Panini to Pizza: Gluten Free Meals in Metro Detroit

By: Toni Cunningham | October 27, 2014

Maintaining a gluten free diet, whether for health or other reasons, can be tough when it comes to dining out. Well, I should say that it was difficult up until recent years when restaurants began serving up gluten free specialties or gluten free menus entirely.

Whether you’re intolerant to gluten or just trying to nix gluten from your plate, there are plenty of restaurants in the Metro Detroit area that will make dining out a little easier.

The Panini Press, 28983 Woodward Ave., Berkley, makes great sandwiches made with local ingredients. I know from personal experience, because I just visited the establishment for the first time last week. Plenty of people with celiac disease will tell you that bread is the biggest problem they face when going out to eat, but the brown rice bread here is made at a local gluten free bakery.

Order any panini on the menu on gluten free bread and it will be prepared on a gluten free press and cutting board with special utensils. I would recommend The Plymouth Pages (roasted turkey breast, red onion, arugula, provolone cheese and balsamic pesto mayo). The San Francisco Daily (with roma tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and balsamic vinaigrette) and Kansas City Press (with roast beef, caramelized red onions, provolone cheese and smoky barbecue sauce) also sound great.

7 Greens Detroit Salad Co., 1222 Library St., Detroit, is new to the restaurant scene as of this year and is a great way to eat healthily while out. You might be thinking, “you dummy, salads are gluten free, are they not?” Well, not all dressings are—however, 7 Greens makes its own gluten free sauces for salads.

Try a classic salad, like the Detroit Greek (with beet Greek sauce), Wok It To Me (with creamy ginger sauce), Kale You Later (with citrus Tahini sauce) or Las Bear (with chipotle ranch sauce). 7 Greens has almost 20 different homemade and gluten free salad dressings, so if you choose to “fashion your own” salad, try the pomegranate sumac sauce, creamy maple, Sriracha drizzle or champagne vinaigrette.

PJ’s Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit, has several po’boy sandwiches on its menu, so you don’t have to go all the way to Louisiana to try one. Each can be prepared on gluten free bread from local Sugar Kisses Bakery.

Take your po’boy pick of Chicken Strip, Catfish, Shrimp and Karen’s Special Chicken Strip with Mac & Cheese. Each sandwich includes a bed of lettuce, your filling of choice and homemade remoulade sauce.

Speaking of Sugar Kisses Bakery, 2688 Coolidge Hwy., Berkley, you’ll want to give this place a visit for gluten free bread and treats.

Buddy’s Pizza, with several Metro Detroit locations, is a beloved establishment in the city of Detroit, and one shouldn’t shy away from a pie here simply because they don’t eat gluten. Try Detroit’s Original Gluten-Free Square Pizza at Buddy’s and you’ll never make cauliflower crust pizza at home again.

The Spinach Lovers (a mozzarella and parmesan blend with asiago and sautéed spinach, fresh garlic and tomato basil sauce) and Italian (a blend of mozzarella, parmesan and asiago with pepperoni, basil and tomato basil sauce) are great options, or you can build your own.

The Hill Seafood & Chop House, 123 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe Farms, is a wonderful fine dining establishment with plenty to choose from when it comes to gluten free dishes. Start off with the Poached Shrimp Cocktail or Tenderloin Tips, and follow up with a Vegan Filet (balsamic grilled portobello with the fixins’), Seared Salmon or Creekstone Farms Rib-Eye (16 ounces of USDA prime steak seared at 1500 degrees with sea salt and ground pepper, served with rutabaga and confit shallot).

Vinsetta Garage, 27799 Woodward Ave., Berkley, has an entirely gluten free menu, so it should be at the top of your list. Appetizers include Smoked Chicken Wings and Loaded Potato Chips. All burgers and sandwiches are served on either a bed of lettuce or gluten free bun and accompanied with homemade chips. Try the Vinsetta Burger (two four ounce patties with American cheese, McClure’s pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion and maple bacon) or Grilled Chicken Sandwich (smothered with mushrooms, house bacon and Pepper Jack cheese).

Main dishes include Wagyu Strip Steak (16 ounces of bone-in steak aged for 28 days), Roast Chicken and Chili Rubbed Flank Steak. If you’re feeling really healthy, build your own Kale Bowl by choosing a sauce (tomato basil, roasted vegetable ragout or rocket pesto) and adding whatever cheeses, meats and produce your heart desires.

Zingerman’s Roadhouse, 2501 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor, serves everything from breakfast to dinner. All fresh fish options on the lunch and dinner menu are gluten free, and even the fries can be prepared sans gluten. The menu’s Buttermilk-Fried Chicken, which is coated in black pepper-spiced buttermilk and deep-fried, is another gluten free option. The Barbecue Pork Entrée, which is slow roasted for 14 hours, and the majority of burgers and sandwiches can also be prepared gluten free.

Cacao Tree Café, 204 W. 4th St., Royal Oak, specializes in gourmet raw foods, as well as gluten free items. All sandwiches can be served on a brown rice gluten free lavash wrap, and everything is prepared without gluten. Try the Quinoa Salad Wrap or Burrito (with seasoned “meat” made of sunflower, cashew, mustard and herbs). Follow your meal up with a tasty specialty juice or smoothie and you’ll be all set.

Hopefully after reading this article, those of you with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity will now find dining out a little easier. Suggest one of the above restaurants to your group of friends the next time you’re going out!