May 12, 2011

Gluten Free Registry Explained, and a List of Gluten Free Restaurants in Boulder Too

By Evan Sandsmark -  

When out for a gluten-free meal the other day, we came across a sign posted on the outside of a Boulder establishment that offers gluten-free options. The sign merely advertised that the restaurant in question could be found on Gluten Free Registry (glutenfreeregistry.com), a free website requiring no membership or login that has amassed an enormous list of gluten-free food suppliers – including restaurants, bakeries, grocers, and caterers – around the country.

What’s more, the site is moderated, meaning that businesses are screened to ensure that they meet certain terms and conditions before they are listed on the site. The terms and conditions aren’t particularly rigid, but any company listed on the site has to at least offer meaningful gluten-free options. (A restaurant that claims to be gluten-free because their water doesn’t have gluten presumably wouldn’t make the cut.) The result of this screening process is a high-quality, reliable list of gluten-free businesses around the country.

And Gluten Free Registry doesn’t merely list the names of gluten-free businesses; it also links to their website (and Twitter feed, if they have one), supplies their address and contact information, and even lists their gluten-free offerings. Given that the registry has over 19,000 gluten-free companies in its database, it should come as no surprise that not every listed business has all of this information, but a very large number do, making Gluten Free Registry a rich trove of information for gluten-free dieters, and it’s easy to see why:

Suppose you’re on a road trip and you find yourself in some small town in the middle of Kansas. You’re hungry and in need of a place to get some gluten-free food. If you have access to the internet, you could use Gluten Free Registry to look up the specific city that you are in and find a list of gluten-free dining options. In the absence of this resource (and in the absence of other extremely helpful resources, like GlutenFreeInBoulder.com!), your prospects would look much grimmer: you might have to call up several restaurants in the area and ask about gluten-free dining options, or you might be stuck with only the rice crackers and baby carrots you’ve been snacking on throughout your journey. Don’t get us wrong – we like rice crackers and baby carrots as much as the next person, but sometimes you need a substantial meal, and Gluten Free Registry can guide you there.

How does Gluten Free Registry work? It’s very simple. When you arrive at the home page of the website, you will be confronted with a map of the United States at the center of the screen. When you click on any state, a page will come up that lists every gluten-free business in the state (assuming the business has taken the time to register on the site). New additions to the registry are listed first, followed by a list of gluten-free bakeries, coffee shops, restaurants, grocers, manufacturers, caterers/chefs, desserts, and a miscellaneous category. At this stage, we’re operating at the state level, so the list is extremely long. However, you’ll almost certainly be looking for gluten-free places in a specific city, and when you refine your search in this way using a drop-down menu near the top of the page, the list becomes manageable.

For a concrete example, let’s walk through a search for gluten-free companies in Boulder. First, after arriving to the home page of Gluten Free Registry, click Colorado on the map of the U.S. Again, a page will load with a list of all of the gluten-free businesses in Colorado, but above this list you’ll find a few drop-down menus that allow you to narrow your search. You can select a city (“Boulder,” in our case) and decide whether you want all the locations of a particular restaurant listed (“yes”). You can also use a beta feature that allows you to exclude restaurants that merely accommodate the gluten-free diet, and in the present case we did. (For the record, it is not clear what “the mere accommodation of the gluten-free diet” means. What an establishment must do to avoid the “only accommodates” label is not spelled out. However, whether you decide to include or exclude companies by using the beta feature doesn’t seem to matter all that much, as the generated lists look about the same regardless of which option you select.) Pared down to the restaurants only, and listing only their names and not their address, phone number, etc., the following list is rendered in response to our search criteria:

4580
Abo’s Pizza (two locations listed)
Antic Roma
Bacaro Venetian Taverna
Beau Jo’s
Berry Best Smoothie
BJ’s Restaurant Brewhouse
Black Pepper Pho
Blackjack (two locations listed)
Bombay Bistro
Boulder Organic Pizzeria
Brasserie Ten Ten
The Buff Restaurant
Cantina Laredo
Carelli’s
Casa Alvarez Mexican Restaurant
Chili’s Grill and Bar
Chipotle Mexican Grill (two locations listed)
Dagabi Cucina
Gindi Cafe
The Gondolier
Islands Fine Burgers and Drinks
LA’AU’S Taco Shop
Larkburger
Laudisio
Lucille’s
Mateo
Mod Market
Nick-N-Willys Pizza
O!Pizza
Olive Garden
Pasta Jays
Pei Wei Asian Diner
Radda Trattoria
Red Robin
The Sink
Suki Thai Noodle House
Tokyo Joe’s
Tres Pupusas
Turley’s

Overall, this is a pretty impressive list, and while it’s not complete (it doesn’t list Proto’s, Zudaka, or Garbanzo, to name three off the top of our head), it still supplies Gluten Free Register users with a ton of information. Moreover, the site will continue to expand as more businesses learn of it and want to register their gluten-free operation. It can only get better, and it’s already pretty great.

Check it out for yourself here:

http://www.glutenfreeregistry.com/

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