Going Gluten-FreeAugust 13, 2014

Gluten-Free Dining In Airports

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Posted by Erica Dermer



On my recent trip to San Jose, I was surprised and delighted to see that one of the kiosks in the airport called out their gluten-free offerings. I often scroll through endless airport websites to search for safe places to eat while I travel. I’m often left disappointed and eating out of my own bag of goodies. However, there are several airports that have impressed me with their gluten-free offerings. Below are some that stand out to me (with some help from my readers).

Sky Harbor Airport (PHX)

When I say how happy I am to live in Phoenix, I often get head scratches and furrowed brows. While it may be hot enough to bake GF cookies in your car, the city is incredibly gluten-free friendly. Thankfully, this also includes our major airport, Sky Harbor. They even have an “alternative” dining list on their website. The airport underwent a makeover a few years ago and has been including many local boutique eateries that are gluten-free-friendly. Below are my three favorites:

-Chelsea’s Kitchen – I eat here on a regular basis outside of the airport. While they don’t have any gluten-free bread options, they do have amazing tacos with handmade corn tortillas and plenty of options that do not include gluten- plus servers that know what they are talking about.
-La Grande Orange – The same as Chelsea’s, this is an American eatery that also has knowledgeable servers and non-gluten-containing options. Their full-service restaurant offers gluten-free pizza options (however, no vegan cheese).
-Sauce – A local pizza joint, Sauce has several locations throughout the state. They proudly offer a gluten-free pizza option (no vegan cheese option) – although you should ask for separate utensils and ingredients.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Looking for something at SFO? Triumph Dining breaks down all the options available including the San Francisco Soup Company and some GF cupcakes.

Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport (DFW)

DFW’s Healthy Offering site includes “Healthy Options” and “Vegan” option menus for the shops in their airport. While “gluten free” isn’t specifically called out at every restaurant, several of the healthy options included gluten-free items like soup, or snacks. Several of their restaurants offer gluten-free items like Ling and Louie’s Buddha Feast, Red Mango frozen yogurt, and Uno Due Go pizza. While this doesn’t address cross-contact, it’s a start.

San Diego Airport (SNA)

I was so impressed with The Counter at SNA last time I was in town for the GFFAFest in San Diego. I approached the counter and told them about my food intolerances and they walked me through what I could and couldn’t have and easily made an allergen-friendly turkey burger with all the toppings on a bed of mixed greens. It sustained me through the flight and I left San Diego wishing we had The Counter in Arizona.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

While LAX has a few options available, I’m disappointed that such a prolific airport in the heart of a city that practically prides itself in eating different has so little options. I practically expected a gluten-free café to be there my first trip to LAX. Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza’s regular menu is labeled for vegan and gluten-free diners. While some menu items might not be available at all locations, it’s good to know ahead of time that the restaurant understands its ingredients. Real Food Daily is a plant-based restaurant that also labels for gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, and raw-food entrees and is recommended by readers.

Las Vegas McCarren Airport (LAS)

I was very happy that PeiWei was a full sit-down restaurant in the Las Vegas airport. I could get several gluten-free options available and had plenty of time to sit down and rest before my flight.

Seattle-Tacoma Airport/SeaTac (SEA)

The central terminal is the easiest place to grab a bite to eat and offers numerous options for diners. For gluten-free customers, on top of a Wendy’s slab of chicken on lettuce, a few standout places include:

-Anthony’s Restaurant is a sit-down joint; so only dine here if you have extra time. I’ve spent an hour here during a business trip where we had a ton of time, but ended up just getting a salad with fresh, local seafood.
-Dish D’Lish offers many items like individually wrapped chicken breasts, cheese, or salads – more of like wholesome snack items than full-fledged meals including a gluten-free bread or dessert offering.   

Salt Lake City Airport (SLC)

SLC compiled their special dietary food options in a menu here. French Meadow Bakery supplies gluten-free options as well as Kosher Parve, vegan, and yeast-free options. Boar’s Head Deli has gluten-free deli meat is gluten-free, so I always ask for a sandwich wrapped in lettuce (of course prepared on a fresh surface with new gloves and fresh ingredients if possible).

Sites like Gluten Free Airport and Gluten Free Globetrotter have compiled many lists of airports that provide some sort of gluten-free food (albeit many are snacks) – however airports are always changing, so I always suggest going directly to the airport’s website to find any new restaurants near your terminal or gate.

Since this post couldn’t possibly mention all the airports, I’m relying on the comment section to help others navigate airports across the country. Post any great airport gluten-free or allergen-friendly dining experiences below in the comments!


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