Friends who visit me in Denver, Colorado tell me time and time again that they think the Mile High City is a gluten-free mecca. Denver offers hundreds of restaurants that cater to those who can’t eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and sometimes oats.
While there are plenty of gluten-free options to be found throughout Denver, many members of the gluten-free community remain skeptical of eating out, and with good reason.
While more restaurants offer gluten-free options today than ever before, many fail to make those options safe for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance.
Enter Kayla King, the founder of a new gluten-free dining app called MyMeal. She is an eating-out aficionado who says she loves to teach restaurants how to create safe, gluten-free meals and teach people how to eat out safely.
MyMeal is the product of Kayla’s hard work. The app contains 55+ restaurants in the Denver metro area (with more to come) that she has personally vetted.
She spends her days calling restaurants, interviewing chefs, observing kitchen processes, inspecting menus for hidden gluten, sampling foods, and creating filterable Allergen Menus that are available to MyMeal app users.
Kayla says she’s committed to spotlighting restaurants getting gluten-free right so people with gluten disorders can confidently eat out without worrying about getting sick.
Kayla’s Tips for Eating at Restaurants
Kayla is an optimist and says many restaurants are sincere in their efforts to create safe options for the gluten-free community. She says many chefs have food allergies or are connected to someone with food allergies, and those chefs genuinely want to serve the gluten-free community.
She says it’s crucial to vet a restaurant before visiting. She says you can do this by calling the restaurant beforehand and conversing with the general manager or chef. She says to call during non-busy hours (around 2 or 3 pm) and avoid calling during dining hours when the staff is slammed.
She also encourages the gluten-free community to ask deep questions such as, “Do you prepare your fries in a shared fryer,” to understand a restaurant’s gluten-free process and gauge the staff’s knowledge about gluten cross-contamination.
Kayla adds that it’s important for the gluten-free community to be patient, kind, and calm because the staff can feed off negative energy. “If you’re nervous, they’ll be nervous to serve you,” she says.
And finally, Kayla encourages the gluten-free community to venture beyond dedicated gluten-free restaurants and try something new, including any of the 55+ restaurants she’s vetted for her app and any of the restaurants she shares below.
Denvers Best Gluten-Free Restaurants
I asked Kayla to share her top gluten-free restaurant picks with the Good For You Gluten Free community. Here’s what she had to say:
Favorite Restaurant to Meet Friends: Avanti Food & Beverage (Denver)
Avanti F&B is a collective eatery that offers multiple fast-casual restaurant concepts. There are two dedicated gluten-free restaurants inside Avanti F&B in Denver: Quiero Arepas and Bowls by Ko.
Favorite Lunch on the Go: Denver Poke Company (Denver)
Denver Poke Company is a Hawaiian-inspired fast-casual restaurant that is 100 percent gluten-free. Kayla says the restaurant only uses only gluten-free soy sauce, and the staff uses a Nima Sensor, a portable gluten-detecting device, to test new products in the restaurant.
Best Fish & Chips: Reel Fish (Boulder and Lafayette)
Everything (except for the buns) is gluten-free at Reel Fish, and the restaurant is famous for its fish and chips. The chef only uses a gluten-free batter to prepare all fried fish and chicken, and its chips (French fries) are gluten-free too.
Best Burger: Hopdoddy Burger Bar (Denver)
Hopdoddy offers a housemade gluten-free bun, but Kayla recommends asking the chef to cook the burger in a separate pan. The restaurant has a dedicated gluten-free fryer and offers safe gluten-free French fries.
Favorite Happy Hour: Foraged (Denver)
Kayla says she loves going to the upscale Japanese restaurant, Foraged for happy hour, where she can enjoy half-off sushi rolls.
Favorite Fried Foods: Rocky Mountain Tap & Garden (Lafayette)
Rocky Mountain Tap & Garden is an upscale beer emporium offering many fried gluten-free options, including French fries, chicken nuggets, and fish and chips. The owner’s wife has celiac disease, so Kayla says the staff gets “it.” They also offer Holidaily gluten-free beer on tap.
Favorite Bakery: Rheinlander Bakery (Arvada)
Rheinlander Bakery is a charming German bakery in Olde Town Arvada. Kayla says the bakers do a “dead bake” every morning, which means they bake the gluten-free pastries before they bake their wheat-based items.
Favorite Italian Restaurant: Abrusci’s Fire & Wine (Lakewood)
Abrusci’s is one of the few places the gluten-free community can safely enjoy restaurant-quality pizza. Kayla says the pizza is made on a separate line and inside a dedicated oven. She adds that the restaurant maintains a dedicated gluten-free fryer, and its gluten-free pasta is thick.
Favorite Brunch Spot: The Urban Egg (Various locations)
The Urban Egg boasts a separate flat top for cooking gluten-free pancakes, and Kayla came alive when she talked about the restaurant’s cinnamon roll pancakes. She says you can enjoy hash browns and healthy options like a quinoa fruit bowl.
Favorite Asian: Indochine (Parker)
Kayla raved about Indochine, a cozy Asian restaurant located in downtown Parker. Most items can be made gluten-free, including crab rangoons, dumplings, and anything fried. They also use gluten-free soy sauce. She says the food is also free from food coloring, MSG, and corn.
Favorite Sandwich Spot: Yampa Sandwich Co. (Denver)
Kayla says to ask the server to use separate ingredients when making your sandwich at Yampa Sandwich Co. The restaurant uses Canyon Bakehouse bread, and the staff knows to place the gluten-free bread on a tray with parchment paper before placing it in the toaster.
Favorite Wings: Woody’s Wood-Fired Pizza (Golden)
Woody’s is a charming restaurant in downtown Golden, steps from the Colorado School of Mines. She says the wings are delicious (and safe), as are the chicken nuggets, fish and chips, French fries, and other fried options. She warns that the gluten-free pizza is not safe and should be avoided.
Find More Gluten-Free Restaurants in Denver
Download the MyMeal app to see all 55+ restaurants that offer fully vetted gluten-free menus in Denver.
Currently, the app includes restaurants throughout the Denver area only, although Kayla says she plans to expand the app to include more cities soon.
The My Meal app is available on Google Play for Android and will be available in the Apple store (coming soon).
- Best Gluten-Free Bakeries in Denver
- The Ultimate Guide to Eating Out Gluten Free
- Best Gluten-Free Restaurants in Denver Guide
- Pasta Straws and Edible Tableware Likely Contain Gluten
- Pizza Restaurants that Don’t Recommend their Gluten-Free Pizza for People with Celiac Disease
- Gluten-Free Fast Food Restaurants – Nima Tested
- Restaurants that Offer Gluten-Free French Fries and a List of Gluten-Free French Fry Brands
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