There’s a gluten-free craze that, according to the area restaurant owners, happened within the past five years. Although the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness says about one in every 133 Americans has celiac disease, the most extreme form of gluten-intolerance, there’s gluten-free food popping up everywhere — even Busch Gardens offers gluten-free dining.
And, in June, Dunkin’ Donuts announced that, by the end of the year, it will jump aboard the trend that cuts down or eliminates wheat, barley, rye and triticale from people’s diets. It’s typically a doctor-prescribed diet, but with benefits such as weight loss and decreased indigestion and bloat — it’s become popular among non-celiac sufferers, too. Actresses Jessica Alba and Gwyneth Paltrow, tennis star Novak Djokovic and even weatherman Al Roker are endorsing the gluten-free lifestyle. For Sarasotans seeking out gluten-free goodies, there are local establishments that are friendly to the special diet.
4410 S. Tamiami Trail, 922-1585 (953-3663 for delivery)
Open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Demetrios’ Pizza is a family business in operation since 1976; a new location at Lockwood Ridge Road and University Parkway will open in October. Through the years, the restaurant owners began receiving requests for gluten-free food, and patrons used to bring in their own pizza shells and pasta.
The restaurant received so many requests that owners opted to add gluten-free pasta and pizza to the menu. Now, people come specifically for their gluten-free additions. They offer a penne and spaghetti noodle and a thin pizza shell with all the usual toppings. With their gluten-free pizza, it’s like you’re eating the real deal without all the guilt.
1289 N. Palm Ave., 552-9688
Open 7 a.m. to close
There are nearly 15 menu items on Louies Modern’s menu that are free of gluten, and that’s in addition to a gluten-free portion of the menu. According to owners Steve Seidensticker and son Joe Seidensticker, the request for gluten free has become more prominent in the past five years, and diners expect flavorful, creative dishes.
For those missing breading and crusts, this tuna dish has a rice-cracker crust, which tastes too breaded to be gluten free (even though it is). It comes with a citrus vinaigrette and pickles that make it a bright and vibrant summer dish.
Salad dressings are typically packed with gluten, but the Seidenstickers try not to use gluten in their Louies Modern dressings. One of the most popular salads — the kale Caesar is another great choice for those eating gluten free, but be sure to order it sans croutons. And check out the Seidenstickers’ other restaurant, Libby’s Café + Bar, for additional gluten-free choices.
8405 Tuttle Ave., 359-9303
Open for lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Open for dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Mi Pubelo has plenty of gluten-free options with the offering of naturally gluten-free corn tortillas. One of the most popular dishes are the crispy tacos — your standard fried corn tortilla chock-full of beef or chicken, lettuce, fresh diced tomatoes and cheese.
But Mi Pubelo also offers its own vegan and organic menu, and on it is the Taco de Paz. The dish consists of two tacos filled with paprika-spiced ground Brazil nuts with guacamole, lettuce, fresh pico de gallo and a decadent-tasting sunflower sour cream. There are two gluten-free versions of this dish: with two crispy corn tortillas or with perfectly tender lime-marinated kale leaves.
The restaurant also offers about 50 varieties of Tequila and has created a whole new Margarita menu within the past three months. The most popular drink on that new menu is the El Mayor Margarita — and it’s gluten free.
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