Rue Cler: Traditional French Bistro

If you can’t hop the short flight from RDU to Paris anytime soon, you can still sample brilliant French flavors close to home at the “traditional French Bistro” called Rue Cler. Just in time for Bastille Day! 

Where: Rue Cler, 401 E. Chapel Hill St., Durham, NC

GF Menu: No.

What I ate: Soupe du Jour, Nicoise Salad, and L’Escalope de Saumon.

I did not order dessert, but the server said a GF Crème Brûlée and GF Chocolate Terrine were available.

How to order it: Ask your server about Gluten-Free options. On the day I visited, our server explained that many of the menu items are naturally GF.

When I inquired about the soupe du jour, she said that it was gluten-free that day. She added that the chef avoids using a roux in the soup specifically so that diners with gluten allergies can still enjoy it.

 What it looks like:

RueClerBisquewithwineA lovely shrimp bisque! Lightly sweet, with hints of tarragon and cumin, drizzled with aromatic coriander oil, and finished with a dollop of real cream. This warm soup was an ideal start to a terrific meal.

RueClerNicoiseCloseupI prefer a classic nicoise salad in the summer as it’s simultaneously light yet filling. Salty tuna and olives, tangy tomatoes, crisp sweet lettuces, green beans, red potatoes, and slices of hard-boiled egg are all topped with a house-made champagne vinaigrette.

RueClerSalmonLandscapeA perfectly pan-seared salmon steak dressed with a lemon aioli atop green beans and roasted red potatoes. This was a flavorful, textural treat.

Green Note: This quote from the About Us page of the Rue Cler website:

“Executive Chef Todd Whitney’s food is inspired by French tradition and seasonal, local products. The dinner menu features Chef Whitney’s take on classic Bistro food, while also offering an ever changing Prix Fixe option composed of local and seasonal products.”


The House at Gatewood: Like Home Away From Home

Hillsborough is defining its place on the culinary map – one great new restaurant at a time.

I heard excited chatter about this historic house that was being converted into a fresh dining establishment many months prior to its opening. It has become a place to enjoy handcrafted food and cocktails, and locally crafted brews on draft.

The House at Gatewood offers a taste of home as you wish you could cook it. Tucked inside a 16-acre wooded property with a pond, it feels like you’re on vacation in a gracious home.

Where: The House at Gatewood, 300 US-70, Hillsborough, NC 27278

GF Menu: No. However, the menu states, “Ask your server about our gluten free choices.”

What I ate: Corn-Dusted Calamari; Cast Iron New York Strip with creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, and sweet crispy onions; and, Crème Brûlée.

How to order it: When I asked my server about the gluten free choices, he readily explained, “almost everything on the menu tonight is gluten free, except the Mac ‘n’ cheese.”

Then, the choice was mine between options like corn-crusted catfish, barbecue grilled chicken, dry-rubbed smoked brisket, or skillet steak. All of these options sounded delightful. I clearly need to come back.

Sadly, the cornbread brought to each table on the evening I visited, was not gluten-free. When in doubt, always ask. Advocate for yourself throughout any meal. Do not assume that the server either knows or remembers that you have a food allergy or intolerance. Help them help you.

 What it looks like:

GatewoodCalamariWhen was the last time you safely ate anything battered and fried? Fried seafood is usually a no-go for those suffering from gluten allergies. Here at The House at Gatewood, the calamari appetizer was dusted only with fine-ground cornmeal, and then prepared in a dedicated fryer. These calamari were sweet, tender, crisp, and accompanied by remoulade & chimichurri sauces, both of which were gluten-free.

GatewoodSkilletSteakMmmm…skillet steak. The steak was wonderfully scrumptious.

The side dishes competed for prominence, too. The bowl of creamed spinach was amazing (garlicky, umami, and al dente), the side of mashed potatoes were impossibly fluffy, and the crispy fried (gluten free!) tobacco onions contributed a gentle crunch to the meal.

GatewoodCremeBruleeA Bailey’s Crème Brûlée with real vanilla bean flecks made a sweet nightcap.

Green Note: The House at Gatewood uses glass mason jars for serving beverages, prints recyclable paper menus, and displays the daily specials on a roll of brown butcher’s paper rather than printing extra menu inserts.


Bar Taco: Upscale Gluten-Free Street Food

If you can’t get away to the beaches of Brazil, you can at least treat yourself to a mini-vacation by dining at Bar Taco.

Where: Bar Taco, 201 S. Estes Drive, Ste. E3, in University Mall. Currently, there is an additional NC location in Raleigh at North Hills. When traveling in the southeast, you can also find Bar Taco in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia.

GF Menu: No; however, the few items that contain gluten and/or are fried in a fryer with items containing gluten are marked with a symbol (^ for “contains gluten”) on the menu.

A line on the menu requests: “Please let us know if there are any allergies we should be aware of when preparing your meal.”

What I ate:  I have dined at Bar Taco on numerous occasions. You’ll see a sampling of tacos in the photos below, but I usually order the Lunch Special (pick three tacos + a side).

How to order it: At Bar Taco, your food is always made to order. After reviewing the menu, ask the server to answer any questions you have about ingredients. Each server I have met at Bar Taco has been knowledgeable regarding what is gluten-free, and what isn’t.

Note: Not all restaurant tacos are created alike; due to processing, many tortillas from the grocery store or restaurants contain small amounts of wheat to extend their shelf life. This is why it is especially remarkable to find Bar Taco, where the fresh 4-inch tortillas are made of corn, and indeed GF.

Not sure you want a tortilla taco? Not a problem. Bar Taco offers to swap the tortilla on any taco for a bibb lettuce shell for an extra $0.25. Or you can opt for something from their menu of “not tacos” (includes tamales and corn tortilla quesadillas), or any of the rice bowls.

Noteworthy: It is a rare treat for someone with a gluten intolerance to be able to order fried fish in a restaurant. Most restaurants dredge their fish in flour batter. At Bar Taco, however, the fish is prepared in a rice-based tempura batter, and is fried in a dedicated fryer that does not touch ingredients containing gluten.

Also worth mentioning is the falafel. Traditionally, falafel are made with ground chickpeas, herbs, and spices. While this might sound gluten-free to the novice, those with gluten sensitivities need to consider whether the spices used are GF, and also whether the falafel is fried in the same fryer with other items containing gluten. At Bar Taco, this guesswork has been removed. The falafel are reported to be gluten-free, and fried in a fryer dedicated to gluten-free items.

Additionally, the three hot sauces (jalapeno, roja, and pineapple habanero) on the table are all gluten-free.

Bar Taco features daily taco specials. As always, ask the server whether these ingredients are gluten-free before ordering off-menu.

Once you review the menu, fill out your paper order form. The server will then go over the order with you, and confirm details before delivering it to the kitchen.

What it looks like:

Taco Tray with Soup

Bar Tacos are made from your choice of either the 4-inch fresh corn tortillas or a bibb lettuce shell. Pictured above is the lunch special of three tacos made with corn tortillas and my selected side, a scrumptious chicken soup packed with fresh vegetables, topped with cilantro.

Yes, that is sunshine splashing across my tray. Bar Taco in Chapel Hill offers some lovely outdoor patio seating. But the food also glows, no matter where you sit.

The roasted duck taco, soft and exquisitely balanced with its tamarind glaze, pickled red onions, and fresh cilantro.

This assortment of five proteinaceous tacos really hit the spot. Roasted duck, baja fish, crispy rock shrimp, carne asada, and chicken chorizo.

Here is the lunch special on a different day. This time, I ordered the roasted cauliflower, the baja fish, and the falafel, with a side salad.

Green Note:  As you can see from the photos above, Bar Taco opts to use metal trays rather than plates. This not only contributes to the feeling that you are on a beachy vacation, but it also reduces overall waste. Metal does not break or chip the way ceramic plates do, and can be easily cleaned and reused.

Water is provided on your table in refillable glass bottles.

The cutlery is arranged in an as-you-need format in caddies on each table. Napkins are the same. Take what you need, and conserve the rest.

CAVA: Bowled Over

There is a buzz surrounding a new restaurant in Chapel Hill called CAVA that offers quick and affordable seasonal meals. The motto posted on their menu is “Food that fills you and fulfills you too” with their focus on “Greek and Mediterranean cooking in a casual modern setting”.

Where: CAVA, Village Plaza, 79 S Elliott Road Chapel Hill, NC 27514 (near Whole Foods), currently with 3 locations in North Carolina and 75 locations nationwide.

GF Menu: No; however, the back of the menu contains helpful Dietary Info with an extensive chart (also on their website here) showing which items are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian, Vegan, and/or Soy Free. They reassure visitors there are no peanuts, tree nuts, or any other kind of nut in their food. 

The menu states: “If you have a food allergy, please speak to the general manager or any restaurant team member.”

What I ate: Greens + Grains Bowl with Spicy Lamb Meatballs

How to order it: At CAVA, you customize your meal. You review the menu, walk up to the counter and order, then watch the servers build your meal. For those suffering with food allergies or concerned about food safety, this process is beautiful in its transparency. 

The menu gives you easy instructions on how to “Build It”.

1. Start with a base (greens, grains, salad)

2. Choose up to three dips & spreads (hummus, tzatziki, harissa, etc.)

3. Pick a protein (chicken, braised lamb, seasonal vegetables, etc.)

4. Choose as many toppings as you like (diced cucumbers, kalamata olives, crumbled feta, fresh mint, etc.)

5. Top it all off with dressings (Lemon Herb Tahini, Sriracha Greek Yoghurt, Green Harissa, etc.)

Their specials change seasonally. Currently, they are offering “cold-weather flavors”.

Ask your server to help you identify which options are gluten-free or can be modified.

 What it looks like:

CAVABowlCheck out this hearty bowl. I chose a Supergreens mix (organic and incredibly fresh) and Saffron Basmati Rice for my base. My dips and spreads included tzatziki, hummus, and crazy feta. The protein was the spicy lamb meatballs. Topping it all off were tomato, cucumber, pickled onions, kalamata olives, cauliflower quinoa tabbouleh, crumbled feta, and fresh mint. The rice and the meatballs were warm, while the greens were cool and crisp. I could enjoy this every day.

CAVACloserHere’s a closeup. The meal offered a traditional, yet modern, symphony of flavors. 

In case you are wondering what an exceptional meal like this costs, the bowl is currently listed at $8.75. With all of these high-quality ingredients, this is one of the best deals in town.

Green Note: CAVA is proud of its partnership with farms and communities. Click here to read more about their ongoing connections with local farms.

The day I visited, some of the ingredients had been sourced from three different North Carolina farms.


Visit this page to learn how they are partnering with the Garden School Foundation to promote food literacy.

CAVAWaterBottleThe sparkling water I purchased with my lunch came in a non-BPA aluminum bottle. The label explains how CAVA partners with Open Water to reduce the number of plastic bottles that end up in the ocean.

Did you know aluminum cans and bottles get recycled 67% of the time? That is more than twice as often as plastic, glass, and cartons. Also, it’s lightweight and infinitely recyclable.

The Village Diner: Home-Cookin’ in Hillsborough

There are so many things I love about Hillsborough, NC – the eclectic small-town vibe, the impressive creative community, the riverwalk along the Eno River, and, of course, the food.

Where do I go for gluten-free Southern-style comfort food in my hometown? Where would I take out-of-town guests for a meal with a distinctly regional vibe? The Village Diner.

Where: The Village Diner, 600 W. King St, Hillsborough, North Carolina 27278

GF Menu: No.

What I ate: On separate visits, I have enjoyed the braised beef, a pork chop on pureed sweet potatoes, and a bun-less bacon and pimento cheese burger with home fries (which was the daily special, and I was so enamored of it, I forgot to photograph it).

I would have loved to have ordered a homemade dessert here. I have a hunch they would do it exceedingly well, but unfortunately for me, the restaurant has not offered any GF dessert options.

No worries, though. You can travel a few blocks to visit Matthew’s Chocolates or Whit’s Frozen Custard for an after-dinner GF treat.

How to order it: The specials on the chalkboard change daily, and the paper menu is likely to change seasonally. Ask your server to help you identify which options are gluten-free or can be modified.

What it looks like:

BeefbrisketmashedpotatoesBraised beef in veal sauce with carrots, celery, and chives on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes. The meat was so tender, I was able to enjoy this entire dish with a spoon.

PorkchopsweetpotatoesPan-seared to perfection, this thick bone-in pork chop had a glaze that was both sweet and salty. It was savory enough to compliment the impossibly fluffy sweet potatoes heaped underneath. The server gave me a good steak knife for the sake of decorum, but I still picked this chop up and chewed it right off the bone. I couldn’t help it. The texture and flavor brought out the barbarian in me.

CollardsandchowchowAmong the options for side dishes was collard greens with chow-chow. Never having tasted these ingredients together before, I naturally wanted to try it. The result was delicious! Lots of folks add vinegar to their collards, so this combination tasted familiar, but with a refreshing twist. Now, I make sure to order this every time I visit.

Green Note: When you walk in The Village Diner, you may notice the pared-down, bare-bones interior. Their focus is on the food. It’s comfortable, favoring simplicity. The light fixtures are made from recycled glass mason jars. The tables look as if they were made of re-purposed wood.

The to-go box (pictured below) is made from compostable/recyclable material rather than styrofoam. Also, there are no napkin dispensers on the tables, reducing the amount of paper waste the restaurant and its customers may produce.

The Village Diner is connecting with local farmers to help source their ingredients. When I visited, the collards came from Cane Creek Farm in Saxapahaw, NC, and the eggs came from Latta’s Egg Ranch, located in Hillsborough, just a few miles from the restaurant.


Published in: on March 14, 2018 at 8:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tropical Picken Chicken – A Taste of the Tropics

Update: As of March 2018, this restaurant has come under new management. I sincerely hope the menu options and quality will not change as a result, but I should offer the disclaimer that what is posted here may not reflect what is available in the restaurant.

Where: Tropical Picken Chicken – Wake Forest, North Carolina – 2010 S. Main Street, Wake Forest NC, 27587 with a second location at Creekside Crossing & Shops in Raleigh at 404 E. Six Forks Rd, Raleigh, NC 27609.

GF Menu: No. However, some items on the menu (like the arepas) are marked “Gluten Free”.

What I ate: During the more than a dozen visits I’ve made to this restaurant, I have enjoyed the chicken and the pork plates, as well as the arepas.

How to order it: Select your items from either the menu or the chalkboard daily specials and double-check with the server that the items you are ordering are all gluten-free.

What it looks like:


This is an arepa – a pocket sandwich style that is prominent in Columbian and Venezuelan cuisine. It is important to note that around the globe not all arepas are created alike. Many are made with corn flour (as is the case with these), but some may contain other types of flour as well. This is why we are particularly grateful to the folks at Tropical Picken Chicken for letting us know on their menu that their corn maize arepas are “gluten free”.


While they are famous for their marinated grilled chicken, I’m personally hooked on the pernil (roasted marinated pork leg or shoulder).  Marinated in TPC’s special tropical spices and slow-roasted, this pork melts in your mouth, and gives your favorite North Carolina pulled pork bbq a run for its money. Gasp! Was that blasphemy I just committed? If you cherish pulled pork, try this other South(ern) American bbq, too. You won’t be disappointed.

This plate comes with your choice of two sides. Shown here are piping hot yucca fries and plantains.


I saved my favorite dish for last. This is the San Juan platter. It comes with pernil, sweet plantains, and avocado. It is a hearty dish with a brilliant combination of complex flavors, from the caramelized sweet plantains to the tang of the freshly pickled onions garnishing the pork. I chose red beans and rice for my sides. Guilty confession: I have ordered this same dish two days in a row.

Green Note: “Use real cutlery”. This is one of the recommendations of the Plastic Pollution Coalition’s guide for restaurant owners to help reduce the amount of plastic in our waterways and landfills.

At the Wake Forest location of Tropical Picken Chicken, the restaurant places silverware on the table in an open container, so you can take just what pieces you need when dining in, reducing the overall amount of cutlery being washed or thrown away.

Al’s Burger Shack: The Best Burger I’ve Ever Eaten

Hello, Dear Readers! It’s been a long time, but we have reasons to reconnect and to celebrate. Having twins might have taken me out of the restaurant-visiting circuit for a bit, but this busy gluten-free mama is back in blogging action and ready to eat out.

As of November 3rd, 2017, this blog has received over 100,000 hits! I am honored and continually inspired to bring you delicious GF restaurant options in an easy-to-read format.

I am thrilled to finally present to you what I believe is the best burger I have ever eaten. Vegetarians, don’t think this post is not for you; read on for information on an incredible veggie burger option.

I’ve traveled the globe, but I recognize that the very best burger is right here at home – at Al’s Burger Shack in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

I’m not the only person who feels this way. In July 2018, TripAdvisor declared Al’s Burger Shack serves up “the best burger in America”. Read more glowing reviews on Al’s website’s “About” page. Al’s burgers were named one of the Best Burgers in the South in Garden & Gun magazine. According to, “Al’s has received “best burger and best fries” accolades in Indy Week and Chapel Hill Magazine and a #1 burger listing on Yelp.” Chapel Hill Magazine calls Al’s Burger Shack “an obsession”. I completely agree.

Where: Al’s Burger Shack, 516 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516 and a second location at 708 Market Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516 in Southern Village.

GF Menu: No. However, Kevin, at the Franklin St. location, explained that everything at Al’s is made-to-order.

Al’s carries delicious GF hamburger buns from Mountain Farm,  which are toasted on the grill prior to serving.

Additionally, the sweet potato and the crispy crinkle cut fries are prepared in their own vats, and are not fried with anything else containing gluten, reducing the risk of cross-contamination.

What I ate: On different visits, I have tried the Paco, the Sean, and the Aubrey burgers with GF buns + Fries.

How to order it: Select your burger from either the posted menu or the chalkboard daily special, place your order at the counter, and ask the server for the Gluten-free bun. As always, if you are ordering a burger that contains a sauce, be sure to check whether the sauce is gluten-free.

What it looks like:

Paco Burger

The Paco Burger is my perennial favorite. Guacamole, tomato slices, fresh jalapeño, jabanero jack cheese on a buttery, toasted GF bun. I ordered this one without the jalapenos. The cheese and guac still give it a nice kick.

The Aubrey BurgerThe Aubrey burger is from the Daily Special menu. Bacon, pimento cheese, avocado, roasted garlic aioli, lettuce, and red onion on a GF bun. Open wide!

SeanBurgerBestSean’s Bacon Cheeseburger is my Dad’s favorite. Bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and cheddar cheese on a terrific GF bun.

We often order the “half & half” Crispy Crinkle Cut and Sweet Potato Fries, because sometimes you can have it all. The Crinkle Cut fries come with sea salt and rosemary and the Sweet Potato fries come with sea salt and brown sugar, but as these are made to order, you can request them with or without seasoning.

Green Note: Owner Al Bowers is clever (UNC alum, ’88), and so his restaurant is thoughtfully designed, from the physical construction of the original building to the philosophy behind the food. From the “About” page on Al’s website:

Our mission is to provide local, fresh, sustainable food and drink with a hefty dose of southern hospitality. Our all-natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free beef is from North Carolina pasture-raised cattle. We serve craft beers brewed in North Carolina and produce from as many local farmers as possible. We make all of our specialty toppings and dressings in the Shack.

The Shack itself was built on the same local and sustainable principles. Almost 100% of the interior was recycled from the existing space, our picnic tables and bar tops are made from reclaimed wood and some of the bricks for the patio steps are over 200 years old.

Additionally, the cheese is from the nearby hormone-and-antibiotic free Holstein cows at Maple View Dairy, a short 15-minute drive from Al’s Burger Shack. Their milk shakes are also made with Maple View ice cream.

Okay, Vegetarian Friends, this is for you. Al’s Burger Shack offers the Kaarin, a vegetarian burger, which is a sweet potato, black bean & oat burger with guacamole, lettuce, tomato, and sliced red onion. A carnivorous friend of mine visits Al’s weekly and says that the Kaarin (vegetarian) is his favorite burger.

On my first visit to Al’s Burger Shack in the new Southern Village location, I heard a woman say to her friend, “I wish I had a second stomach so I could eat another one. They’re so tasty.”

I’ll see you there!
Al's Burger Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posana Restaurant: Hyperlocal. Sustainable. Dedicated Gluten-Free Kitchen.

Where: Posana Restaurant. 1 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801

GF Menu: YES! No “GF” markings are necessary; the entire food menu is Gluten-Free.

From the bar, they also offer several bottled “Gluten-Reduced Beer” options. (For a good explanation on the distinction between labeling beers Gluten-Free vs. Gluten-Reduced, visit this page from Craft Brewing Business.)

What I ate: We enjoyed appetizers of fried green tomatoes and mussels, and shared entrees of seared scallops and NC trout.

How to order it: Posana Restaurant makes ordering GF dishes a breeze. The menu asks you to inform your server of any food allergies so they can clarify if and when the menu does not list all of the ingredients in a menu item.

Posana has gone the extra mile to dedicate their kitchen “Gluten-Free”. (If you don’t know, getting this kind of certification is an extremely rigorous process and requires a high level of commitment from the owners and staff.) From the “Gluten-Free” page on their website:

At Posana, we work very hard to provide our guests who must avoid gluten with the same exceptional dining experience as all our other guests.  We want you to be able to eat the exact same dishes as those around you, and at Posana, you can.  Awarded the Gluten-Free Food Service Accreditation – Posana Restaurant earned an Excellent rating for our commitment to Best Practices in safe gluten-free food service through the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America’s (GIG) accreditation program.  Posana features a dedicated gluten free kitchen.

What it looks like:

FriedGreenTomatoes Fried green tomatoes were battered and crispy-fried, and then topped with pimento cheese, smoked tomatoes, and thin slices of pickled okra for garnish. These refreshingly crisp tomatoes were a perfect salty treat to warm up the taste buds before a meal. I enjoyed the surprising tang of the pickled okra on top, which echoed the fresh green tomato underneath.

MusselsPEI mussels served in lemongrass curry with charred scallions and kimchi. This was a gorgeous combination of flavors. I was tempted to treat the curry like a soup and slurp it all up with a spoon. However, this is a nice restaurant and I needed to maintain some decorum…

ScallopsSea scallops were seared and set atop grilled asparagus, charred eggplant puree, smoked salsify and tomato jam.

NCTroutBBQ spiced trout from Sunburst Farms was gently placed atop cheese grits from Crooked Creek Mills. Shaved fennel and jalapeno-tomato butter rounded out the flavors and completed the dish.

Green Note: Prior to visiting Posana, I was not familiar with the term “hyperlocal“, but this is what they are: the co-owners of the restaurant have created urban gardens in order to grow additional ingredients they need nearby.

Here is their philosophy from the About Us page on their website:

We are fortunate to have strong relationships with local growers and producers that enable us to offer the freshest ingredients available in every season. In addition, we went hyper-local in 2015 by introducing to our own urban gardens in West Asheville to supplement some of what we are serving.  Moreover, we continue our support of the Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project (ASAP) and the wider WNC growing and food producing industry to emphasize the importance of operating in an ecologically-conscious manner.

Posana also makes a point of featuring their Local Partners on their menu and on their website, increasing visibility for these farms and local suppliers of fine ingredients.
Posana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar: Awesome Burgers with GF Burger Buns

It’s almost the Fourth of July, and the tantalizing aroma of outdoor grilling is in the air. This is an appropriate time to feature Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, where you can go for a taste of summer all year round. As an added bonus in this particular post, Bad Daddy’s has shared their GF Homemade Mustard Recipe (see below) in case you’d like to add a little of their flavor to your own backyard grill.

Where: Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar. The first Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar opened in Charlotte, NC in 2007, and now there are multiple locations throughout NC, SC, TN and CO. I visited the Birkdale Village (Huntersville, NC) location for breakfast, and the Raleigh location for lunch on separate days.

GF Menu: YES! It’s professionally printed, displayed in its own fancy folder, and very easy to read.

What I ate: For breakfast, I ordered the Average Joe. For lunch, I had a Basic Buffalo Burger with mozzarella & avocado, GF chips, and a GF bun.

How to order it: Bad Daddy’s makes ordering Gluten-Free easy. Just ask for the GF menu, make your selection, and tell the server what you would like. (As a general rule, it always helps to remind servers that you are ordering from the gluten-free menu.) When ordering a burger, you can opt to have it on a GF bun (for $1.50 extra) or in a lettuce wrap.

Currently, they offer two GF beers – Omission Pale Ale and Omission Lager. According to the Omission website, these “handcrafted beers are made from barley, hops,
water and yeast, brewed using a proprietary process to remove gluten.”

Here is Bad Daddy’s allergen-related legal disclaimer from their menu:

This menu and the information on it are provided as a service to our customers. Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar goes to tremendous strides to identify all forms of gluten and gluten derivatives in the foods we purchase or prepare in house. However, we cannot be responsible for individual reactions to any food products or guarantee that the food we serve is free from any allergen. Our wait staff and cooks are not professional trained on the intricacies of Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance and cannot be expected to provide recommendations or other advice on this issue, but have taken necessary precautions to provide you with a gluten-free meal and will attempt to accommodate your individual requests. This menu, in no way should be considered medical advice. Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar disclaims all responsibility related to the use of this information. If you have any questions regarding particular foods that cause allergic reactions, these should be discussed with your physician.

What it looks like:


The Average Joe is in no way “average”. This hearty breakfast platter comes with three eggs (prepared to your preference); your choice of bacon, sausage, or ham; breakfast potatoes or fresh fruit; and a gluten-free bun. Their lightly grilled GF hamburger bun at breakfast was so surprisingly delicious, I asked the server what brand they are using. She checked with the kitchen and shared that they serve Farm Mountain Gluten-Free Buns (from the company European Bakers). I enjoyed slathering this with butter and jam.


Get a load of this Basic Burger – also a misnomer. It was anything but basic! I opted for the 6oz. buffalo burger patty, fresh mozzarella cheese, avocado slices, and Cape Cod Original potato chips (according to their website, these are allergen-free!) with sides of Bad Daddy’s house-made mustard (see recipe below) and pickles.


This was an incredible burger-eating experience from start to finish. The textures and tastes of these ingredients all melded together so nicely. This could easily become my favorite, but there are still so many more variations of burgers and GF premium toppings to try at Bad Daddy’s.

Special July 4th Edition Recipe – Bad Daddy’s Homemade Mustard, courtesy of Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar:

Makes 3.5 quarts (can be halved, and will store in refrigerator for many months)

4 cups yellow mustard seed

1 quart white wine vinegar

1 quart Paul Masson Chablis

13 Tbsp maple syrup

13 tsp turmeric spice

6 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Mix all the ingredients together except for the mustard seed.  Once it is mixed, add the mustard seeds.  Mix that together well and then refrigerate overnight.  The next day, purée the mix in a blender until smooth.

Green Note: From their “Local Partners” page on their corporate website:

At Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, we are committed to sourcing local and fresh ingredients whenever possible, and supporting nearby businesses with interests in the local culinary marketplace, like our extensive selection of craft beers and regional spirits.

So whether it’s an award-winning craft beer we have on tap or ingredients for our burgers and salads that we grab fresh from local farms, there’s always a part of the Bad Daddy’s experience that’s local and real for the communities we do business in.

Click to add a blog post for Bad Daddy's Burger Bar on Zomato

Published in: on July 2, 2015 at 1:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Primal Food & Spirits: 100% Gluten-Free Kitchen

Update: As of mid-April 2019, Primal has permanently closed its doors. To read more about this news, visit this post at Durham’s Gluten Avoidance Society.  

Where: Primal Food & Spirits,  202 West Highway 54, Suite 107, Durham, NC 27713. Primal is located in the Southpoint Crossing Shopping Center, on the corner of Highway 54 and Fayetteville Road, in Durham.

GF Menu: Yes! The entire menu is Gluten-Free, with the exception of a handful of drinks served only at the bar in designated glasses. On the evening I visited the restaurant, there were four GF beers on the menu, as well as local hard ciders.

What I ate: Wood-fired shrimp as a starter, grilled salmon and a side of curried cauliflower as the entree, and lemon pound cake and chocolate flourless torte for dessert.

How to order it: Select any food on the menu and order with confidence. The server explained that everything that goes into and comes out of the kitchen is 100% gluten-free.

Just think of it. Dishes and glassware are all dedicated gluten-free (with the exception of the aforementioned small set of glasses held only at the bar for the purpose of serving non-gluten-free beers).

Chef Tim Lyons, also chef/owner of the award-winning Blu Seafood & Bar in Durham, writes on the Kitchen page of the Primal website:

At Primal we take gluten sensitivities seriously, and representing the needs of the gluten-free community is very important to us. Simply put, it is part of our identity, and it is exactly what makes us different from everyone else. Our kitchen is 100% gluten-free, meaning there is no possibility of cross-contamination.

What it looks like:

primalshrimpThe wood-fired shrimp were seasoned with a maple bourbon bbq sauce, hot out of the wood-burning oven, and bursting with sweet and smoky flavors. The spicy cole slaw comprised of crisp cabbage, red onions, and green peppers complemented the sweet shrimp.

primalcauliflowerThe curried cauliflower was served in an oven-proof pottery bowl, which kept it warm as we ate.

primalsalmonTrust me when I tell you that this grilled salmon was gorgeous. If you’re wondering what was so generously heaped on top of the hot-off-the-wood-grill-salmon, it was lump crab meat! It was a scrumptious, decadent addition to the savory salmon and the fresh greens drizzled with an apple shallot relish.

primalalmondcake2We ordered two desserts to share.  An unusually moist lemony pound cake with its browned burnt-sugary edge rested on mascarpone and was topped with a rum-date compote, almonds, vanilla syrup, and a fresh mint leaf.

primalchoctorteThe second dessert was the chocolate flourless torte. Rich and smooth, each dark chocolatey bite contained the surprise flavor of caramel rising to the surface from the caramel crème anglaise underneath. It was garnished with a fresh strawberry, red grapes, whipped cream, and a mint leaf.

 Green Note: Chef Tim Lyons works with local farmers as much as possible, and promotes them on the Primal website. He explains his reasoning here:

Primal is about getting back to the basics and eating as our ancestors did, offering unprocessed, home grown foods, served unpretentiously. You can literally taste the delicious difference when you bite into a piece of pasture-raised meat that was cooked over a wood fire. It gives the meat that light, smoky natural flavor simply not found with alternative cooking methods. At Primal, we work tirelessly to ensure that everything coming out of our kitchen showcases the fresh ingredients we are using from our local farmer partners. Farm-to-Fire-to-Fork. That is our way. That is Primal.

Some of the Local Farmers listed on the website include:

    • Seven Springs Farms – NC

Primal Food & Spirits Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato