December 3, 2010

Smiling Moose Deli Near Boulder is a Perfect Place for a Gluten-Free Lunch

By Evan Sandsmark -  

If you live in Boulder, Louisville, or the surrounding area, and if you’re hungry for a gluten-free lunch, try Smiling Moose Deli. With gluten-free soups, salads, and sandwiches available, and with plans to expand their GF offerings in the near future, it’s a convenient place to grab a quick lunch made with GF ingredients. Over the last few years, we’ve seen several Smiling Moose Delis around Colorado (their twelve locations are scattered throughout the state), so we finally decided to stop in and sample their food.

Located just a couple of blocks from the Highway 36 Louisville exit, Smiling Moose Deli is a quick drive away from Boulder – no more than 15 minutes from the center of town. The deli is part of chain of stores that line McCaslin Blvd., one of Louisville’s main streets, so it’s easy to find. The restaurant itself is fairly small – it can probably seat about 30 people – and is arranged like your standard deli: you order food from a counter, and then they deliver your food to the table once it’s been prepared. Since it’s the start of December, there are some Christmas decorations peppered throughout the restaurant – a few over-sized snowflakes here, a red bow there, and lots of those fake strings of pine needles in between. The decoration scheme was pleasant, if a little unambitious.

For lunch, we ordered the Hearty Vegetable soup and the Hot Turkey Club; that is, we basically ordered one of the most standard lunches imaginable, and it was great. With tons of green beans, carrots, onions, potatoes, and corn that had obviously been simmering for hours (not much chewing necessary), the vegetable soup was indeed hearty – a small cup of it was a great way to start our lunch. There are also two other GF soups available, Cream of Tomato Basil and Meat Chili, although the latter was out during our visit. There is also a soup of the day, which, depending on the ingredients, may or may not be gluten-free.

The Hot Turkey Club is, well, a hot turkey club, and a very good one at that. The one we were served was absolutely buried in freshly chopped onion, lettuce, and tomato, so much so that it was rather awkward to eat at first. Under the mountain of vegetables was a smaller heap of warm turkey and bacon that was covered with melted Swiss cheese. This subterranean layer of goodness was enhanced by a light spread of pesto mayo, which winds through the crevices of the turkey, cheese, and bread. And that bread! A couple of posts ago, we raved about the cheesy bread at Martino’s Pizzeria, which is supplied by Sweet Escape Pastries. Smiling Moose, we are happy to report, uses the same supplier. Normally, the bread isn’t the ingredient that GF dieters like to dwell on, but this stuff is amazing. When toasted, the outside crisps lightly, but the inside stays moist, soft, and chewy – one might even call it springy. In a word, the bread is very good, and Smiling Moose incorporates it wonderfully into their sandwiches.

If you don’t feel like ordering a deeply common sandwich like a turkey club, there are several other options. The Parisian, which features chicken, Brie, avocado, and sun-dried tomatoes, sounds superb, as does the the vegetarian Green Thumb, which is piled with fresh spinach, artichokes, and mushrooms, among other ingredients. There are also a couple of breakfast sandwiches available, most notably Jo’s Morning, consisting of a light veggie cream cheese, sliced tomatoes, melted provolone and fresh-ground pepper on a toasted bagel. What’s more, you can order breakfast anytime at Smiling Moose, so mouthwatering creations like Jo’s Morning can be enjoyed at any time during the day. Finally, there are a few salads available that are gluten free, as well as several GF dressings to go with them.

There are lots of great GF menu items at the Smiling Moose Deli, and hence lots of reasons to go check them out.

Smiling Moose’s menu, which unfortunately doesn’t indicate which items are gluten-free, can be found here:

To help navigate the online menu, we made a list of all the GF offerings at Smiling Moose Deli at this point. The names of the dishes below correspond with the items listed on the menu, which provides you with a complete description of the food in question.

Breakfast Sandwiches:
The Morning Moose (with Ham, Bacon, or Sausage)
Jo’s Morning

Hot Sandwiches:
The Mighty Mo!
Hot Turkey Club
Green Thumb (vegetarian)

Cold Sandwiches:
Capicola Steak
The Sidecar
Hippie Chick P. (vegetarian)

Cream of Tomato Basil
Hearty Vegetable
Meat Chili

Ty Cobb
Tuna! Tuna! or Chicken! Chicken!
(Dressings: ranch, blue cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, low-fat orange rosemary)

(As a side note, there is in fact a gluten-free menu in the Louisville restaurant, so it’s easier to pick out GF foods when you’re in the actual deli.)

The nearest Smiling Moose to Boulder:
459 S. McCaslin Blvd.
Louisville, CO 80027

Note: This is the sixth article in a new series presented by On a (roughly) weekly basis, we will visit a restaurant, try a dish or two, and write about our experience. We will, of course, be sampling exclusively gluten-free food so we can report back to our readers about the dishes worth having. If you would like us to review a particular restaurant with gluten-free options, send an email to We’ll try our best to check it out!

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  1. Greta says:

    Smiling Moose Deli offers a gluten-free menu at all 14 locations, and the on-line menu now has astericks to notate which sandwiches are offered gluten-free. We also have a host of delicious gluten-free soups and salads, too! See link for a recent article about our gluten-free menu… We also have a new store opening on 29th Street in Boulder sometime late April 2011.

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