5 gluten-free comfort meals in Phoenix

By Ali Dugaw

(This article was originally written for and published by Fabulous Arizona).

It’s that time of year where the temperatures are coming down and let’s face it, so is our will power. What do you say we cave into the holiday guilty pleasures together and delight in these amazing stick-to-your-ribs, warm-your-soul types of gluten-free dishes offered in the Phoenix area?

Glazed Short Rib Pasta at North Italia

Multiple locations

When I think comfort, I think pasta. Leave the breadcrumbs on the side and replace the cavatelli with gluten-free penne, and you have yourself one rich, creamy gluten-free dish. The tender meat falls off the bone, the fresh horseradish gives it the perfect zing and the parmesan sauce serves just enough creaminess to make this pasta feel super homey. To learn more, visit www.northitalia.com.

Grande Royale Burger at The Stand


The Stand is a small drive-thru in Arcadia serving house-ground beef, crisp leaf lettuce, fresh sliced tomato and onion, kosher dill pickles and homemade Stand sauce on a soft buttered and toasted gluten-free bun. Elevate that with thick-cut bacon, grilled onions and homemade ranch–and there you have the Grand Royale! Add a thick homemade shake for the ultimate guilty pleasure. To learn more, visit www.thestandphx.com.

Jewel’s Cafe

Chicken and Waffles at Jewel’s Café


I would call the majority of the menu at Jewel’s comfort food–with items like cheese curds, doughnut holes and biscuits and gravy. But they’re known for their chicken and waffles. The buttermilk fried chicken is tender but crispy (and spicy, if you like). The waffles are fresh and fluffy, and the buttermilk syrup is thick and served warm. There’s also a chicken fried mushroom version for a vegan option. To learn more, jewelsgfcafemenu.com.

Buffalo Chicken Tot-chos at Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers

Multiple locations

You know that day after you’ve had one too many, and you’re craving a nap and fried food? This is that meal. Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers starts with a layer of tots–fried in a dedicated gluten-free fryer–then layers shredded buffalo chicken, spicy ranch, bleu cheese and green onion on top. Hot, comforting and filling! To learn more, visit www.coldbeers.com.

Chocolate Chip Pizookie at BJ’s Brewhouse

Multiple locations

A warm, freshly baked gluten-free chocolate chip cookie that’s soft in the middle with crispy skillet-baked edges, topped with rich vanilla bean ice cream. Need I say more? To learn more, visit www.bjsrestaurants.com.

Ali Dugaw has been on the hunt for the best gluten-free spots for the past decade. She currently lives in Phoenix and works as the senior booking producer for “Good Morning Arizona.” Follow her gluten-free adventures at @GlutenFreeTravelGirl and www.facebook.com/GlutenFreeTravelGirl.

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