A Gluten-Free Guide to The Glass City: 14 Favorites for Every Meal

. April 4, 2017.
Fowl and Fodder's bright and healthy juices and smoothies are a gluten-free option that everyone loves.
Fowl and Fodder's bright and healthy juices and smoothies are a gluten-free option that everyone loves.

What do other cities have that Toledo doesn’t? If you answered “good gluten-free food,” then we’re here to prove you wrong!

Whether you have a celiac disease diagnosis, a wheat allergy or simply prefer the lifestyle, you can find gluten-free options for every palate and budget. Here are some of our favorites.

1. Real Seafood

realseafoodco

The Real Seafood Company, located at The Docks near downtown, provides numerous gluten-free options for a special lunch or dinner. Appetizers include steamed edamame, pepper-seared tuna with seaweed salad and jumbo shrimp cocktail. For lunch, try the kale quinoa salad or the sautéed Lake Superior whitefish. The dinner menu includes stuffed Atlantic salmon, filet mignon and gluten-free pasta.

The kitchen is willing to get creative with diners’ requests, and knows the difference between eating gluten-free and having a medical condition that requires more careful preparation. Entrée prices vary, but expect to spend $30 and up per person for dinner. Call ahead for reservations or questions about the menu.

22 Main St., realseafoodcotoledo.com

2. Star of India

starofindia

At first glance, it might be easy to overlook Star of India, or question its menu authenticity, since it operates out of a former 50s-style diner, creating a contrast between the vintage exterior and an interior filled with traditional South Asian décor and Bollywood music, but the food is the real deal. Open daily, Star of India offers lunch (including a lunch buffet), dinner and take-out. The buffet is about $15 with a beverage and tip.

Many traditional Indian dishes are naturally gluten-free, so there should be something for everyone at Star of India. Appetizers include crispy gluten-free flatbread (by special request) or fried vegetable pakora. Popular main dishes include chicken tikka, vegetarian saag paneer and lamb curry.

415 S. Reynolds Rd., starofindiatoledo.net

3. Fowl and Fodder

gluten-free

Fresh fare is the name of the game at this local eatery. Choose between a variety of organic, gluten-free and vegan choices for breakfast or lunch, all using local ingredients obtained from sources all around Northwest Ohio. For breakfast, try the pastrami hash, the duck poutine with sweet-potato fries or avocado toast on gluten-free bread. Lunch options include the tempeh lettuce wraps, the Cuban panini—again, on gluten-free bread—and the avocado Reuben.

Fowl and Fodder’s creative juice bar includes the Dirty Lemonade, made with activated charcoal, and the Purple Haze, made with beet kvass. The restaurant also offers a kid’s menu, as well as catering services. Expect to spend at least $20 on an entrée and beverage. The owners are planning to open a second, downtown location on Adams Street later in 2017.

7408 W. Central Ave., fowlandfodder.com

4. El Tipico

ElTipico1

Like most Mexican restaurants, El Tipico’s predominantly corn-based menu offers gluten-free diners no lack of choices. The website points out that El Tipico is “Toledo’s Oldest Mexican Restaurant” and is 90% gluten-free. Most of the menu is listed a la carte style, so you may have to do some extra math if you want to watch your spending.

Expect to spend about $15 on a decent-sized lunch. All your favorite Mexican dishes make an appearance: tacos, burritos, quesadillas, huevos rancheros, tostadas, tamales, carne asada, enchiladas and fajitas. Try the Marisco Mexicano, the chicken mole or the Guisado de Res. It is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday (closed Sundays and Mondays). They offer take-out, catering, reservations and “order-ahead” services.

1444 South Ave., eltipico.letseat.at.

5. Rosie’s Italian Grille

rosies

The website refers to Rosie’s Italian Grille as “Toledo’s Best-Kept Secret,” and that is understandable, given its location, tucked away in a corner of McCord and Nebraska. Rosie’s interior has a Tuscan theme with low lighting, giving it an atmosphere suitable for a quiet business lunch or a romantic dinner. For lunch, try the “skinny pizza” made with a cauliflower crust, or a spinach salad. Dinnertime options include Italian sausage with risotto, the fish of the day, zucchini pasta or the baby lamb chops.

The menu specifically notes which items are gluten-free, which is helpful to diners and a good sign of a knowledgeable staff. Expect lunch to run at least $15-20 per person, and dinner to be $20 and up. Rosie’s offers catering, online reservations and a food truck at special events around town.

606 N. McCord Rd., rosiesitaliangrille.com

6. Pam’s Corner

PamsCorner

Launched in 2002, Pam’s Corner serves breakfast and lunch from the Davis Building on 10th Street downtown. Pam’s menu offers Udi’s gluten-free bread, so diners can enjoy toast at breakfast or sandwiches at lunch. For breakfast, try the eggs, sausage and fruit platter, or the Davis Building Sandwich. For lunch, try Pam’s Favorite Salad or the Deluxe Grilled Cheese. As with most other restaurants, diners who must follow a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease or another medical condition should take care.

The Pam’s Corner website notes a risk of cross-contamination with any food allergens. Other services include boxed lunches and special events, such as cooking classes. For breakfast, the cost per person can easily stay under $10, and run about $10-15 for lunch. Pam’s Corner is closed on Sundays.

116 10th St., pamstoledo.com

7. Tony Packo’s

TonyPackos

It’s almost impossible to have friends visit from out of town and not have them stop by this local landmark. Made famous thanks to the TV show M*A*S*H, Tony Packo’s features dishes inspired by the founder’s Hungarian roots. Much of the menu is out of reach for the gluten-free, but Tony Packo’s now offers a pared-down, gluten-free menu that makes it easier for diners to choose safer options.

If you have out-of-town visitors who have yet to experience Tony Packo’s unique menu and décor, you can still dine there safely and deliciously on a gluten-free diet. Their world-famous chicken chili, in a bowl or with nachos, is naturally gluten-free. Sandwiches and hot dogs can be ordered without a bun—and prepared separately from the gluten-containing versions. Prices are about $10-15 per entrée.

tonypacko.com

8. Gino’s Pizza

Ginos

Gino’s Pizza has been a Toledo institution since 1955, when it opened its first location on Monroe Street and Central Avenue. Since then, it has expanded into a total of six locations throughout the area. It has been voted “Best Pizza in Town” several times, and was listed in Pizza Today Magazine as one of the top 100 pizza joints in the nation. Gino’s has enlarged its menu over the last 60 years, now offering a gluten-free crust.

Take note, however, that it currently is only available in “Small” size, and is slightly pricier than a regular-crust pizza. A plain cheese, for example, will cost about $9.40, compared to $7.50 for a regular small cheese.

originalginos.com

9. La Scola

La_Scola

If you’re looking to splurge on a special dinner, La Scola Italian Grill is another gluten-free-friendly option that focuses on locally sourced ingredients, served in an upscale but casual, intimate setting. Besides offering both gluten-free pasta and pizza crust, the menu includes a variety of naturally gluten-free meals.

For an appetizer, try the roasted Brussels sprouts, figs and cheese or garlic mussels. Entrées include seared salmon, Mediterranean chicken with risotto or Diavola veal. Expect to pay $30 and up per person. La Scola is open every day, for dinner only. La Scola also offers a lounge area, full service bar, private dining space for rent and catering for special events.  

5375 Airport Highway. lascolaitaliangrill.com

10. Bangkok Kitchen

BangkokKitchen

It’s easy to miss, tucked away in a strip mall near 475 in Maumee, but fans of Thai food and newbies alike should seek out Bangkok Kitchen. Customers can ask the staff about which dishes are already gluten-free—as many Thai curries are—and what can be altered to be gluten-free. For an appetizer, try tofu summer rolls or cucumber salad. For lunch or dinner, consider ordering the yellow curry Gang Gahree, seafood curry, Bangkok steak or a gluten-free version of the classic Pad Thai.

Be aware that, while the menu is friendly toward gluten-free diners, it is heavy on coconut, seafood, and tree nut ingredients. Seating is limited during the busy lunch hour, but take-out with online ordering is available. Per person, an average lunch can range $12-15, $15 and up for dinner.

582 W. Dussel Dr., Maumee. bangkokkitchenmaumee.com

11. Blue Pacific Grill

bluepacific

If you need to take a lunch or dinner break after shopping at Levis Commons in Perrysburg, the pan-Pacific cuisine at Blue Pacific Grill offers a range of gluten-free options. Diners pick from a list of ingredients and build their own stir-fry bowl, prepared on a flat-top grill. Choose a combination of vegetables, proteins, starches, spices and sauces. Their online menu specifies which ingredients are gluten-free.

For example, you might try a mango-pineapple-chicken combination on brown rice, or shrimp and onions with Lava Sauce in a lettuce wrap. Not sure what to combine? Ask for suggestions. Lunch averages about $10 per entree. Gluten-free diners can request a separate cooking space. Blue Pacific Grill offers takeout, fundraising and party rentals.

4150 Levis Commons Blvd., Perrysburg. thebluepacificgrill.com

12. Grumpy’s

grumpys

This popular downtown cafe offers unique sandwiches and salads for lunch, including homemade gluten-free buns and premade gluten-free bread. Try the “Mazel Tov” sandwich with smoked salmon and horseradish cream cheese, the veggie burger or their famous Garbage Salad (without croutons). Indulge in gluten-free chocolate-chip cookies or cheesecake for dessert. Most entrees range from $9-12 each.

Grumpy’s is open from 10am-2pm, Monday through Friday at its downtown location, and its award-winning poppyseed dressing is sold at many local retailers. Other services include delivery with 24-hour notice, catering and a Grumpy’s food truck. Diners with more severe celiac disease should be aware that there is no separate preparation area, including toasters and cutting boards, for gluten-free meals.

34 S. Huron St., grumpys.net

13. Organic Bliss Deli and Bakery

OrganicBliss

Offering one of the most extensive gluten-free menus in the area, Organic Bliss Deli and Bakery in Sylvania focuses on healthy and organic breakfast and lunch. Breakfast sandwiches include a basic egg-and-cheese, southwest-style or veggies such as zucchini and spinach. Their juice and smoothie menu ranges from plain carrot juice to the “Bananarama” smoothie to the “Green Acre” juice combo of carrot, apple, kale, romaine, celery and ginger.

Lunch options include chicken salad sandwiches, a vegan Caribbean avocado wrap, the Alaskan salmon burger or the Athens Greek salad. You can also purchase gluten-free baked goods such as red velvet cake, lemon meringue pie and molasses cookies for special events.

3723 King Rd., Sylvania. organicblissmarket.com

14. Shorty’s True American Roadhouse

Shortys

This casual member of the Mancy’s family of restaurants specializes in barbecue and other distinctly “American” fare with their own unique twist. Open for lunch and dinner all week, Shorty’s offers many naturally gluten-free items, and the menu points out that their in-house preparation can accommodate many dietary needs.

Try the “Idaho Pig” stuffed potato, BBQ chicken salad, veggie kabobs, smokehouse chili or award-winning pork ribs. If you have room for dessert, they also serve milkshakes or floats made with premium ice cream. Entrée prices average about $15 and up. They offer carry-out, as well as “live-grill” catering or bulk food ordering for special events.

5111 Monroe St, mancys.com/#shortys

Just remember:

Being gluten-free in Toledo doesn’t have to be boring or restrictive! There’s a little something for everyone. If you have a medical condition such as celiac disease, always exercise caution when dining out. Be your own advocate! Contact the restaurant ahead of time and ask about their food preparation, and always make sure your server is aware of your dining needs.

  • Mike Drabik

    Gluten free is fine, but is not much use to those who suffer Diabetes – as I do. What I need is sensitivity to the other “G” – gluscose (aka sugar) to avoid glucose spikes – some of which can be deadly to folks in my condition.

    Come now – do you think I’m really going to go and chow down on pizza? Not likely as even one slice is bad for me.

    Of course pizza joints like Gino’s could try to use “alt-flour” made from almonds or some other type of nut (unique would be acorns – hey the native tribes that used to live here and were driven out used it all the time – and there’s plenty of those available for harvesting through the region in the Fall – provided only white oak acorns are used; black oak acorns are too bitter). It possible and maybe if more alt-flours were used their price could come down and make it more reasonable to use as a major ingredient in foods like pizza.

    People suffering Diabetes can either be a bane or a bounty for local restaurants. It’s their choice. Welcome us by making the foods we can eat or we just won’t patronize you. With the incidences of Diabetes in the general population sure to increase in the next several decades the smart restaurateur would be wise to plug into this market.