Gluten-Free Dining Out… Austin, Get Ready to Have Some “Finn”

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I had the opportunity this week to get a sneak peak into The Domain’s new hot spot, Blackfinn Ameripub. With over 100 menu options, they have something for everyone.

    What does this have to do with Against the Grain?

    Navigating restaurant menus can be very intimidating and is something I spend a great deal of time with when working with clients. Most of the time I deal with selecting options that are supportive of fitness and wellness goals. Basically, “eat this and not that” and specifically, how to make substitutions without worrying about getting on the chef’s bad side. Believe me, this does happen all too often with over zealous chefs who tend to live by the ideal of “keep your lifestyle choice out of my restaurant”. Whether it be a lifestyle choice for those of us choosing grain free or paleo, or health related choices resulting from celiac disease or other inflammatory conditions, an attitude like that is the surest way to ensure Customers won’t be back or recommend the spot to others.

    Many restaurants are making an effort to cater to options like light fare and vegetarian, gluten-free is a whole different animal due to issues of cross-contamination and lack of consumer education on what lesser know ingredients may be in the other ingredients. Lesser known gluten containing items like soy, worcestershire and other sauces, bouillon, salad dressings, and even processed oils can make it downright scary to try and safely order in a restaurant. How many times have you been to a restaurant and asked a server what items are gluten free only to be met with those deer in headlight eyes and answered with “ummmm I need to go ask my chef/manager” because they haven’t been educated properly.

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    Blackfinn has taken it beyond just educating the team members. They have come up with a way to clearly label gluten free items on the menu and have gone one step further. They are labeling which items on the menu contain gluten, but can’t also be prepared gluten free by the kitchen. No more guess work wondering “If I just order it without that, maybe it’ll be ok.” They have also taken strides to prevent cross contamination issues in the kitchen. No worries about the cook accidental grabbing the bottle of soy sauce instead of the gluten free tamari. They only use gluten free tamari. This pro activity is the future of dining out as these lifestyle choices move away from being looked at as being “alternative”, and very admirable of the creative team at Blackfinn.

    Blackfinn Grand Opening Party
    Be sure not to miss all the “Finn” this Friday night. Print, fill out and bring in the image below for VIP access and entry into a drawing to win 2 VIP Badges for SXSW!!! Under invited by, write Michael Dunlap/Against the Grain Fitness to be sure your entry gets in. I’ll see ya there at the party!!!

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