November 15, 2012

Shine Boulder and its 100% Gluten-Free Kitchen

By Evan Sandsmark -  

Shine is a restaurant in Boulder with a gluten-free menu that lists foods prepared in an entirely gluten-free kitchen. Actually, that’s not quite right. Shine is a gluten-free restaurant and a bar that serves wine and cocktails, as well as beers that are made on site, including a gluten-free beer, so this makes Shine not only a restaurant and bar, but also a brewery. However, Shine doesn’t only offer alcoholic drinks – they also have an “elixir bar” that serves healing tonics, and they also run an organic fresh juice bar and a coffee bar. This makes Shine a restaurant, a bar, and a brewery that offers a wide array of elixirs, fresh juices, and coffees too. But even this isn’t quite right, as Shine is further billed as a “gathering place,” a place where parties, events, concerts, and even yoga classes can be held. It is beyond our abilities to encapsulate all of this in a nice, short sentence, so we’ll just say Shine is many things, and thanks to its totally gluten-free kitchen and menu, it is certainly a place our readers will be interested in checking out.

We learned of Shine a while back and have been eager to write about it ever since. We’ve never come across a place quite like it, as far as we can recall, and the diversity of its offerings is borderline disconcerting. How can a place do so many things? Basically, they make good use of their space, which, for the record, is located at 2027 13th Street, barely off Pearl to the north.

We would feel more intimidated writing this article if Shine didn’t have an excellent website with tons of information on it. (Here is a link to their site: Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place) We are inadequate to the task of capturing all that Shine does in a mere article, so we’re happy to fall back on their website to fill in the inevitable gaps we will leave unfilled. That said, having investigated the place with some thoroughness, and having had any questions we had answered directly by Shine, we feel we have a reasonably good idea of what the place is about.

shine boulder potions

Of utmost importance to us, given the subject matter of this website, is the gluten-free nature of Shine. Shine has been gluten-free from its inception, in part because one of the founding sisters (there are three who are collectively known as the “Blissful Sisters,” or, to many Boulder natives, “The Triplets”) has celiac disease. The operation (what else can one call Shine?) is therefore sensitive to food allergies and the needs of those with them – even in a place like Boulder, it’s not always easy to find a restaurant that offers a variety of choices that can accommodate an allergy, a fact made plain by a reader who recently wrote to us about finding gluten-free mac and cheese in Boulder. (Shine, by chance, is one place to find it.)

shine gluten free boulder

As we said, every item on the menu is gluten-free thanks to the kitchen being entirely gluten-free. While this is true, if you order a sandwich, you need to specify that you want it to be made with gluten-free bread because an outside baker supplies regular bread for those who prefer it. You might think this makes Shine like any other restaurant that has gluten-free offerings simply because they have gluten-free substitutions on hand, but you would be incorrect in so thinking. Shine is entirely gluten-free – or, more precisely, its kitchen is entirely gluten-free – it’s just that regular bread is available if someone wants it. This means that Shine has flipped the standard dynamic that exists between restaurants and their gluten-free offerings: Shine doesn’t offer substitutions to make a dish gluten-free; rather, they offer substitutions to make a dish not gluten-free. Moreover, the regular bread is stored in an entirely separate room away from the kitchen so that even minimal cross-contamination from airborne particles isn’t possible. (The brewery is likewise kept separate from the kitchen for the same reason.)

All of this is made obvious on the menus, which feature “GF” signs to indicate that a dish is gluten-free. (For the reasons stated above, this is basically unnecessary, but it does make everything clear, and if you have any questions you can of course ask your server about them.) Along with the “GF” sign, there are also letters that indicate which dishes are vegan (“V”) and which are dairy-free (“DF”). A quick glance at the menus, which we’ve linked to below, reveals that several dishes fit into one of these categories, and so it necessarily follows that some dishes are both vegan and gluten-free or dairy-free and gluten-free. No matter what you end up selecting on the menu, and regardless of what it is free of, you should be able to find a drink to go with it because of the wide selection beverages at Shine referenced above (including, happily, a gluten-free beer).

We’ve covered the “restaurant” part of “Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place,” so what of the gathering place? In truth, the name, which strikes us as being purposely broad, says it all, as Shine can essentially be used for any type of gathering that the facility has the capacity to handle. There is a movable and size-variable stage, making events like concerts and lectures possible. There is also a projector and screen, so various types of films and presentations could also be held in Shine. The very room that makes up Shine can be arranged in a number of ways, so depending on what the focus of an event is, different size groups can be accommodated. About 80 people could be present for an event involving drinks, for instance, but there is “only” room for 35 yoga mats. (The very fact that the website mentions these figures is a testament to how many different types of events could be, and are, held in Shine.)

We can’t claim to have covered all of what Shine has to offer, but hopefully we’ve at least supplied a sketch of the unique operation that is Shine. For us, it is first and foremost an entirely gluten-free restaurant – one with lots of options that are made with healthy, local ingredients – and it is in this capacity that we will presumably use it most frequently. However, it is many other things as well, ranging from a place to try healthy elixirs and a gluten-free beer (both made on site) to a venue capable of hosting a variety of different events. It’s got something for just about everyone

You can check out Shine’s multiple menus here:

The Shine Menus

And you can find Shine at this precise address:

2027 13th Street
Boulder CO 80302

Read Next Article » Pekoe Sip House in Boulder, Where Tons of Gluten-Free and Vegan Treats Go with Tons of Teas
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