(This article was originally written for and published by Visit Phoenix)
With new restaurants popping up almost daily, the Greater Phoenix dining scene is in the midst of a renaissance. These additions continue to diversify dining options and further the city’s prowess as a bonafide foodie destination.
Those seeking vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options will find an impressive selection, too.
While it’s impossible to list them all, here are 10 of the top spots to grab a gluten-free meal, treat or even a beer.
Intentional Foods (IF Cafe & Market)
Intentional Foods was started by a local couple after their daughter had an anaphylaxis scare. They then set out to provide a safe place for people with food allergies to dine with confidence by opening a restaurant free of the top 8 allergens: nuts, dairy, eggs, wheat, gluten, seafood, soy and sesame.
The menu showcases bowls, salads and sandwiches, as well as a variety of sides and desserts. But don’t miss the retail market, where you can find prepackaged and made-to-order allergy-friendly products and meals, in addition to local coffee, produce, baked goods and more.
Recently voted No. 9 on Yelp’s Top 100 Places to eat in 2021, they’re currently working on an expansion that includes more indoor seating and a gluten-free bar.
1837 W. Guadalupe Road, Unit 103, Mesa
Jewel’s Bakery & Cafe
When you think of gluten-free fried chicken in Phoenix, no one else comes close to Jewel’s Bakery & Cafe. As Arizona’s first and only full-service, 100% gluten-free restaurant — largely centered around crispy fried chicken, waffles and vegan options — this spot serves a decadent brunch all day long.
And they’ve expanded! Jewel’s recently launched a pop-up taco shop called Tru Tacos, home to traditional Guerrero-style street tacos, fresh margaritas, elote dip, carne asada fries and more, on the patio Thursday through Saturday beginning at 6 p.m.
4041 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix
Who knew Phoenix needed a dedicated gluten-free bakery centered around horror films (with an actual horror museum inside)? Spooky’s Swirls has some of the best baked goods around — even better than their gluten counterparts. Cheesecake and chocolate cupcakes, rosemary scones and baked-from-scratch cinnamon rolls are among the favorites on the rotating menu. You can also place custom cake and cupcake orders.
Due to COVID-19, Spooky’s Swirls is currently only accepting online or phone orders for curbside pickup on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
3029 N. Alma School Road, #117, Chandler
Sapiens Paleo Kitchen
For those looking for paleo-friendly dishes, Sapiens is the Greater Phoenix area’s first 100% paleo restaurant. This means that it’s 100% free of gluten, dairy and sugar. Here, the elegance and sophistication of French cuisine meets paleo nutrition principles — which is a focus on quality meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, herbs and healthy fats.
With experience in the food and beverage business, the owners adopted the paleo lifestyle to help manage their own health conditions. This, combined with a growing trend of customers requesting foods that were nutrient-dense and toxin-free, inspired them to start the restaurant.
Last August, they launched Paleo Meal Prep, individually packaged meals delivered to your doorstep. They also accommodate keto, low-carb, Whole 30 and anti-inflammatory protocol (AIP) lifestyles.
10411 E. McDowell Mountain Ranch Road, Ste. 120, Scottsdale
Gluten-Free Creations Bakery
Many local restaurants that offer gluten-free alternatives get their bread products from Gluten-Free Creations. This local bakery, which started 20 years ago, has become the go-to for a variety of mouth-watering breads.
Over the years they’ve expanded to create delicious products free of any or all of the following: egg, dairy, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, corn, yeast, processed white sugar or grains. Vitamin D is added to the breads, vitamin B is added to almost all products and all ingredients are tested to ensure they are free of allergens.
7607 E. McDowell Road, Scottsdale
10880 N. 32nd St., Phoenix
Gluten-Free Options Available
Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen
Picazzo’s is a family-owned, health-centric restaurant with multiple locations. They source clean, whole foods for their modern-Italian cuisine that sprinkles in the bold flavors of Asian, Mediterranean and Mexican ingredients. The menu here offers a wide variety of salads, pasta and pizza — the majority of which is gluten free, including the amazing cheesy bread appetizer.
4669 E. Cactus Road, Phoenix | 602-923-6001
7325 Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale | 480-990-2212
440 W. Warner Road, Tempe | 480-785-0522
8280 W. Union Hills Drive, Glendale | 623-466-0228
Coming soon to Lindsay Field and Williams Road in Gilbert.
The motto here is “healthy food for a happy world” and it’s almost guaranteed that even the biggest health-food skeptic can be won over by Flower Child. It’s a non-nonsense, fast-casual spot where you order at the front and colorful dishes starring perfectly paired farm-fresh ingredients — that cater to a gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo and/or keto lifestyles — are delivered quickly to your table.
Favorites here are the Glow Bowl, a spicy sweet potato noodle bowl with a sunflower butter sauce; gluten-free mac and cheese; the gluten-free chocolate chip cookie; and the New Year special, a keto turkey sausage and zucchini lasagna that was so popular that it’s now on the permanent menu.
Currently, all Flower Child locations are offering 25% off alcohol on to-go orders, available every day. And you can use the code ‘TUESDAY25’ to receive 25% off take-out orders on Tuesdays.
100 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix | 480-212-0180
5013 N. 44th St., Phoenix | 602-429-6222
21001 N. Tatum Blvd., #16-1000, Phoenix | 480-397-5056
10460 N. 90th St., Scottsdale | 480-240-4400
149 S. Farmer Ave., Tempe | 623-250-6003
My Gal Sal Bakery & Cafe
My Gal Sal is a one-stop specialty bakery that operates under the motto: everyone should be able to have dessert, no matter what. That spirit translates to a seemingly endless array of breakfast and lunch options, as well as baked goods that are available gluten free, egg free, vegan, keto, paleo and sugar free. And they can do custom cakes and desserts as well.
They take special care with food allergies in the kitchen, including a separate gluten-free prep room and oven. The best part, according to the owner, is that you’ll find tissues by the cash register because some customers are so moved by the inclusive efforts here that they cry tears of joy.
15820 N. 35th Ave., #18, Phoenix
The Hub Grill & Bar | Union Grill & Tap
Calling all sports fans: Both The Hub and its sister restaurant Union Grill & Tap have excellent gluten-free options with one of the largest gluten-free menus I’ve ever seen at a sports bar. Here you can expect gluten-free beers, ciders, buns, pasta and 10-inch pizzas, as well as chicken tenders that are coated in cornflakes before hitting the dedicated gluten-free fryer. As a secondary precaution, your food arrives with a gluten-free flag.
The Hub Grill & Bar:
1860 S. Stapley Drive, Mesa | 480-494-2699
1925 S. Sossaman Road, Mesa (temporarily closed)
Union Grill & Tap:
1686 N. Higley Road, Suite #101, Gilbert | 480-935-5800
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