In January of 2016 I fully transitioned to a AIP/Paleo template to heal my gut, modulate my immune system and balance my hormones. I found such great success with these protocols and by late 2016, early 2017, I was feeling better than I ever had before. Because of all the hard work I had put into healing my gut, I was able to add many foods back into my life that had previously caused me trouble like gluten free grains and dairy. While I still consider myself mostly Paleo, I love being able to dine out and enjoy comfort foods that I wouldn't normally make at home. I plan on covering more restaurants where I've found gluten-free/Paleo eating fairly easy to accommodate, but I figured I should support local first and start with my hometown of Burlington, Vermont since I OFTEN get asked about my top choices for dining out here! Please share below if you were able to enjoy food at one of these places!
Blank Page Cafe
Blank Page Cafe is an awesome little coffee & baked goods shop that is located within the Bread and Butter Farm Store in Shelburne Vermont. While it’s about 10-15 minutes out from downtown Burlington, it’s WELL worth the beautiful drive. Blank Page specializes in providing their community with fresh baked goods that are always gluten free, refined sugar free and often grain free (yes!). They strive to use as many local, farm fresh, organic ingredients as possible to provide guilt free treats that are not only DELICIOUS but nutrient dense as well. Some of my favorites have been the blueberry scones, grain-free dark chocolate strawberry crumble bars (yes you read that correctly), chocolate chip cookies and apple walnut muffins with coconut cream frosting. Get there early if you can because they do sell pretty fast! If you’re a coffee connoisseur, you’re in for a treat in this department as well. Mike (the owner) only utilizes the highest quality, locally roasted coffee (by BRIO Coffeeworks) to provide a delicious, pour-over style cup of joe. Want an extra boost to your coffee? This is the only place I know of locally that you can get a high quality butter coffee (aka “bulletproof” or “performance” coffee) and opt to add in some collagen protein too! I’m not a big coffee drinker myself but my best friends are and I have it on good account that the maple butter coffee is to die for (you can read more about butter coffee here). Just in case you need more reason to head on over to Blank Page Cafe, you can also load up on local veggies, meats, kombucha, dairy and personal care products at the Bread and Butter Farm Store and during the summer time you can stop by for one of their famous Burger Nights! Go support your local farmer!!
Visit : blankpagecafe.com
Serving: snacks, treats, coffee, tea and farm fresh groceries
Okay, I have to admit that I’m a tinyyyy bit biased about this restaurant due to the fact that I work here part-time...but ask anyone local and they’ll tell you to go to American Flatbread. Yes, flatbread is pizza! Kind of ironic that I work at a pizza place huh? But really my values couldn’t be more aligned with theirs and I’m proud to work at such an iconic place within my community. Flatbread values food integrity and sustainability, aiming to source as many local and organic ingredients as possible and nurturing relationships with our local farmers. Not only is our pizza delicious because of how fresh our ingredients are but also due to the fact that it’s cooked in an authentic wood fired, clay oven, resulting in a crispy crust and tender center. Quality ingredients and cooking methods really do make a difference in flavor! For those who are gluten-free (including myself), you do have the option of ordering gluten-free flatbreads that are provided by West Meadow Farm, a gluten-free dedicated bakery in Essex, VT. While they only come in one size (small), you can still order any of the menu options as well as build your own flatbread. Issues with dairy? Simply order without cheese or ask for goat cheese if that works better for you. We also often have cheddar you can add to your pizza if you’re simply lactose-free. If you make the stop in, definitely don’t pass on either the Evolution salad or one of our special daily salads. My go-to (literally every shift I work) is the Evolution salad with Jasper Hill Farm Blue Cheese and local roasted chicken. It’s so damn good! You can literally taste how fresh the greens are and Jasper Hill is simply the most delicious blue cheese you’ll ever have. Our special daily salads are always incredible as well and typically influenced by what is in season at that moment. We’ve had strawberry kale, roasted beets and blue cheese and local heirloom tomato caprese salads. Do not pass up on these! Side note, American Flatbread is also home to Zero Gravity Brewery so if you’re a beer enthusiast, you can get the best of both worlds. The “Little Wolf” Pale Ale, a canned and draft offering from ZG, is also a gluten-reduced beer so if you don't have Celiac and wheat isn't a HUGE issue for you, you can enjoy this beer if you'd like! You can purchase their beer in growlers at American Flatbread or at the Zero Gravity Tasting Room, along with their cans at many local stores.
Serving: Lunch, Dinner and Weekend Brunch
Yes another pizza place but it’s a totally different style I swear! Pizza Verita specializes in Neapolitan style pizza which is cooked in a 900 degree Acunto oven for only 90 seconds, resulting in a blistering, bubbly style pizza crust and perfectly cooked toppings. I get their gluten-free crust every time and it almost has a pita bread like texture that I find delicious. The servers and chefs at Verita have always been more than accommodating to my dietary needs over the years and I’ve never gotten the vibe that I’m being a pain in the ass for having so many requests. (It’s better now that I eat dairy again but explaining to someone at a pizza place that you can’t have gluten, nightshades or dairy is always kind of hilarious.) I truly appreciate their openness, understanding and desire to provide me with a meal I can enjoy. I’m mostly Paleo but a girl still need pizza every now and then! They also have a killer assortment of antipasti (charcuterie, cheese, veggies, etc.) and fresh salads to choose from. As with any other restaurant, just makes sure you’re polite and as clear as possible with your server about all of your restrictions.
Skinny Pancake is a long time favorite of locals and tourists alike (although I prefer to go when I know there won't be a line out the door). I’ve been going to SP long before my gluten-free days so I can attest that their crepes are incredible whether you’re choosing a savory brunch crepe like the Deja Vu or a breakfast crepe like the Breakfast Burrito. Since going gluten-free I’ve been ordering their crepes made with chick-pea batter and am grateful that I still get to enjoy these tasty dishes without having to go majorly off course of my usual eating habits. I will say they’re a little drier than the regular crepes but that’s typically the case with gluten-free, I usually combat that with extra sauce, dressing or maple syrup and it’s just fine. They also offer burgers that I’ve ordered without the bun, add extra salad greens instead and they’re Spinach Artichoke dip is hands down the best I’ve ever had. I only wish there was a way to get it with gluten-free chips?! I haven’t figured that one out yet so someone let me know if it’s possible!
Serving: Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner
Butch + Babes
You always gotta show some love for your neighborhood restaurant and Butch + Babes is mine. Located off the beaten path of downtown Burlington, Butch + Babes has quickly become a go-to spot in the Old North End for the delicious home cooked style comfort foods with a Thai twist. Corey and I usually pop in for the burger and fries (best french fries with Ranch around!!!) but also make this our spot for dinner or brunch with friends and family. They’re menu is super accommodating for gluten-free and vegan, many items can be made either way upon request, and they usually have at least one dessert option that is gluten-free as well. My favorite was a panna cotta with fresh local strawberries they had available this summer or the “twix” bar that makes an appearance every now and then. Their menu is always changing based on what is seasonally available so expect something new every time you go. They also have delicious house cocktails but I’m personally a fan of “The Fizz” which is ginger beer, coconut milk and lime juice shaken till frothy. Soooo good!
Serving: Dinner and Weekend Brunch
Located just across the river in Winooski, Waterworks is another great place to check out for lunch, dinner and brunch. Its beautifully situated right on the Winooski River with views of the falls and has plenty of gluten-free options. Their menu easily indicates which items are gluten-free or can be made gluten-free upon request. My friend’s favorite lunch item is the Tuna Nicoise Salad, while my favorite is the Classic Eggs Benedict on gluten-free bread on the Brunch menu. They have plenty of options for gluten-free dinner entrees as well like the Pan Roasted Scallops or Atlantic Salmon or the Braised Brisket. They also have a great wrap around bar, cozy lounge seating and great patio in the summer time.
Serving: Lunch, Dinner and Weekend Brunch
Other restaurants I recommend checking out in Burlington for a high quality, farm-to-table experience include:
*I don't eat at these places super often so I cannot attest or give recommendations at this moment to their gluten-free offerings but I assume that they would be accommodating to your needs! I do know that Farmhouse offers a gluten-free burger bun 😉