Being diagnosed with Celiac Disease immediately makes you a member of a unique gluten-free community that goes beyond being just a local support group. It is a community of over 3 million people across the United States. Not only does this diagnosis change your diet, but it also changes your entire social life. Traveling now requires packing just as much food as clothing and the prospect of eating out now becomes more like an interrogation about cross-contact prevention and ingredients than a vacation to be enjoyed.
That is why the local, independent restaurants on the best local gluten-free restaurants in Michigan list are such a blessing for those traveling to Michigan.
Best Gluten-Free Restaurants in Michigan
The first five restaurants on this list have 100% gluten-free environments—no wheat, rye or barley ever crosses the threshold. The following five have taken great lengths to prevent “cross-contact”, the interaction of gluten-containing ingredients with one’s meal because they understand that eating gluten-free isn’t just a dietary choice. It is a prescription for someone living with a very serious disease. Restaurants like these that gladly accommodate dietary needs are just one more reason why the Mitten is so awesome.
1937 W Maple Rd, Troy MI 48084
Renee’s Pizzeria is a little slice of heaven. This restaurant isn’t just a dedicated gluten-free kitchen, it’s also a dedicated peanut-free facility. It is a godsend for those with life-threatening allergies to peanuts as well as gluten. When Gabe Hertz’s daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and a nut allergy, he quickly realized that this establishment was more than just a lifesaver for her, but also for others in their community. He opened Renee’s in her owner and they’ve been busy ever since. They are so dedicated to providing a safe dining experience that they don’t even let outside food in, which is clearly noted on signs on every door.
Renee’s Pizzaria is receiving rave reviews not only from individuals with a gluten or nut intolerance but also from many other customers without allergies. Everyone is in love with this place, and it’s listed as the #3 restaurant out of 236 restaurants in Troy on Trip Advisor. They’re even rated higher than finer dining restaurants like Ocean Prime and J. Alexander’s.
The allergy-friendly setting is just one of the reasons people are willing to drive from out of state to Michigan just for this eatery. The food here is absolutely scrumptious! Their deep-dish and thin-crust pizzas, as well as calzones, will fill not just your stomach but your soul. Make sure to leave room for dessert though because their cinnamon dough sticks and elephant ears take you straight into euphoria.
51111 Washington St, New Baltimore MI 48087
To say that this restaurant is a labor of love is almost an understatement. Owner Kathy Cox has been eating organic since her teens but changed her cooking style further when they learned of her own daughter’s food intolerances. While going through their own learning process at home, it became apparent that her family wasn’t the only one needing help eating with these dietary restrictions. For years Cox would make baked goods out of her own kitchen for friends and neighbors. In 2013, she took a step of faith and opened her own restaurant, adding to the resurgence of New Baltimore’s charming downtown district.
The Mustard Seed Cafe is not only 100% gluten-free, but it is also completely organic. It even offers many vegetarian and vegan dishes. While there I sampled their Mediterranean sandwich, made on homemade bread, as well as their chili and a fresh cinnamon roll, straight out of the oven. Cox and her staff were so attentive and friendly, as they explained how much they truly feel the mission to love their neighbor, through healthy food and an encouraging environment.
1851 44th St SW, Wyoming MI 49519
“Feeding people real food has always been a good, noble task,” wrote Christian author Jen Hatmaker. A philosophy shared by Andrew Lamppa and inspired him to open Noble Restaurant. Previously known as 44th St. Diner, known for serving regular inexpensive fare, Lamppa felt a need to make a change to “align the way they eat personally with the food they serve professionally”. I had the pleasure of watching Lamppa in action one Saturday afternoon as he talked with guests not just about how they liked their dinner but honestly asking how they were doing. You can read more about my experience and others in my blog MI Gluten Free Gal.
While not a 100% dedicated gluten-free environment, Noble Restaurant does have a waffle maker, toaster, and deep fryer specified for making only gluten-free items. Their menu is free of artificial colors and flavors, added MSG, and high-fructose corn syrup. Their beef and chicken are free of antibiotics and their fish is caught fresh. All of it is absolutely DELICIOUS! My husband tried their Summer BBQ burger with fresh homemade coleslaw, french fried onions, and the most amazing sweet potato chips I’ve ever tasted. Their fried chicken left me almost speechless. I’m eager to go back to try their fried chicken and waffle sandwich!
12800 Old US 27, Dewitt MI 48820
When I was a small child, the Flap Jack Shack was the place to go. I have memories of pancake breakfasts with grandparents, high school hangouts, and warm cups of hot cocoa on cold Michigan evenings. This small chain of restaurants was part of what made greater Lansing so great. However, when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in my mid 20’s, I had to say goodbye to my favorite hangout because there weren’t many items on the menu that were safe for me to eat.
Fast forward 15 years. Thanks to Eleanor Wasson, owner of the Dewitt location, all of my childhood memories have come back to life. When Wasson’s grandchildren were diagnosed with Celiac Disease, she learned all there was to know about gluten-free food and preventing cross-contact with allergens. She dedicated a special grill for only gluten-free pancakes and made sure that the cooking surface for eggs and potatoes never saw a crumb of bread. I can’t begin to tell you the joy I felt, eating chocolate chip pancakes drizzled with syrup, knowing that someone had taken the care to prepare my meal safely. Even though we now live in Flint, my family and I go back to this establishment as often as possible!
**The Flap Jack Shack in Dewitt is the ONLY location that offers gluten-free items.**
501 W Main St, Brighton MI 48116
This small family-owned restaurant, located in Downtown Brighton, makes you feel like you are a member of their family. Owners Sal and Silvia Viviano have been serving Michigan residents for over 40 years, and have a loyal following because of their delicious food and excellent customer service. When Silvia learned that her grandchildren needed to follow a gluten-free diet, she wanted to offer the same allergy-safe dining options to the rest of her customers.
The lasagna and eggplant parmesan are delectable. My grandmother says that their chicken marsala is the best she’s ever tasted. The chicken apple salad is nothing to sneeze at either. Then there are the desserts. Buon Gusto is one of the only places I know of that serves authentic gluten-free tiramisu.
201 S Leroy St Fenton MI 48430
Fenton Fire Hall is a great, unique addition to Union Joints. This chain is known for taking a fixture in the community, such as an old church or car shop, and turning it into a memorable restaurant. Union Joints has done the same in Fenton, where they transformed a 1930s fire station into a place where friends and food can be enjoyed in abundance. The three-story staircase still has the fireman’s pole running through it and the walls are lined with portraits of local firefighters, young and old, that continue to serve this community today. Even the old pump house has been reimagined and turned into an ice cream stand. The preservation of this building reflects the same care the owners have for the citizens of this area.
While the restaurant is known mostly for its in-house made sausage links and slow-roasted meats, they also offer lots of great vegetarian options as well. On most of my visits, I opted for the shaved brussel sprout salad with goat cheese, walnuts, dates, and their house mustard dressing. They have an extensive beer list, as well as hard ciders and gluten-free beers. I’m a huge fan of their ice cream, which is made right in front of you with the use of liquid nitrogen.
I asked Fenton Fire Hall’s chef John Wentworth what encouraged the eatery to offer gluten-free items and what their steps were to provide a safe gluten-free eating experience. He explained that Union Joints’ executive chef Aaron Cozadd has lived with food allergies his whole life and understands the need for a safe dining experience. All staff is trained on food allergies, and throughout the training, they are tested with questions and menu orders. They take great care in preventing cross-contact by using freshly cleaned utensils, pots, and pans. The chefs never hesitate to talk to dinner guests, as they want to ensure accuracy and let guests know that your safety is their focus.
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 of 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 Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
While this pub offers many gluten-free options, it’s the vegetarian side of their menu that blew me away.
Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed my burger with french fries. 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!
If you want to take your meal up a notch, order the Truffle Sprouts: these Brussels Sprouts are deep-fried in truffle oil and topped with Parmesan!
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 below attests 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 its 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!
What restaurants would you like to see added to the list? Come across any gems using the FindMeGlutenFree app? The Awesome Mitten would love to hear about your experiences and your favorite independent gluten-free restaurants in Michigan!