Binghamton puts the freedom in gluten free

It's a tough diet, but our city has a surprisingly diverse array of options for your needs

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with an allergy or an intolerance, or you’re simply a conscious eater trying to keep up with the latest food trend, you’ve probably heard of the gluten-free diet. Gluten is a type of protein composite found in many substances and foods, most notably flour, wheat, barley and rye. Eliminating such omnipresent ingredients may seem like a daunting task, but don’t fret! There are several gluten-free options available in the Binghamton area, and Release found the five most scrumptious gluten-free gems just for you.

File Photo of Whole in the Wall

1. Crepe Heaven

217 Main St.

Offering crepes in a European-style, cozy environment, Crepe Heaven is a great place to go on a Sunday morning. To start off, try a bowl of peasant soup, made from ground beef and a variety of seasonal vegetables. As for crepes, if you’ve got a sweet tooth, go for a Nutella crepe with some fresh fruit and a scoop of ice cream. If you’re in the mood for something a bit more savory, then try the Philly cheesesteak crepe. Either way, you can’t go wrong. Just be sure to call about 30 minutes ahead in order for the staff to prepare the gluten-free batter, since it needs to sit for a while to thicken.

2. Burger Monday’s Bar & Grille

23 Henry St.

Gluten-free substitutes can taste really awful sometimes, but Burger Monday’s does it right with their gluten-free hamburger buns. Although all of their burgers are gluten-free, not everything else on their menu is, so if you’re unsure ask your server or a manager. To start off, go with some chips and dip, followed by the classic burger on a gluten-free roll. And yes, the fries are gluten-free! They also offer a few gluten-free beers, including Red Bridge, if you’re looking to unwind after a hard day of not studying for finals.

3. Whole in the Wall

43 South Washington St.

Whole in the Wall is the only restaurant in the Binghamton area certified by the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program, so you know these guys will definitely accommodate those on a restricted diet. They offer seven varieties of pesto, all of which are gluten-free. When looking at the menu, you’ll notice that all gluten-free items are marked with a “GF,” and any dishes that can be modified to be gluten-free are labeled “GFA,” making it simple to differentiate which dishes are safe to eat. Try the stir-fry with vegetables, made with gluten-free soy sauce, and add some chicken or shrimp if you’re feeling crazy.

4. Uno Chicago Grill

2503 Vestal Parkway East

For a corporate restaurant, Uno has a surprisingly extensive and tasty gluten-free menu. If you’re looking for something low-calorie, the baked stuffed spinoccoli is only 500 calories and consists of a chicken breast stuffed with feta, mozzarella, broccoli, spinach, tomato and garlic. The pizza crust is also pretty tasty, and although they don’t specify on the menu, most of their toppings are gluten-free.

5. Lost Dog Café

222 Water St.

Lost Dog has probably been mentioned in every restaurant list Release has ever done, and for good reason. Almost every dish at Lost Dog is delicious, and they offer plenty of gluten-free options. Much like Whole in the Wall, some dishes are inherently gluten-free, while others can be modified to be gluten-free. For an appetizer, go for the spinach and artichoke dip. If you’re feeling boring, try the rigatoni alla vodka with gluten-free pasta. If you’d like something a bit less cliché, try the Greek chicken, which is pan-seared with white wine, garlic, spinach, lemon and oregano, topped with feta cheese and served over brown rice. As for dessert, order the flourless chocolate torte or the fresh fruit cobbler, which changes daily and by season.

Being gluten-free can be really difficult at times, but if you search hard enough, there are options. A helpful app to download is Find Me Gluten Free, available for both iPhone and Android, which uses your location to find nearby gluten-free eateries. Also, be sure to confirm that when a restaurant claims it serves gluten-free food, it also prepares the food in a gluten-free kitchen. If you’re very sensitive to gluten, cross-contamination can be a real issue. Regardless, eating gluten-free at Binghamton is very possible and oftentimes delicious. Happy eating!