Being wheat intolerant, the thing that worried me the most when planning our Route 66 road trip was whether I’d be able to find anything to eat on the journey. Were there even any gluten free restaurants along Route 66?
Having a wheat intolerance in the UK is difficult enough, but abiding by a gluten free diet in the USA – the home of deep dish pizzas, burgers and grilled cheeses – now that just seemed impossible. Especially in the small towns between Chicago and LA.
But despite my pre-flight anxieties, I managed to travel The Mother Road without starving. In fact, eating gluten free on Route 66 wasn’t quite as hard as I’d imagined. Whereas processed food is often padded-out with wheat in Great Britain, the Americans use corn because it grows more readily in the USA. As a result, I found it was often easier to find non-gluten containing items in US supermarkets, or locate restaurants with gluten free menus. For example, their breakfast menus feature a lot of eggs, which are naturally gluten free (my husband has an egg allergy though, so he struggled more than I did when looking for Route 66 places to eat).
However, as you would expect, not every Route 66 restaurant that we found offered something compatible with my wheat sensitivity. I would have found our road trip a lot easier if I possessed a list of places I could eat gluten free on the Will Rogers Highway – just like the collection of Route 66 cafes and restaurants I’ve compiled especially for you below.
I’ve not eaten in all of these places, so I can’t vouch for the quality of every joint listed here; most are simply a result of internet searches. Some are directly on The Mother Road and some are elsewhere in the town or city listed; you’re on a road trip, so more driving is good, right? Not all of the restaurants have a specified gluten free menu. In some cases I’ve included places which contain food that should be naturally free of gluten.
But remember – I have a wheat intolerance, not a gluten intolerance or coeliac disease (I’m thankful for that every day). You’ll need to do your own research on these gluten friendly restaurants and decide for yourself if they are safe for your own dietary requirements (if you’re in doubt, ask your server before ordering).
Not every Route 66 town is listed here, but it’s a start. If you know any other restaurants that serve gluten free meals along Route 66, let me know in the comments and we can expand the list.
Do-Rite Donuts & Coffee (50 W. Randolph St)
Do-Rite’s delicious gluten free donuts, in THREE different flavours, are perfect for a take-away breakfast or a quick snack. Prices start from $2.95 (2018).
Wildberry Pancakes and Café (130 E. Randolph Street or 196 E. Pearson Street)
Gluten free honey berry pancakes or waffles, gluten free avocado toast, a whole host of egg-based dishes (including omelettes) and salads are on offer at both of Wildberry’s gluten free restaurants in Chicago. A great choice for breakfast or lunch, but expect long queues if you arrive at peak times.
Lou Mitchell’s (565 W. Jackson Blvd)
Lou Mitchell’s is a Route 66 legend, and not just because of its gluten free pancakes. Again, you’ll find lots of egg dishes here, along with a decent selection of salads.
Bernardi’s II (123 North Mill St)
Gluten free pasta (although only one dish) makes Bernardi’s II a suitable stop for dinner. Salads, grilled items, seafood and a selection of chicken and pork are also on the menu, but not specifically marked as gluten free, so check with the server before you order.
Monical’s Pizza Restaurant (311 S. Old Route 66)
Grab yourself some gluten free ravioli or pizza at Monical’s.
Mariah's Steakhouse & Pasta (3317 Robbins Rd)
Number one on TripAdvisor at the time of writing, Mariah's Steakhouse & Pasta has a decent selection of dishes that can be made gluten free upon request. Grilled chicken, pasta and seafood are on the dinner menu, although this would also be a good choice for a lunch that’s gluten free in Springfield.
Café Moxo (411 East Adams Street)
Gluten free MAC AND CHEESE! The restaurant’s website also says it has created a number of gluten free items for breakfast and lunch.
The Shack (731 South Lindbergh Boulevard)
There is an ENTIRE gluten free menu for breakfast and lunch at The Shack, earning it a reputation as one of the best gluten free restaurants in St Louis. Treat yourself to a skillet or yet more pancakes first thing, or you can even consume a sandwich with gluten free sides midday.
The Corner Pub & Grill (13645 Big Bend Rd #105, St. Louis)
Owned by the same family as The Shack, The Corner Pub & Grill also has a substantial gluten free dinner menu, which includes starters and main courses. They even have a gluten free fryer!
Frisco’s Grill and Pub (121 S Smith St)
Despite being a small town, you can still grab a gluten free pizza at Frisco’s Grill and Pub in Cuba.
Cars on the Route (119 N Main Street)
Now Cars on the Route does not have a gluten free menu, but I ate the fries there. Remember though, I have a wheat intolerance, but I’m not coeliac, so make sure you check with the staff before you order if you have coeliac disease.
Charleston’s Restaurant (6839 S Yale Ave)
Prepare to get excited for gluten free in Tulsa; there’s a whole menu of items you should be able to eat here! You can ask for a gluten free dressing with your salad, and there’s fresh fish, as well as a nice selection of grilled food. Lunch and dinner only.
The Cheesecake Factory (Woodland Hills Mall, 8711 E 71st Street S)
Who hasn’t wanted to eat at the Cheesecake Factory ever since Penny worked there in the Big Bang Theory? Well now you can, as they have a gluten free menu.
Dilly Diner (402 E 2nd St)
There’s no gluten free menu here, but the restaurant’s tacos are made from corn and there are a variety of egg-based dishes. The diner serves breakfast all day!
The Mule (1630 N Blackwelder Ave)
Looking for gluten free OKC? The Mule has gluten free stuffed mushrooms, bread and beer. What’s not to like?
Iron Star Urban Barbeque (3700 N. Shartel)
This place has brisket, ribs, chicken and salmon, all with delicious gluten free sides.
Nourished (Carnegie Centre, 131 Dean A McGee Ave)
ALL of the sandwiches here come on homemade gluten free bread. They also serve gluten free cookies and muffins, making this a fabulous choice for breakfast or lunch.
Macaroni Joes (1619 S Kentucky St)
Helpfully, Macaroni Joe’s menu clearly states when an item is not gluten free, meaning pretty much everything can be made in a gluten free version. This means you can chow down on gluten free pasta, steak, chicken and seafood. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.
Fire Slice (7306 SW 34th)
You can ask for a gluten free crust on any of the pizzas here for an extra $1. By the restaurant’s own admission, this place is a little hard to find, located to the rear of the Summit Shopping Center.
Pow Wow Restaurant & Lizard Lounge (801 Rte 66)
This is not a gluten free restaurant, but I ate the corn tacos here and was fine. They were delicious too. In fact, Pow Wow was one of my favourite places to eat on Route 66.
Kix on Route 66 (1102 East Historic Route 66)
No gluten free menu, but there are omelettes and the tortillas appear to be made from corn – check before ordering!
Del’s Restaurant (1202 East Historic Route 66)
Again, no specific gluten free menu, but there are lots of grills and the tacos appear to be made from corn.
Vinaigrette (709 Don Cubero Alley)
Yes it’s salad, again, but at least you know you should be able to eat here. This ‘salad bistro’ serves almost exclusively leafy dishes, aside from a few soups and gluten-containing sandwiches (but we won’t talk about them). Just check what’s in your salad dressing when you order.
Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Café (1620 St. Michaels Drive)
If you’re vegan as well as gluten free, this is the place to eat in Santa Fe. There’s loads on the menu, including quinoa, soups, curries and stir fry. Open for breakfast, lunch and early dinner.
Sweet Lily Bakery (229 Johnson St)
Don’t panic, but you can get CAKE here in this gluten free bakery in Santa Fe. And muffins. And scones. It even serves sandwiches on gluten free focaccia bread (drool!). This is a fantastic spot for breakfast, lunch or just a snack and is located around the corner from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the Palace of Governors.
Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Café (2201 Silver Avenue SE)
If you loved this place in Santa Fe, the café has several outlets in Albuquerque too. The ‘Silver’ restaurant is the closest to Route 66, which runs along Central Avenue. It has a slightly reduced menu compared its Santa Fe counterpart, but the soups and cauliflower tacos are always gluten free.
Pizza 9 (101 Gold Avenue SW and multiple locations)
This is where you can get a gluten free pizza in Albuquerque. The Gold Avenue branch is just a six minute walk from the Kilmo Theatre, a favourite of Central Avenue.
Tia B’s La Waffleria (3710 Campus Blvd NE)
This place does gluten free waffles, with THREE different types of batter to choose from. The rice and coconut batter is vegan too. You can choose your own topping, ensuring it caters to your dietary requirements. The waffelria is open 8am to 2pm every day.
Diablo Burger (120 N. Leroux St)
Longing for a burger in a gluten free bun? Head to Diablo’s! Or you can have the house salad…
MIX Flagstaff (The Old Town Shops, 120 N Leroux St)
The MIX serves gluten free pancakes in some pretty scrummy sounding flavours – strawberry cheesecake, apple stack and French toast. There are also a variety of egg dishes for breakfast and salads for lunch.
Criollo Latin Kitchen (16 N San Francisco)
Criollo is open for brunch, lunch or dinner and has a whole host of meals that can be made gluten free (and often vegan) upon request. Ribs, pork chops, chicken, salmon are just some of the items on the menu.
Kicks on Route 66 (2550 W Route 66)
Just outside of Williams, Kicks on Route 66 has a menu packed with items that can be made gluten free on request. Chicken wings, a gluten free burger and tequila lime chicken sound delicious. There’s even a happy ‘hour’ between 3 and 6pm Monday to Friday.
South Rims Wine and Beer Garage (514 E Route 66)
South Rims serves gluten free bread for its range of sandwiches. There’s also a selection of salads and grills.
Oggi’s (2854 Lenwood Road)
Unfortunately, there’s not much on offer that’s gluten free at Oggi’s, other than the crust on certain pizzas. It’s worth including here though as I couldn’t find many other restaurants with gluten free options in Barstow.
In-n-Out Burger (2821 Lenwood Rd)
If you ask for your burger ‘Protein Style’, In-n-Out will replace the bun with lettuce, making it free from wheat. The French fries are gluten free anyway.
BJ’s Brew House (1045 E. Harriman Place)
Quinoa, steak, pork chops and gluten free pizza are just some of the wheat free options at BJ’s. It also has a selection of items that can be made gluten free on request, including its weekend brunches. They do gluten free cookies too!
Souplantation (8966 Foothill Blvd, Rancho Cucamonga)
Hilariously, Souplantation’s menu labels which of its salad ingredients are gluten free – thanks for clarifying that celery doesn’t contain wheat guys. Joking aside, it is handy to know which salad dressings you can eat. Baked potato and soup are also available, making this a potential lunch stop just outside of San Bernadino, but still on Route 66.
The Old Spaghetti Factory (1635 Industrial Park Ave, Redlands)
The Old Spaghetti Factory makes it easy to order with its gluten-friendly menu. There’s not a huge amount of choice and it’s annoying that you’ll need to pay an extra $1.25 for gluten free pasta, but hey you get to eat! The restaurant is in Redlands, just outside of San Bernardino.
Flappy Jack’s (640 W Rte 66)
There is a pretty decent choice of gluten free pancakes and waffles at Flappy Jack’s, as well as egg-based dishes, and it’s open from 6am for breakfast. Lunch items also include soups and salads.
Sushi Roku (1401 Ocean Ave)
Famous for its California Rolls, surely eating sushi is a must in LA? Any sushi or sashimi can be made gluten free in Santa Monica at Sushi Roku. The restaurant also has a gluten free menu, including soups, miso and other hot dishes.
Rosti (931 Montana Ave)
You can grab a gluten free panini or sandwich here for lunch, or opt for a gluten free pizza or pasta dish for dinner. This gluten free restaurant in Santa Monica does use a shared cooking and preparation area though, so does not guarantee you’ll avoid cross-contamination.
Kye’s (1518 Montana Ave)
What’s a sandwich without bread called? A KyeRito apparently; they’re naturally wheat free and available at Kye’s from 8am to 10pm daily.
Do you know of any other gluten free restaurants along Route 66? I’d love to hear from you.
Let me know where else you’ve eaten gluten free on Route 66 in the comments and maybe I can add them to the list for other Coeliacs and people with wheat intolerances to enjoy.
Disclaimer: In case you haven’t got the message yet, I don’t have coeliac disease (only a wheat intolerance) and I’m not a professional dietitian. Menus change over time. I can’t be held responsible for any choices you make after reading the information above. Please check with your server before ordering to make sure the food is compatible with your allergies.