(This article was originally written for and published by Fabulous Arizona)
Written by Ali Dugaw
It’s the happiest hour of the day–and there’s no need to miss out, even if you’re gluten free. Dive into happy hour at these five Phoenix area restaurants, each offering plenty of gluten-free fare.
Newly opened in Downtown Phoenix, this hip palm tree-lined outdoor spot makes you feel like you just walked into Miami. Happy hour is available on weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. You can find $6 wines, $7 frozen cocktails and sangrias. While Palma can’t guarantee any of the happy hour snacks are gluten-free (the fries are in a shared fryer), they do have a regular gluten-free menu with sushi, salads and desserts to share with your friends. And the vibe makes up for it!
This Arcadia neighborhood spot literally means “neighbor” in Spanish. But it has turned into a hot spot for foodies from all over. Happy hour is the best time to visit. Between 4 and 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, you’ll find the only gluten-free karaage in Arizona. Karaage is Japanese-style fried chicken, and Vecina serves it with a citrus gastrique and lime for $14. You can also sub out the flour tortillas for corn, and get the white bean puree with crispy short rib for $14. And anything fried at this establishment – including tortilla chips – is tossed in a gluten-free fryer. Drink specials include $6 house wines, $10 margaritas and palomas and $5 featured craft cans of beer.
You have to show up early to get a seat in the bar or patio area to enjoy this longtime classic happy hour at Roaring Fork, offered every day from 4 to 6 p.m. and all day on Mondays. The piece de resistance is the Big Ass burger for $12.50; get a lettuce wrap to replace the bun. Among many of the gluten-free happy hour options include the mixed market greens or iceberg BLT salad for $6.50 each, chicken tinga tacos or green chili pork for $9 (as long as you substitute the flour tortillas for corn) and the smoked chicken wings. Maybe the best deal of all: six of Roaring Fork’s classic cocktails are $7 and nine of its wines are $6.
Gilbert, Scottsdale and Phoenix
Happy hour happens twice a day at Sushi Brokers: 3 to 6:30 p.m. and then again 10 p.m. to close. Choose from steamed edamame, one-piece sushi for $2.50 and various sushi rolls from $4 to $12. Just make sure to ask for the gluten-free soy sauce and avoid anything with tempura and imitation crab. Drink wise, you can get $4 to $6 cocktails and $2 off all glasses of wine.
Seven Arizona locations
If you want to get the good times rolling early, Barrio Queen’s happy hour runs from 2 to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Since the restaurant uses mainly corn products and a dedicated fryer, most of the happy hour food options are gluten free. Choose from a pork tinga stuffed poblano pepper, crunchy chicken flautas and chile verde or chile rojo – all for $7. Grab a house margarita or a well drink for $7 or a house wine for $5.
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.