I had the opportunity to try a tasty new fast-casual restaurant in Denver called Five on Black, where I learned that everything on the menu is 100% gluten-free. Yes, you heard me right. EVERYTHING IS GLUTEN-FREE! While Five on Black is not a gluten-free restaurant, per se, there’s not a drop of gluten to be found on the menu.
This calls for a celebration … that’s why today’s post is dedicated to celebrating Five on Black.
Five on Black offers a new spin on the build-your-own-bowl concept. The founder, Tom Snyder, says he set out to create Brazilian-inspired eats that would be accessible to the American palate.
Think of it as a Brazilian Chipotle. Five on Black, like Chipotle, has a simple menu, clean ingredients, and an assembly line you go through to customize your own dish.
You build-your-own bowl by choosing a:
- Base (rice, greens or a mix)
- Protein (chicken, beef, tilapia, roasted veggies or feijoada/Brazilian stew)
- Side (coconut sweet potatoes, steamed collard greens, or black beans)
- Sauce (mango BBQ or spicy coconut)
- Topping (chunky tomato vinaigrette, farofa/GF breadcrumb-like mixture, lime wedge, spicy chimichurri, or cilantro)
At the end of the line, you’ll be tempted to add a side of Brazilian cheese bread (called pao de queijo). This delicious dough ball is made from cheese and tapioca flour and, while it doesn’t look gluten-free, rest assured that it is 100% gluten-free. Pao de queijo is worth the $.50 to add on to your bowl (or splurge and get two – they are so darn tasty!).
The portions are generous, and you’ll leave feeling full and satisfied.
During my visit, I got to meet Snyder. It’s obvious from the moment I met him that this young entrepreneur is passionate about what he does. Everytime I saw him he had a smile on his face despite having just opened the day prior. And he lit up every time he talked about the menu or how he came up with each dish.
If you’re in Denver and looking for some fantastic fast-casual food, stop by the new Five on Black at 1617 California Street in Denver (California and 16th). The location is steps away from the bustling 16th Street Mall.
Don’t be fooled if the line is out the door (which it likely will be). The line goes fast and there is plenty of seating on both the main level and in the upstairs dining room.
Five on Black also has a Boulder location (1805 29th Street), as well as restaurants in Montana (Missoula and Bozeman), where Snyder is based.
Remember, anyone can eat here (gluten-free or not). You won’t regret your decision either. The food is delicious, fresh and clean. My tastebuds were tingling with the bold spices and flavors of Brazil long after I left.
Disclosure: Five on Black sponsored our Denver Blogger’s Club August event and treated our the entire Club to lunch.