September 14, 2010

Gluten-Free Menu Available at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in Boulder

By Evan Sandsmark -  

Suppose you’re in Boulder walking on Pearl Street and suddenly you’re in need of food that harmonizes with your gluten-free diet. Where might you go? Although it might seem counter intuitive to visit a restaurant that prominently features beer and pizza, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse is actually a great choice. With an entire menu dedicated to gluten-free food, you’re likely to find something to tickle your taste buds, and this is especially true in the case of BJ’s because of the diversity of its GF menu.

Even though the menu can easily fit on a single page, there are a lot of different types of food, and that’s what’s worth focusing on. First, there are several different gluten-free salads available. There are the standard salads that restaurants are wont to offer, like the house and caesar salad, but there are also some more elaborate creations, like the Sante Fe Salad, which sounds great. The foundation of this particular salad consists of a blend of romaine lettuce, red onions and fire-roasted red peppers mixed with BJ’s Sante Fe dressing. These vegetables are topped with jack and cheddar cheeses, sliced avocado, corn, diced tomatoes, and blackened chicken breast. Or, if your interested in a delicious variation, you can substitute the chicken for blackened salmon. Besides its lack of tortilla strips, this is exactly the same salad as the one listed on the regular menu (the GF eater isn’t missing much, no offense to tortilla strips). It’s like they had gluten-free dieters in mind even as they were creating the main menu!

If you’re interested in pairing your salad with its eternal partner, soup, BJ’s has a couple options to help you actualize your desire. There is the Tuscan Tomato Bisque (without croutons) and the Broccoli Cheddar, both of which are self-explanatory (or at least we’re going to claim as much because the menu doesn’t have much by way of elaboration).

BJ’s also offers gluten-free versions of its pizzas. As is the case with most gluten-free pizza, a different crust is used, and this is generally all that’s necessary because most pizza toppings are without gluten. This, in any event, is the case with BJ’s, as only one of the available toppings, meatballs, has gluten. If you’re a human, you’ll most likely prefer your pizza with beer. Fortunately, BJ’s makes this possible by offering Redbridge Beer, and although this isn’t made by the talented brewers of BJ’s (Redbridge is a product of Anheuser-Busch), it still makes a fine companion to your pizza.

In case you for some reason classify soup, salad, and pizza as periphery menu items (inexplicably, this impulse strikes us occasionally too), BJ’s offers some main entrees that are gluten-free. There are a couple of chicken dishes that look excellent (especially the Balsamic Glazed Chicken), as well as a salmon plate and a 12-ounce New York Strip that also sound criminally appetizing.

Finally, readers who have been to BJ’s before might remember one of its most unique and delicious offerings: Giant Stuffed Potatoes. Happily, these too are offered without gluten. Three of the four potatoes listed normally have Alfredo sauce, which the GF versions can’t have, but even without the sauce they sound great. (And besides, whose ever heard of putting Alfredo sauce on a potato anyway? I’m not saying it would be bad – I’m just saying it doesn’t really seem like you’re missing something without it.)

OK, so BJ’s offers gluten-free salads, soups, pizzas, entrees, giant potatoes, and beer. Not bad variety, right? If you want to review the gluten-free menu in all its detail, click on the following link, which will take you directly to the gluten-free part of the menu (it’s a PDF, just so you know):

If looking at the menu has sufficiently stimulated your appetite, here’s the address to the Boulder location:

1125 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO 80302

Have you been to BJ’s and tried any of its gluten-free selections? If so, share your thoughts in a comment below.

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