City Guide to Gluten-Free Picks in East Austin

east and west

It’s time again for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance’s City Guide. I’m checking in on those gluten-free-friendly spots that both you AND your gluten-full friends will enjoy. Here are my picks from I-35 to Ed Bluestein and everything east in between. I have listed them according to 3 categories: Certified, Officially, and Unofficially. Certified means the place is 100% gluten free: go hog-wild. At an “official” restaurant the staff knows what they are talking about and there is likely a gluten-free menu. It is not certified so there are no guarantees! Unofficially means there are items on the menu that do not contain gluten. They may or may not be able to tell you the details of what you are eating.

This list is not exhaustive but rather my picks for a delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner on the east side. There are a ton of good dining eateries out east, so if I’ve left off your favorite spot, please add it in the comments below so we can be sure to check it out.

Blue Dahlia
Gluten Free: Unofficially
My friends and I make a habit of spending a leisurely breakfast here and I’ve had a couple of great dinners too. Filling salads and tasty frittatas.

Gluten Free: Unofficially
I love this tiny taco shack. Open only for breakfast and lunch, this eastside haunt calls itself “The East Side Icon” and I have to agree. Corn tortillas made right in front of you, taco fillings of your choosing, and abuelitas serving up some of the best breakfast in town.

Rios Brazilian
Gluten Free: Officially
I have a place in my heart reserved for the men of Rio’s Brazilian. Ben and Elias started by selling their PĆ£o de Queijo (yucca cheese breads) at the SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown. Then 3 years ago, they opened their storefront over on Pleasant Valley at East 5th St. Now they have a full menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, live music some nights, and their gluten free dishes are highlighted with a big GF for your dining pleasure. Don’t miss Aipim Frito (fried yucca) with spicy malagueta sauce and my very favorite, the Bolinho de Aipim de Frango.

Casa Columbia
Gluten Free: Unofficially
This tiny restaurant on East 7th Street is a fantastic spot right around the action but not in the middle of it. If you need a few feet from the SXSW madness, step into Casa Columbia for some gluten-free arepas and fried plantains. Most of their menu is naturally gluten free but they don’t guarantee anything. If you go Thursday-Sunday, be sure to get their Tamal. It’s huge, delicious, and cheap.

Gluten Free: Unofficially
I love their patio. Contigo, just east of Airport, has a lot of naturally gluten-free options as well as really good drink options to enjoy on their expansive patio. If you’re looking for a relaxing atmosphere and a fancy cocktail, look no further.

Hillside Farmacy
Gluten Free: Officially
If you can get past the waitstaff’s lederhosen and hipster attitude, then do not miss Hillside Farmacy. “Daytime” and “Nighttime menus” list gluten and gluten-free items and at brunch you can even order gluten free toast instead of the regular stuff. They tout farm fresh ingredients and carry a lot of local vendor products for take-away. If you go for brunch, try the omelette and don’t miss the Stumptown Coffee (not local, but so tasty).

Mr Natural
Gluten Free: Officially
The Mr Natural on Cesar Chavez is a spot to enjoy a vegetarian meal and many gluten free options. I go here for the gluten-free chocolate muffin.

Open only for dinner, Justine’s claims to be one of the best date spots in town. Good wine selection, cocktails, and several gluten-free options, I might have to agree. If you’re dairy free, this is a tough one.

Franklin BBQ and Live Oak BBQ
Texas dining lists aren’t complete without BBQ joints. I’m putting both Franklin and Live Oak since they both have their advantages. Franklin is often listed as the best BBQ in Texas. But with lines constantly around the block, sometimes you just don’t feel like waiting. In that case, head southeast a couple of miles and go to the dark and very tasty Live Oak. Both spots are tasty. Check out the ribs at Franklin’s and don’t miss the Saturday specials at Live Oak. Both places are gluten free, but you do have to ask them to switch gloves and wipe the cutting boards clean.

If you’re on the east side and want a quick trailer bite, you have a ton to choose from. The ones I like that gladly cater to “gluten free please”: Me So Hungry, check out their spring rolls; East Side King: now in 3 locations on the east side, their famous brussels sprouts are not to be missed and the beet fries and kaarage have gluten free options; Thunderheart Bison now has a trailer on East 6th Street and if you find them open, they have some good options for the gluten-less amongst us.

These are my favorite spots in East Austin. Be sure to check out gluten-free delights in all the other parts of the city here:
Chef Jess’s ATX Gluten-Free
Jen’s Inspired Eats
and Rachelle’s Blinded By the Bite
and coming next will be my post on Enfield all the way to Brentwood.
Between us, we have the city covered for you!

And if that’s not enough, I just found about this new app from one of our Austin’s own, Chef Jess: Locate Special Diet. Locate Special Diet helps people find local businesses that offer gluten-free options nearby, as well as vegetarian or locavore/organic and more options soon. Check it out and learn more about where to find meals and stores that fit your diet needs.


About Salts Kitchen

I write. I eat. And I cook. I write about what I cook and eat. I love finding new foods, being inspired to make something I've never made, and most of all I love feeding other people things that they have never tried before. I like disproving myths about food and what it means to eat well, to eat healthy, often on a budget, and for some of us- to eat with a bunch of food allergies (and still eat well!).
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11 Responses to City Guide to Gluten-Free Picks in East Austin

  1. thutiefrutie says:

    There are so many places on your list that are on my “must-try” list! I’ve been itching to go to Hillside Farmacy and Justine’s.

  2. Pingback: City Guide’s Gluten-Free Friendly Options from Enfield to Brentwood | Salts Kitchen

  3. Great pics!! LOVE Blue Dahlia and their salads! Also a big fan of Justine’s šŸ™‚

  4. Pingback: Austin City Guide 2013 - Eat Like a Local: Gluten-Free Dinner | Blinded by the Bite! ā„¢

  5. Pingback: Austin City Guide 2013: Gluten-Free Dining (By Neighborhood) | Blinded by the Bite! ā„¢

  6. JBlainey says:

    Counter Culture is one of the few gluten-free restaurants I can eat at over and over again and still delight in the food and menu. I’m hoping you have had the chance to try this little gem.

  7. Pingback: 2013 Austin City Guide: East Side Restaurants | bake me away!

  8. Thank you so much for linking to the post and mentioning the APP! So excited you like it šŸ™‚

  9. sandra ramos says:

    East Side Pies carries locally made gluten-free crusts and has many GF options as well.

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