The gluten-free guide to Boston

People walk past the Capo Restaurant & Supper Club in South Boston on Thursday, April 21, 2022.

Eating gluten-free has become a health trend in recent years, but for many suffering from Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance or other conditions, it is a medical necessity. Besides the inability to eat gluten itself, many have to be wary of cross contamination, which is a whole other problem in itself. 

To start off, following gluten-free accounts located in Boston will be a great help, such as @celiactivist on Instagram and @philhatesgluten on both Instagram and TikTok. Both accounts make great recommendations of local places to get great gluten-free food. Another great help is the app Find Me Gluten Free found on the App Store. This app lets the reviewers rate how “Celiac-Friendly” a restaurant is, along with noting dedicated gluten-free facilities.

Capo’s Restaurant and Supper Club in the South End, which has a 100 percent Celiac-Safe rating on Find Me Gluten Free, is a fan favorite for both Celiacs and non-Celiacs alike. They have a dedicated gluten-free night every Tuesday and most of the menu is available gluten-free every other day of the week (1). Many reviewers say their non-gluten-free friends couldn’t even tell the food is gluten-free, which is the highest of compliments.

Located in a small shop on Mass. Ave in Cambridge, Violette Bakers is yet another fan favorite. This bakery is completely gluten-free and features an assortment of baked goods including doughnuts, toaster pastries, cheesecakes and other delicacies. The day’s assortment of options can be found on their website or via their email subscription which also includes special deals and sales (2).

As many gluten-free people know, Asian food can be somewhat of a problem because so many dishes include soy sauce, which always contains wheat. However, eating at Grainmaker eliminates all of those problems. Grainmaker is a completely gluten-free Southeast Asian street food restaurant with two locations—one in Somerville and the other in Downtown Crossing (3). All of the items are dairy-free as well. The setup is similar to that of Chipotle, with an assembly line that the customer follows down to get their food. They also have dumplings, which are extremely difficult to find gluten-free!

A staple in many gluten-free lives is Chipotle. Every item on Chipotle’s menu is gluten-free except for their tortillas. Chipotle can be found in every Boston neighborhood as well as every state in the USA. Just tell the employee of the dietary restriction and they will easily accommodate to the request by wiping down every surface, washing their hands and providing fresh cheese, guacamole and sour cream from the back, preventing any sort of cross-contamination. 

Grocery shopping while gluten-free has also proven difficult with hidden gluten in ingredients such as modified food starch or natural flavors. When shopping for groceries, two go-to places are Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Whole Foods, while being more expensive, always has a variety of Certified Gluten-Free products, from frozen mac-and-cheese bites to ravioli to pies. Trader Joe’s, on the other hand, is much more budget-friendly and clearly labels all of the gluten-free items. However, be cautious because there is gluten in items one wouldn’t expect, such as the Coconut & Almond Vanilla Creamer.

Being gluten-free is difficult under any circumstances, but hopefully with these tips, navigating gluten-free life in Boston will be just that much easier.

  1. https://www.caposouthboston.com/ 
  2. https://violettegf.com/ 
  3. https://qrcgcustomers.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/account9107341/22705667_1.pdf?0.05869588854862173 

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