One of the best purchases I made shortly after my celiac diagnosis was The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide and Dining Cards from Triumph Dining. I remember that the person who first told me about the guide mentioned it was small enough to fit in a purse. After e-mailing the company and being told the restaurant guide was not really something most people would tote around in a purse, I ordered it straight away. I didn’t want to tote the book around in my purse, but wanted to make sure it was not tiny with text too small for me to read.
When my restaurant guide and dining cards arrived and I checked everything out, I felt like the products were worth their weight in gold. Keep in mind that back in early 2006, most people on the gluten-free diet were told that they needed to accept the fact that they could not eat out or travel anymore, period. Being told I can’t do something is the best motivation I can get – to do exactly what I’m told isn’t possible. For that reason, I’ve always said that I genuinely appreciate all the naysayers I encountered right after my gluten-free journey began.
In the 4th edition of the Triumph Dining Restaurant Guide, there were over 5000 restaurants listed which is impressive, but in the 5th edition there are over 6500 of them! Since I live in the Atlanta area, I went directly to the GA section (all 50 U.S. states are listed) and checked out the places listed in and around the city. There were many more listings for our area than in the last guide and about 20 of the places were new to me. Several of those restaurants are now on my list of places to try in the future.
Just like in previous guides, there is a symbol system that denotes different classifications for the places listed in the guide. Some places have gluten-free menus and others offer specialty gluten-free items like pasta, pizza and beer. There is even a 100% symbol which means there are no gluten foods served in the restaurant. As you can imagine, there are very few such places in the U.S. (or elsewhere for that matter). Next to the restaurant name, you’ll find various letters like BLD which means the place serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most listings include dollar signs which indicate the price point of the restaurant. The folks at Triumph Dining thought of everything with this guide!
In the back of the book there are 120 gluten-free menus posted (the previous guide had 80). When I checked out the menu section I was shocked to find out that Schlotzsky’s has a gluten-free menu. Don’t get too excited – it’s not like they have sandwiches listed – but I had no idea that their Broccoli Cheese soup was gluten-free! Another surprise in the menu section was the gluten-free offerings listed for Captain D’s Seafood which included catfish. It doesn’t list fried catfish and I would not ever eat catfish that wasn’t fried, but even so, I didn’t know anything at Captain D’s was gluten-free. My personal choice would be to skip a place like Captain D’s, but none the less, the company went to the trouble to figure out what their gluten-free menu options are and I can appreciate that.
There are many more surprises in the newest edition in the restaurant guide and I hope that everyone who wants to eat out and enjoy the things they did when they ate gluten will consider getting the Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide and Dining Cards to go with it. In the past, I’ve always kept a folder of various gluten-free menus to refer to in my car – in the event that I had to eat out unexpectedly. I’m happy to replace my beat up folder with the 5th edition of the Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide!
*Special thanks to Triumph Dining for the copy of the new restaurant guide!