There’s nothing better in the world for a celiac patient, than to be healed. That is a wish, we all may have to wait for a very long time, because at this time celiac disease is not healable. Patients, who have this disorder have to eat a gluten free diet for the rest of their lives. Having to endure other peoples’ cookies, cakes, and other Christmas goodies with gluten doesn’t make this any easier. To top it off, most gluten free products are more expensive than other foods. So, instead of another gadget nobody needs, give the gift of love.
If you want to bring a little cheer into somebody’s life without gluten, you may want to consider giving them a gift card to one of the following stores with gluten free products or restaurants with gluten free menus:
Amelia’s Grocery Outlet: There’s one in Mechanicsburg and one in Harrisburg. Amelia’s Grocery Outlet offers food highly discounted and very often they offer gluten free items. This Examiner was able to fill up her freezer completely with ready made foods for 50 cents a package just a week ago. They don’t always have these items, but every once in a while, they have a gluten free deal to offer.
Giant Food Store: Most Giants in the area offer their own gluten free shelf and one section in the freezer isle. If you have a Giant card, you can even collect points with them and enjoy one or the other discount on top of your gift card.
WalMart: WalMarts in and around Harrisburg have gluten free surprises here and there, if you’re willing to look for them. For example the store in Carlisle has gluten free flours and pasta and the WalMart in Mechanicsburg has an own shelf section for gluten free now in addition to the pasta in the pasta isle.
The Healthy Grocer: This store is located in Camp Hill. It has a good selection, but the prices are a little on the higher side.
Appalachian Food Store: You can find this gem in Carlisle. Sometimes, they have gluten free products in their discount basket in the back of the store.
The following restaurants offer a gluten free menu and a gift card to one of these may be a real delight for a celiac sufferer:
Arepa City in Harrisburg: This Examiner has not been there yet, but she heard they don’t offer gluten free deliciousness, but also dairy free as well and it’s been tooted, that the food is absolutely awesome. Find them at 316 North 2nd Street in Harrisburg.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill: Not only gluten, but also dairy, soy, nut, and egg free. They are located at 2531 Brindle Drive in Harrisburg. Check out their “build your own pasta” feature, which is a very nice thing for people with other allergies as well.
Outback Steakhouse: They have their own menu. Please, ask for that before you are seated. While you’re there, try their “Chocolate Thunder from down under”. Gluten free beer is also available at Outbacks. There’s nothing better in the whole wide world. Their kitchen staff is GIG trained, which means, they know everything about gluten free, including how to avoid cross contamination. They are located on 3527 Union Deposit Road in Harrisburg and 25 Gateway Drive in Mechanicsburg.
Flinchy’s: Rated with 5 out of 5 stars on the iPhone application “Find me gluten free”, this restaurant and bar has a dedicated fryer and kitchen space for only gluten free items. It’s kid friendly and also has gluten free beer. Go to 1833 Hummel Avenue in Camp Hill.
The Melting Pot: Albeit a little more pricey, if you’re a chocolate or cheese fondue lover, you’ve come to the right place. Their staff is also GIG trained, so they know the ins and outs of gluten free. Even though, they are a chain gourmet restaurant, the only location in this area is at 3350 Paxton Street in Harrisburg.
The Wild Tomato Pizzeria: This famous location works together with the GIG on their gluten free menu. A special training is required for their staff. They will go out of their way to make sure you are safe. The chef has over 20 years experience. They are located at 3215 Jonestown Road in Harrisburg.
Fusion Fire: Here they are vegan friendly and offer Chinese, Sushi, and Thai. Finally an Asian restaurant, where the staff knows, what they are talking about. To find out for yourself, go to 3421 Simpson Ferry Road in Camp Hill.
Betsy’s Bakery: They offer all kinds of baked goodies and also gluten free bread. This is the first gluten free bakery around Harrisburg and if you crave baked goods, this is definitely a must. The address is 115 St. Johns Church Road in Camp Hill.
Olive Garden: A good choice for an Italian restaurant and affordable as well. They are a chain that is kid friendly and their pasta sauce is to die for. Located at 5102 Jonestown Road in Harrisburg and 6520 Carlisle Pike in Mechanicsburg.
Chipotle: If you crave Mexican and already have given up hope, you may want to lighten up a little, because Chipotle at 5106-I Jonestown Road in Harrisburg may just be your mood saver. Their prices are a delight for the mood as well and their staff knows about gluten free.
Red Robin: The restaurant with the name of a bird is cheap, kid friendly, and has the best gluten free buns in the area. Their fries are awesome and you can watch TV on top of it. Since this is a chain restaurant and bar, you have more options to pick from. You can go either to 5125 Jonestown Road #125 in Harrisburg, 6560 Carlisle Pike, Suite #450 in Mechanicsburg, 621 Park Avenue in Hershey, or 236 Westminster Drive in Carlisle.
Carrabba’s: Since Carrabba’s and Outback’s have the same owner, it’s only a given, that both also have a gluten free menu. Their options are a little smaller though, but nevertheless taste great. In Mechanicsburg they are right beside Outback Steakhouse at 5250 Carlisle Pike.
Bangkok Wok: This is one good tasting Thai restaurant. It is vegan friendly and you can also bring your own beer. Three is a lucky number and to make it a lucky gluten free three, you will find them right beside Carrabba’s and Outback’s at 125 Gateway Drive in Mechanicsburg.
Brothers Pizza: Long time they had nothing in Etters, now they even have a gluten free Italian restaurant. It’s located at 140 Newberry Pkwy.
Piazza Sorrento: This one is a real treat. Even though the portion sizes aren’t as big, you don’t want to miss their food. It’s out of this world. It comes with gluten free buns and gluten free beer. Another sweet place in Hershey at 16 Briarcrest Square Square. If you’re staying at the lodge, keep going straight on University Drive, cross over the next intersection and the Square is to your right.
Andalusia: This one is a real rarity and to everybody’s surprise located in Carlisle, of all places, on 26 N. Hanover Street. It’s the only restaurant with Spanish and Moroccan food in the area, so you just have to stop by here. It has a gluten free menu for tapas and their entrees. While you’re here, make it the perfect evening and visit the Green Door for some swing dancing, Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Green Room Bistro & Juice Bar: Another good one, again in Carlisle, this time located on 36 W. High Street, the other main road running through Carlisle. Now it doesn’t matter from which direction you come, you’re definitely served well. This bistro is also dairy free and vegan friendly, they deliver and your kids are welcome as well.
It’s just incredible and unbelievable, where there was nothing just a few years ago, we now have a great choice of gluten free restaurants, bars, cafes, and bistros. In almost every city, town, or village around Harrisburg and in Harrisburg itself of course, you have some place to go to. You don’t need to miss out anymore, you belong. And it’s a good feeling for us celiac patients, gluten-intolerant people, or somebody with a gluten allergy. Merry Christmas to everybody and happy Holiday gift shopping!