But some restaurants have to take extra precautions. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro at the St. Johns Town Center has an extensive gluten-free menu, and operating partner Geoff Atherton said the restaurant is well-prepared to ensure those items are not contaminated by gluten on other dishes.
“We have a whole station in the kitchen dedicated to gluten-free,” he said.
The station includes separate woks with colored tags to ensure they are not used on other items, and P.F. Chang’s even has separate plates it uses to serve gluten-free dishes.
Meanwhile, in a pizza place, dust from pizza dough can easily fly through the air. But Tommy d’Esterhazy of Tommy’s Brick Oven Pizza makes every effort to see to it that his gluten-free pizzas are not contaminated. He understands the need because he is gluten-free himself.
“We prepare all of our toppings that are going to go on the pizza in a separate area,” he said. The pizzas are placed on parchment paper before going in the oven to ensure that they don’t pick up leftover gluten. “There’s no chance for it to touch the stone,” d’Esterhazy said.
Even restaurants that don’t have gluten-free menus can offer safe dining experiences for celiacs.
“Basically, we can make almost any dish gluten-free,” said Pam Butterworth, maitre d’ at Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant in the St. Johns Town Center. Maggiano’s uses gluten-free corn pasta to substitute for regular pasta.