This Chicago city guide was brought to you by Nima community member Marissa McCaw. Make sure to check out her other #nimatested adventures on her Instagram (@marissamccaw) or read her Breaking Bread post.
Location: 705 W Belden Ave. Chicago, IL 60614
#nimatested Dishes: Lemon Zest (gluten-free/vegan) Cupcake.
Notes: Located in Lincoln Park, this cute little store front has everything a gluten-free human needs, cupcakes, glorious gluten-free cupcakes! I spoke with the owner, Pam Rose, and her attention to detail and knowledge of our gluten-free world was astounding! Swirlz Cupcakes goes above and beyond for those of us with Celiac Disease. The gluten-free cupcakes are prepared on different shifts, with every utensil sanitized properly. Pam Rose ensures the safety of her customers. It’s not just about the gluten, she’s aware of those of us with multiple food allergies too. You can choose from a variety of different gluten-free cupcake favors! My new favorite is the Lemon Zest!
#nimatested Dishes: The Spinach Artichoke Dip & Avocado Tostadas.
Notes: The Chicago Diner has been meat-free since 1983. It’s fun and unique! They serve a variety of vegan and vegetarian options. They also have a gluten-free menu. We ordered the spinach artichoke dip as an appetizer, and it came out with the toasted ciabatta crostini’s, not the gluten-free option. Our server was very accommodating and remade our dip! Nima tested it and it was delicious. If you’re like me, and have a dairy intolerance/allergy, this place is perfect for you. Nothing has dairy in it!!
Location: 333 W. 35th Street Chicago, IL 60616
#nimatested Dishes: Gluten-free Cheese Pizza & Hotdog on a gluten-free bun.
Notes: Take me out to the ball game! If you’re in the city, you’re probably going to check out one of our sporting events! I chose the Chicago White Sox! Guaranteed Rate Field has been known for their abundance of amazing food and more importantly, their sensitivity to those with food allergies/intolerances. I was beyond impressed! I was more comfortable eating here, then most restaurants. The concession stands were filled with knowledgeable vendors who knew exactly where I could find my gluten-free hotdog bun, or what section carried my gluten-free pizza. When I ordered the hotdog bun, the vendor immediately changed her gloves, took the bun out of its own packaging, and grabbed my hotdog. No cross-contamination in my direct eye sight. It was a miracle!
Location: 52 W Illinois Street Chicago, IL 60654
#nimatested Dishes: Mama DePandi’s Pomodora Sauce, Spicy King Crab, & Heritage Pork Sausage. All housemade gluten-free pastas!
Notes: RPM Italian is my favorite Italian restaurant! Located in River North, in the heart of the city! RPM Italian specializes is small plates, meant to be shared, so we ordered three pastas! They have a separate gluten-free menu and the service here is always impeccable!
Location: 100 W Ontario Street Chicago, IL 60654
#nimatested Dishes: Beef Sandwich (without the bread) & French Fries.
Notes: Portillo’s is a restaurant chain that specializes in serving Chicago-style foods! The atmosphere here is really fun & really Chicago! When I told them I had food allergies, they didn’t seem too concerned, which really concerned me. Cross-contamination would be my biggest fear here, but Nima tested and everything came back with smiles!
#nimatested Dishes: Beet Chickpea Burger & Grilled Chicken Sandwich.
Notes: The Little Beet Table is an adorable gluten-free restaurant located in the Gold Coast. I ate my chickpea burger without the bun, because our server wasn’t able to find the ingredients for the gluten-free/vegan bun. He was wonderful, very knowledgeable regarding food allergies/intolerances. The Little Beat Table’s modern atmosphere, in a great location, makes for a wonderful experience. I can’t wait to go back!
Location: 2873 North Broadway Chicago, IL 60657
#nimatested Dishes: Gluten-free/vegan Pumpkin Donut.
Notes: I saved the best for last! Wheat’s End is a 100% dedicated gluten-free restaurant located in Lakeview. They are only open for breakfast and brunch, so make sure to get there early! They even have a sign on the door that says ‘do not bring outside food into the cafe.’ I feel completely safe in here. I can never decide what to order, so I order everything. Everything I ordered was vegan/gluten-free. Their cinnamon rolls are out of this world!
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Marissa McCaw is a health and fitness enthusiast who lives in Chicago, Illinois. She has been fighting celiac disease for about 10 years and is an active member of the Nima (and gluten-free) community. You can follow her on Instagram (@marissamccaw)or read her Breaking Bread post here.