturally gluten-free, like a chorizo tostada, short-rib scramble, or their quinoa and lima bean skillet. With plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, everyone can find something to eat.
You can check out Franktuary in either Downtown or Lawrenceville for their gluten-free hot dogs. They have plenty of delicious concoctions, or you can opt to make your own from their available toppings. The Lawrenceville location comes equipped with a bar, too. For those on strict gluten-free diets for medical reasons, Franktuary’s hot dogs will make you feel like you’re having a normal meal.
Burgatory is rapidly expanding. With three locations in Robinson, Waterfront, and Waterworks (and one to come in Monroeville) it’s becoming a Pittsburgh powerhouse. It’s easy to see why–they have plenty of drinks and possibilities for one of the tastiest burgers you might ever have. They have a gluten-free bun and menu that lists all gluten-free sides and toppings with indicators for items subject to cross-contamination.
If you find yourself Downtown, check out City Oven for some fresh fire-roasted pizza on a gluten free crust. However, be warned that the crust is made in a common kitchen so it may not be safe for people that have celiac disease.
Arsenal Cider House
No gluten-free list would be complete without a mention of cider, and Pittsburgh is lucky enough to have a local cider company that finds itself on taps all around town. Arsenal Cider House is located in Lawrenceville on 39th Street. They keep up with the quirks of craft beers, but with cider and wine instead. They have cider brewing down to a science–you’re sure to find a variety that suits your taste buds!