St. Louis’ Favorite Restaurants for Gluten-Free Fare
St. Louis, MO/February 25, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) — What’s all the fuss about gluten? For those of us who aren’t sensitive to these proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and their derivatives, gluten can be a good thing. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that binds ingredients together. It’s what makes kneaded breads and hand-tossed pizza crust chewy. But for those with celiac disease and those with allergies to these proteins, gluten in food makes eating unpleasant and for some, downright dangerous. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness reports that about one percent of the U.S. population, or 3 million Americans, have celiac disease and another 18 million may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). That’s a lot of people looking for new options when they eat out.
It’s with them in mind that we put together this list of the 10 best restaurants in the St. Louis area for gluten-free dining options. We’re pleased to report that there are a lot of options available for diners looking to avoid gluten. Some restaurants are offering a few specialty items like gluten-free bread or rolls for their sandwiches, and even gluten-free pastas and pizza crusts. At some places you’ll need to ask about the gluten-free options. Other restaurants list the options on the menu. And a few actually specialize in offering gluten-free foods.
We checked customer reviews to find St. Louis’ best-loved gluten-free dining options. This list of local favorites includes everything from sandwich shops to bakeries, and even a pizzeria! We wanted to be sure the restaurants on this list had something substantial to offer diners looking for gluten-free options, so we limited the list to restaurants with at least 50 reviews. That way, we could be sure diners could count on finding gluten-free options at these establishments any time they ate there. Since gluten is found in the grains we bake with most, it’s not too surprising that an establishment offering tantalizingly delicious, gluten-free baked goods is the favorite!
Topping our list is Whisk: a Sustainable Bakeshop at 2201 Cherokee Street in the Benton Park neighborhood. This is a bakery with a conscience. They offer a full range of baked goods—both with and without gluten. In the five years it’s been open, Whisk has become one of the best places in town to get a really great gluten-free cupcake. Seriously. Their gluten-free vanilla cupcake is everything a cupcake should be. Whisk began as Farm Fresh Cupcakes in 2011, when Kaylen Wissinger began making and selling her cupcakes at the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market. She went on to become resident baker at Local Harvest Cafe, before leasing (and rehabbing) a building in the heart of Cherokee’s Antiques Row, and opening Whisk (with husband Pete) in the spring of 2012.
At Whisk, Kaylen crafts artisan desserts to suit many tastes, including vegan and gluten-free options, and they use as many locally-grown ingredients as possible—even sourcing their gluten-free flour from Meister’s in Loda, Illinois. They also get their dairy, eggs, meats, coffee, teas, produce, nut butters, cleaning products, and business cards from local providers who share their views on sustainability and deliciousness. This is a bakery after all.
There are lots of options for gluten-free dining in St. Louis, as this list bears out. Most didn’t make the list. These are just the favorites according to customer reviews. Here is the complete top 10 list of St. Louis restaurants serving gluten-free fare:
1. Whisk: a Sustainable Bakeshop (4.67 stars/92 reviews) Benton Park, 2201 Cherokee Street, Saint Louis, MO 63118, (314) 932-5166.
2. Hendel’s Restaurant (4.62 stars/375 reviews) Old Town Florissant, 599 St. Denis Street, Florissant, MO 63031, (314) 837-2304.
3. Lulu’s Local Eatery (4.59 stars/237 reviews) Tower Grove South, 3201 South Grand, Saint Louis, MO 63118, (314) 300-8215.
4. Pizzeoli – Wood Fired Neapolitan Pizza (4.58 stars/161 reviews) Soulard, 1928 South 12th Street, Saint Louis, MO 63104, (314) 449-1111.
5. The Fountain On Locust (4.52 stars/1031 reviews) Midtown, 3037 Locust Street, Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 535-7800.
6. Cleveland-Heath (4.51 stars/600 reviews) Edwardsville, 106 North Main Street, Edwardsville, IL 62025, (618) 307-4830.
7. Piccione Pastry (4.51 stars/270 reviews) The Loop, 6197 Delmar Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63112, (314) 932-1355.
8. Caruso’s Deli (4.48 stars/128 reviews) Downtown, 1312 Washington Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 588-1096.
9. SweetArt (4.44 stars/284 reviews) Shaw, 2203 South 39th Street, Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 474-0604.
10. Mango Peruvian (4.34 stars/1111 reviews) Downtown, 1001 Washington Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63101, (314) 621-9993.
As usually happens, a couple of restaurants got impressively high marks for their gluten-free options, but didn’t make the list because they just hadn’t had enough reviews yet. One of them is dedicated to gluten-free cooking; the other is Tex-Mex, with a menu based largely on corn, rice, beans, and animal protein—all naturally gluten-free. Neither restaurant had enough reviews to make our top 10 list, but both are worth checking out, and so warrant Honorable Mentions:
New Day gluten-free Bakery (4.72 stars/33 reviews) Clayton, 7807 Clayton Road, Clayton, MO 63117, (314) 833-5180. This is a dedicated gluten and peanut free café and bakery offering an extensive variety of gluten-free food made from scratch daily.
Chaparritos Mexican Restaurant (4.76 stars/34 reviews) Gravois Park, 2812 Cherokee Street, Saint Louis, MO 63118, (314) 240-5990. Chef-owner Rafael Marcelino’s South City joint offers his own blend of authentic, scratch-made Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine with a large selection of gluten-free items.