Gluten-free Denver: A #nimatested Dining Guide
Jenny Finke is a blogger and foodie from Denver, Colorado. She is a certified integrative nutrition health coach too. Find Jenny online at GoodForYouGlutenFree.com.
Denver, Colorado is one of the most beautiful places on earth! With more than 300 sunny days per year, beautiful mountain views, and a population with a penchant for the great outdoors, it’s no wonder Denver is continually ranked as one of the best places to live in the U.S.
On top of that, Denver is home to many delicious restaurants, most of which offer gluten-free items on their menus.
I used my Nima Sensor to test some of my favorite local hotspots to see if they’re really gluten-free. Below I share the best gluten-free finds from in and around the Mile High City!
Best gluten-free bakery
#nimatested Dishes: Chocolate Eclairs (gluten-free, dairy-free)
Notes: This beautiful European bakery is tucked away in charming Olde Town Arvada and has been in business for more than 50 years. The owner of the bakery has celiac disease so she understands what it takes to create safe food for those who cannot eat gluten.
While the bakery is not dedicated gluten-free, the staff maintains separate kitchens and separate display cases for the gluten-free treats, and the staff is extremely knowledgeable about changing gloves, using color coded plates, and using stickers to mark packaging correctly.
There are so many gluten-free baked goods to choose from that you’ll need to come back to Rheinlander time and time again. And once you’ve tried the gluten-free and dairy-free chocolate eclairs, you’ll never be the same again – trust me on this one!!
Best gluten-free date night restaurant
Location: 2030 W. 30th Ave., Denver, CO 80211
#nimatested Dishes: Sweet Potato Fries, Masala Dosa, Pad Thai
Notes: Known as Denver’s finest “Eatuary,” it won’t take long for you to realize this eclectic restaurant situated in the heart of the Highlands was once a fully functioning mortuary! Despite its dark beginnings, the restaurant attracts a wonderful crowd and dare I say, even has a romantic vibe.
Get ready to sample a variety of gluten-free foods inspired by different parts of the world. You won’t feel like you’re missing out on much as there are SO MANY GF items to choose from (oh, and Linger has a dedicated gluten-free fryer too!). All dishes are meant to be shared with others, so bring your significant other and/or some good friends. Every single dish I tested was truly gluten-free (and mighty delicious too!). I can’t wait to go back.
Best gluten-free restaurant in LoDo
Location: 1822 Blake St. Denver, CO 80202
#nimatested Dishes: Pan Roasted Branzino with Roasted Red Potatoes and Schug Dipping Sauce
Notes: Vesta (formerly known as Vesta Dipping Grill) is an intimate restaurant located steps from Coors Field in Denver’s hopping LoDo (or Lower Downtown) neighborhood. The restaurant has so much too offer from a menu that includes everything from grilled venison and rack of lamb to a delicious vegetarian entree, grilled artichoke and cauliflower za’atar (served with jasmine rice vs. couscous if made gluten-free).
Vesta has a dedicated gluten-free fryer and almost all of its dipping sauces are gluten-free too. The menu is even called the “celiac/gluten menu,” so you know you’re welcome here if you have celiac disease or a serious issue with gluten.
The service is outstanding, too, and our server was knowledge about gluten disorders and was one of the most reassuring and empathetic waiters I’ve ever had. On top of it all, the pan roasted branzino was tasty and delicious… and, of course, Nima was all smiles.
Best gluten-free fried chicken
Location: 2501 Dallas St., Aurora, CO 80010 (inside The Stanley Marketplace)
#nimatested Dishes: Fried Chicken, Citrus Quinoa, Hush Puppies and Smashed Potato Fries
Notes: If you’re craving fried chicken, you must run to Yellowbelly Chicken to satisfy that hankering once and for all. Yellowbelly Chicken is a fast casual concept restaurant based in Denver (and it has five locations throughout the state).
Yes, you heard me right. You can enjoy fried chicken again! All fried chicken at Yellowbelly is breaded with rice flour, and you can safely eat the smashed potato fries and hush puppies too. Everything that goes into the fryer is gluten-free and the only items on the menu that contain gluten are the mac n cheese and sandwich buns (so obviously don’t eat those).
On top of it all, Yellowbelly Chicken only uses all-natural, vegetarian-fed, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and free-range chicken. This place is legit – it even has a location inside the Whole Foods in Belmar (Lakewood), and you know Whole Foods carefully curates its products and partnerships. Make sure Yellowbelly Chicken is on your Denver dining list, please!
Best gluten-free brunch
Location: 6991 E. Belleview Ave. Denver, CO 80237
#nimatested Dishes: Hawaiian GF Pancakes, Huevos Rancheros with Hashbrowns
Notes: When I first went to the Urban Egg last year, the pancakes tested positive for gluten. Bummer, right? However, the staff took my Nima test very seriously, listened to my feedback, and then it changed its internal processes to make things right. I’ve since tested the restaurant three times for gluten and found none! Nadda. Zip. Don’t you just love when a restaurant takes feedback and actually makes changes based on that feedback? All’s well that ends well!
The food at the Urban Egg is delicious and consistent, too. Don’t leave without trying the gluten-free Hawaiian pancakes, which are topped with pineapple and toasted coconut. If pancakes aren’t your thing, don’t worry, you can still enjoy a plethora of gluten-free items. I often order the huevos rancheros along with a side of hash browns, and my friend raves about the breakfast quinoa, which are all gluten-free and safe for you to enjoy.
Best gluten-free lunch
#nimatested Dishes: Chicken Kabobs, Tumeric Rice, Roasted Vegetables, Israeli Skhug
Notes: Zoe’s Kitchen is new to Denver and boasts eight locations in the metro area (with more on the way). While this restaurant concept is not native to Colorado (it originated in Alabama), the food is outstanding, fresh and makes the perfect fast-yet-fresh lunch out while you’re exploring the Mile High City.
Choose from plenty of gluten-free items, all fresh and healthy. On top of that, many of the items can be made to satisfy a variety of diets including dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, Whole 30 and ketogenic too. After eating here, you’ll feel great – like you just enjoyed a very satisfying-yet-healthy meal.
Best gluten-free pizza
Location: 1517 Miner St, Idaho Springs, CO 80452
#nimatested Dishes: Gluten-Free Veggie Loaded Pizza
Notes: Beau Jo’s is a Colorado staple and known for its “Mountain [Pizza] Pies.” If you want Colorado-style pizza, Beau Jo’s is where you go (please note the Mountain Pies are not gluten-free).
Beau Jo’s is celiac-friendly and the owners do a lot of work with the local celiac community. While Beau Jo’s is not a dedicated gluten-free restaurant, you can still enjoy a safe gluten-free pizza made using a delicious GF crust sourced from Sweet Escapes Bakery, a local bakery. Oh, and be sure to dip your pizza crust in the honey provided on each table – it may sound strange but it’s a totally legit Colorado thing to do!
Location: 3651 Navajo St, Denver, CO 80211
#nimatested Dishes: Gluten Free Fish and Chips
Notes: Acova is not entirely gluten-free but it is the dream spot for anyone with celiac disease. Betsy, one of the co-owners has celiac disease, so the menu is ridiculously friendly for celiacs. Almost everything on the menu can be made gluten-free and they do such an excellent job with eliminating cross-contamination.
Location: 2463 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
#nimatested Dishes: Chicken Enchiladas
Notes: Absolutely love this Mexican spot and could eat it for nearly every single meal. Los Chingones rooftop on Larimer is a summer favorite of mine! They now have multiple locations throughout the Denver area, so you can enjoy their food all throughout town.
The one bummer I have with this spot is that their chips are not celiac safe, since they share a fryer. However, we had a fantastic waiter that helped me navigate the menu with celiac disease. They will go out of their way to accommodate you if you are gluten free or have celiac disease, so make sure and speak up even though their menu is marked with options.
Location: 1550 Platte St Suite C, Denver, CO 80202
Notes: Denver Poke Company is Denver’s 1st and currently only entirely dedicated gluten-free poke spot. So that means absolutely everything on their menu is gluten-free and celiac safe!
The options are truly endless here of what you can have on your poke bowl and they use the freshest ingredients possible! This adorable location on South Platte is an order at the counter and either grab your bowl to go or sit at the cute window seat place. If you’re craving a poke bowl in Denver, this is absolutely your go to location!
#nimatested Dishes: Gluten Free Onion Rings
Notes: They have gluten free onion rings. Need I say more? And not only are they gluten-free, made with a variety of rice flour, they are also celiac safe since they do not put anything with gluten in their fryers.
Not only do they have gluten free onion rings, but they have some of my favorite fries in town. Their truffle fries are seriously incredible and you can have a fully gluten free meal with a gluten free bun as well. They take cross contamination seriously and is a dream fast casual gluten free dining place if you ask me!
Location: 696 Sherman St, Denver, CO 80203
#nimatested Dishes: Gluten Free Fried Chicken
Notes: Craving gluten-free fried chicken? Wanting a ridiculously tasty brunch full of gluten-free and non gluten-free options? Max’s is your spot! They have a separate fryer for their chicken so you are completely celiac safe here!
The service at Max’s Wine Dive was some of the best I have had in a long time and there are not only food options galore, but drink options galore too! Seriously bring your appetite and whether you’re with another gluten-free eater or not, it truly doesn’t matter. They serve up so many choices you will all leave so happy and desiring someone to roll you home.
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Hungry for more gluten-free dining? Check out all our #nimatested City Guides: