How can we trust the internet to steer us to restaurants which can serve the needs of persons who live gluten free? I need to make a personal decision about this and I must also decide which (if any) to recommend on this website.
As you have probably figured out, everything you read on the internet is not gospel truth. Anyone can say anything they want to say on the internet. The costs are insignificant — you don’t have to satisfy an editor and you don’t even have to convince yourself that anyone would pay a nickel to read what you wrote. Obviously, I think the internet is a wonderful tool, but final decisions are always up to the individual. That’s why I link people to websites rather than passing my judgments off as facts.
All that being said, here are three of the factors that lead a check-out a restaurant and to suggest that you do the same:
Certification.The Gluten Intolerance Group monitors restaurants and certifies those that they consider worthy of our patronage. There are also sites like “The Gluten Free Registry” which lists restaurants that consider themselves to be gluten-friendly but does not do any direct monitoring. “The Gluten Free Restaurant Guide” lists possibilities but relies primarily on phone contacts with restaurant managers. Use the widget in the right sidebar to learn more about this useful guide.
Reputation / Size. I am inclined to believe the the gluten free claims made by nationwide restaurant chains. These are huge corporations with hundreds of lawyers making sure that individual restaurants don’t make promises they can’t keep. Links to these restaurant chains may be found on my power-page “Gluten Free Restaurant Meals“. I’m especially impressed by restaurant groups like ‘The Outback Steakhouse’, ‘PF Chang’s', and Chili’s which have a great reputation with the America’s gluten free community and are unlikely to do anything to jeopardize it.
Gluten Free Menu. I trust a restaurant that publishes its gluten free menu on-line. This enables me to plan my gluten free meal ahead of time. I may need to make some substitutions and I would like to think about that ahead of time. It also tells me that the gluten free options are not an ‘afterthought’ at this restaurant.
This article describes the “good news”, the information I hope to see when I look at a site describing a restaurant. There is, of course, another side to the coin. I will publish the second part of this article next Sunday, April 15. Click here to check it out!