Last year I wrote about some of the best Michigan gluten-free restaurants across the state, so naturally it is time for a 2016 edition! Finding a restaurant that truly understands the care that’s needed to prepare a safe, gluten-free meal is no small feat. The first two restaurants below prepare meals in a dedicated gluten-free kitchen, while the remainder take extra precautions to serve you a gluten-free friendly meal.
If you think that gluten-free means tasteless and boring, you’re in for a surprise. These restaurants have some amazing culinary skills! From duck burgers to stuffed French toast to amazing desserts, there’s something for everyone. Dietary restrictions or not, you’ll love every bite. And so, here are 10 more restaurants to add to your culinary travels across the Awesome Mitten!
401 Center Ave
Bay City, MI 48708
Opening a dedicated Michigan gluten-free restaurant is a big undertaking. It’s an even a taller task when you’re in a small town like Vassar, but owners Katy and Brian Derscha know that there is a need for healthy and celiac-safe dining options in towns both big and small. This cafe pairs gluten-free meals with house roasted coffee.
I recommend their delicious Michigan Chicken Cherry sandwich or, if you’re feeling indulgent, a S’mores panini. **Update – They have moved from their location in Vassar to the new City Market in downtown Bay City.
311 S Fifth Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
If you’re looking for a Michigan gluten-free, vegetarian restaurant in Ann Arbor, Earthen Jar is the place. Everything on their buffet is gluten-free, including the deep fried Alu Tikki potato dumplings. I savored every bite of my creamy Shahi Korma Sabzi, which is made broccoli and mushrooms. My husband was a fan of their spicy Mattar Paneer and its blend of spices, cheese and peas.
Owners Pushpinder and Gurcharan Sethi have amassed many loyal fans since they opened in 1997. They’ve been winning local awards ever since, and after dining there, I can definitely understand why.
27799 Woodward Ave
Berkley, MI 48072
I am officially a Union Joints
addict loyal fan. Every menu that executive chef Aaron Cozadd creates is beyond amazing, and Vinsetta Garage is a must. My favorite dish here is the Ann Kale Bowl, loaded with homemade tomato sauce, vegetables and the creamiest morsels of goat cheese.
My husband and I were left speechless when we shared their duck burger. Topped with house-made cherry compote and caramelized onions that have slow cooked for hours, it’s like nothing else you’ve ever tasted. Served on Michigan- made Rumi’s Passion hamburger buns, it’s a hometown hit. (Check out Rumi’s Passion and 20+ other gluten-free bakers on my interactive list!) Don’t forget to order a side of their gluten-free macaroni and cheese!
576 S Main St
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
If you’re making a stop in Frankenmuth, make sure to add Prost Wine Bar & Charcuterie to your itinerary. This Michigan gluten-free upscale eatery is well trained in understanding dietary needs. I highly suggest starting your meal with their amazing Kale & Artichoke Dip served with homemade gluten-free bread. (Non gluten-free breads are made off site, so no chance of cross-contact with regular flour!)
If you’re with a large group, the meat and cheese board is perfect for sharing with friends. Other options include one of their many paninis, which are prepared on a dedicated gluten-free panini press. You’ll want to top off your meal with their velvety and decadent flourless chocolate cake. Trust me, order it even if you’re stuffed!
57695 Van Dyke
Washington, MI 48094
Two words always catch my attention: Dedicated Fryer. Nothing makes me happier at a Michigan gluten-free eatery than to know I can safely have French Fries. Offer me waffle fries, and I’m totally sold.
Brown Iron Brewhouse makes the majority of their menu completely from scratch. From the coleslaw to the slow roasted brisket to the barbecue sauces, head chef Deni prepares everything with love and skill. Start your meal with their Brisket Burnt Ends, and you won’t regret it. There are two pages of gluten-free meals to choose from each night. Show up on Mondays for their $6 burger night, or on Thursdays for Ladies night and get 50% off a bottle of wine!
114 E Washignton St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
While this pub offers many gluten-free options, it’s the vegetarian side of their menu that blow me away. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed my burger with french fries. (And yes, they have a dedicated fryer too!) However, I was thoroughly impressed that they offered gluten-free marinated tofu and tempeh as well. They also serve a warm roasted beet salad that they top with goat cheese that sounds divine! **Update – They have since removed their gluten-free dedicated fryer.
If you want to take your meal up a notch, order the Truffle Sprouts: these Brussels Sprouts are deep fried in truffle oil and and topped with Parmesan!
2100 Metro Parkway
Sterling Heights, MI 48310
Sterling Heights has the first Michigan gluten-free location for the NKD Pizza franchise. It’s the first pizza joint I’ve ever visited that has their own dedicated pans, utensils, prep station and toppings for their gluten-free pizzas. The staff even permitted me to check out the kitchen for myself! Pictured above is their beautiful Morning Star pie, which has delectable artichoke hearts on it. I also enjoyed their Kennett pizza which has roasted mushrooms, garlic infused olive oil, and two types of cheese.
Not into pizza? They have gluten-free baked chicken fingers paired with amazing house-made dipping sauces. Oh, and save room for gluten-free cookies too!
1519 Military St
Port Huron, MI 48060
Atrium Cafe has to be one of the most quaint dining establishments I’ve ever visited. The vintage theme and the kindness of owners Rock and Gayle Stevens will leave a lasting impression as well. Gayle also has Celiac Disease, and everyone is meticulous in how their gluten-free menu items are prepared. Don’t let that fool you into thinking they hold back — Gayle and her chef can make almost anything. I’ve had quesadillas, pasta, homemade soup and more, and all of it delicious.
The one thing everyone raves about is the dessert selection at Atrium Cafe. Fellow Awesome Mitten writer Joel Heckaman enjoyed them as well on his #MittenTrip to Port Huron. Gayle makes all of their amazing gluten-free desserts by hand, in a dedicated space to prevent cross-contact. The Atrium Cafe is definitely a place you’ll want to share a meal with friends, time and time again.
416 E. Ellsworth
Midland, MI 48640
The beauty of the spring rolls above attest to the attention to detail at Basil Thai Bistro. I discovered this Michigan gluten-free eatery on my #MittenTrip to Midland this past summer. This restaurant has an amazing list of dining options. Practically anything on their menu can be prepared with Tamari instead of soy sauce.
My favorite dish was the Drunken Noodles. The kitchen loaded the dish with a beautiful and bountiful assortment of vegetables, with a delicious sauce that had just a hint of sweetness. The waiter, Josh, had definitely made an excellent suggestion. This is a restaurant I will want to visit again and again!
1241 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48226
Trying to find a Michigan gluten-free restaurant that makes an excellent breakfast is a tall order sometimes. The Find Me Gluten Free app helped me find this gem of a restaurant. Hudson Cafe derives it name from the historic downtown store that once sat across from it. They serve many of the same standards the store did, including the famous Hudson Salad and pot pies.
My dining pleasure was their Very Berry French toast, stuffed with cream cheese & bananas and topped with berries and syrup. It was just as delicious as it sounds. Their gluten-free Cinnabon pancakes are out of this world as well! This awesome diner is only open until 3 pm, so make sure you get in early in the day!
Honorable Mention and Further Comments
I have one honorable mention: a new outdoor, seasonal dining establishment named Ma and Pa’s Gluten Free Cafe & Mini Golf opened in Free Soil (near Ludington) this past summer. I haven’t had a chance to eat there, so I can’t give an honest review quite yet. If you’ve already checked it out, please tell me about your experience in the comments below!
I also want to note that one of the restaurant’s on last year’s list, Moo Cluck Moo, is no longer offering gluten-free options. They have closed their Canton location completely and have a new food truck. Also worth mentioning is that Buon Gusto, which was on last year’s list, is under new management and is changing their menu. WOW Pizza in Okemos is also in the process of selling to a new owner, and gluten-free items may no longer be available.
So… that’s the roundup for this year! Be sure to keep on the lookout for amazing Michigan gluten-free finds across the Awesome Mitten. I’m ALWAYS looking for suggestions, so please share your favorite gluten-free restaurants in the comments!