Valerie Kraft is a food safety activist studying Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Valerie has been a leader in allergy advocacy work for young adults since being diagnosed with celiac disease in 2015. Read more about Valerie here.
Nashville is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., and a great place to live and visit! With over 20 colleges and universities, there’s an abundance of budget-friendly options for any student or family. Take a stroll down music row or stop by one of Nashville’s many neighborhoods – such as Hillsboro Village or 12 South – for some bites that are sure to bring delight! While Nashville may be best known for its southern cuisine, you’ll also find delicious and safe gluten-free options ranging anywhere from focaccia pizza, tacos, and perfectly grilled burgers!
Also, all meals tested were under $20!
Location: 2526 12th Avenue South, Nashville, TN
Tested: Chips and guacamole, and Chicken and Mojo Pork Carnitas Tacos.
Notes: Bartaco is a 99% gluten-free establishment, with the only gluten on premise being in their desserts. They have dedicated gluten-free fryers for the tortilla chips, and when notified of a gluten sensitivity, will take all precautions necessary, such as changing gloves. One of the managers I spoke to was even personally familiar with the Nima sensor! This is a perfect place to go for a quick, casual, and delicious bite to eat. There menu is unique in the sense that all tacos are a la carte, which allows you to mix and match.
Location: 701 Craighead St, Berry Hill, TN 37204
Tested: Chicken Marcantonio on a roasted garlic focaccia bun with Tuscan potato chips.
Notes: Mangia is my all-time favorite restaurant in Nashville! Mangia does not have a separate gluten-free menu because EVERYTHING on their “regular” menu can be made gluten-free – from foccacia pizza to pasta to even cannoli! The chef/owner’s wife has Celiac Disease, so they definitely take all of the necessary precautions. Just let your waiter know that you’re ordering gluten-free, and they’ll take it from there!
Location: 1819 21st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37212
Tested: Cookies in Cream and Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks.
Notes: Jeni’s ice cream is a Nashville must! With around two dozen gluten-free flavors, there something for everyone here. When notified of an allergy, Jeni’s employees will grab an unopened ice cream carton from the back and a new ice cream scooper to prevent cross-contamination. The best part? Jeni’s even has a gluten-free cookies in cream ice cream flavor!
Location: 1805 21st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37212
Tested: The Classic on a lettuce bun with Kennebec fries.
Notes: Hopdoddy is fairly new to Nashville, bringing some great new gluten-free options! When alerted of an allergy, Hopdoddy fills out a separate red allergy ticket to alert the kitchen to take special precautions. Hopdoddy also has a dedicated fryer for their french fries! The burgers are absolutely delicious, and this is a great place for a quick, safe, and fun bite to eat. Additionally, Hopdoddy is located a few doors down from Jeni’s if you’re looking for finish the meal with some dessert.
Location: 3106 W. End Avenue, Nashville, TN, 37203
Tested: Custom pasta bowl with chicken, vegetables, and marinara sauce.
Notes: I was incredibly impressed with the allergen procedures at Maggiano’s! As soon as I altered my waiter that I needed to eat gluten-free, they brought out the chef who created a custom dish for me based on my preferences. My dish was made completely separate from everyone else’s, and the chef checked on me multiple times to make sure everything was okay! For delicious, custom, and safe Italian food with a fancy atmosphere, be sure to check out Maggiano’s!
Tested: Big Sky Grilled Salad with Grilled Chicken and BLT Ranch Dressing.
Notes: Ted’s Montana Grill has a separate gluten-free menu which includes delicious burgers, salads, and steaks! Half of their grill is dedicated to gluten-free items only, and they also have a dedicated gluten-free fryer, so their house chips and french fries are gluten free! Alert your server to your gluten-free needs, and they will be sure to ensure a safe meal!
Location: 1200 Villa Place, Nashville, TN 37212
Tested: Carnitas Taco and California Club Taco.
Notes: Taco Mamacita has a separate gluten-free menu with plenty of options for any taco lover, and even enchiladas, nachos, and other delicious bites! While they do not have a dedicated fryer, they have Santitas gluten-free corn tortilla chips available upon request, and gluten-free tacos are served on corn tortillas. This is a great place for a quick, safe, and yummy bite to eat!
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