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Draper Journal

Draper restaurants offer gluten-free menu items

May 09, 2024 01:32PM ● By Katherine Weinstein

The Garage Grill offers up gluten-free salads as well as sandwiches and burgers on gluten-free bread and buns. (Katherine Weinstein/City Journals)

May is Celiac Awareness Month. Fad diets may come and go, but for those with celiac disease and gluten allergies, the gluten-free diet is an absolute necessity. As the number of people with celiac disease continues to climb, there is greater demand for gluten-free cuisine. Many restaurants, including several in Draper, make an effort to accommodate diners who need to

avoid gluten. 

Elcio Zanatta, CEO of the Aubergine Kitchen restaurants, stated, “We felt since the beginning that the community was concerned about gluten. Most of our menu is gluten-free. We try to give our best to
the community.”

Gluten is a protein that is found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. It is present in bread, breakfast cereals, pasta and baked goods made out of those grains. Many processed foods, sauces, dressings, soups and even certain candies may contain gluten. 

When people who have celiac disease consume gluten, their immune system attacks the lining of the small intestine. The resulting damage can lead to malabsorption of nutrients and many other health problems. Some patients suffer severe gastrointestinal symptoms after consuming gluten, while others may have no symptoms at all. Eating even the smallest amount of gluten can aggravate the problem. There is no cure for celiac disease aside from sticking to a strict gluten-free diet. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, celiac disease affects approximately two million Americans, with more new cases being diagnosed every year. As the number of people avoiding gluten continues to rise, some restaurants are making an effort to provide a safer dining experience. 

Amanda Wybrow, general manager of Toscano, explained that their menu includes gluten-free options due to customer demand. “There’s just a lot of people who have celiac disease,” she said. At the Garage Grill, general manager Ryan Coleman said, “We’ve had gluten-free options on the menu because of demand, people asking about it,” he said. 

A quick search on the website reveals that Draper has quite a few restaurants that have gluten-free menus or menu options.

Aubergine Kitchen stands out for the fact that nearly the entire menu is gluten-free. “We have three items that are not gluten-free,” Zanatta explained. “However, we try to make them in a way so that they are not touching other items.” 

One of the pitfalls of dining out for celiac disease patients is that gluten can stick to cooking surfaces and utensils, contaminating otherwise gluten-free foods. This is less of a problem at Aubergine Kitchen due to the restaurant’s focus on minimally-processed, fresh whole foods and raw foods. “We make food that’s good for our bodies and good for the community,” Zanatta said. 

Aubergine Kitchen has an extensive menu of gluten-free desserts, all made in-house. These include brownies, cookies, three kinds of pie as well as a choice of lemon or chocolate cake. “Our chia pudding,” he added, “it’s all gluten-free, people love it.” 

At Toscano, the kitchen staff is also careful to avoid cross-contamination. “Almost all of our pasta dishes can be made gluten-free,” Wybrow said. “We have gluten-free pasta in-house and use a separate pot.” She explained that all of the sauces, salads and salad dressings at Toscano are also gluten-free. The kitchen staff uses separate utensils.  

“Our chef is amazing,” she added. “We always have a tomato basil soup of the day that is gluten-free. In fact, most of the soups are gluten-free.” 

While The Garage Grill does not have a specific gluten-free menu, “we can usually find a good option for you that’s gluten-free,” Coleman said. “We have lots of salads and all of our sandwiches can be made on gluten-free bread. We make a lot of meat here, so there’s things like tacos that are

Zanatta, Wybrow and Coleman were all careful to say that because their restaurant kitchens prepare gluten-containing foods, they cannot guarantee that their gluten-free meals are always 100% gluten-free. In spite of taking precautions, there is always a chance of cross-contamination. Patrons with special diets must speak to their server when ordering and should decide for themselves whether to dine at a particular restaurant. 

Aubergine Kitchen is located at 499 E. 12300 South, Suite A. The address for Toscano is 11450 State Street and The Garage Grill is located in Hidden Valley Shopping Center at 1122 E. Draper Pkwy. λ