Athens Regional Health System

Eating Out in Athens

If you are restricted from gluten, milk, and/or eggs, eating out can seem a real problem. This page is about restaurants and what to order, both in chain restaurants, and those specific to the Athens, Georgia area.

Best hint: when eating out, going to a dinner party at someone's house, or on the road, just get used to taking gluten-free bread and/or crackers. Don't go anywhere without provisions. 

Most Mexican restaurants offer something the gluten-restricted person can eat, and even avoid meat if that's your preference. For instance, at Agua Linda, get a Vegetable Burrito and open the tortilla to eat the insides. Bean enchiladas or many poultry dishes are acceptable. They also have some delicious fish. Eat your polyunsaturated guacamole and smile.

Captain D's has a lunch with grilled mild fish over white rice with grilled carrots, broccoli, onions and squash.  The dinner adds a baked potato and slaw. Not homemade, but not the worst meal. If you have sugar metabolism problems, do not eat the white rice or white potato. Also, be aware of any white bread/rolls.

The 'better' the restaurant, the easier it is to find an acceptable meal. Most mid-level chains will offer at least a salad and a baked potato, and many now offer sweet potatoes. You can request condiments on the side, or substitute oil and vinegar even on the potato. Be careful about beef and pork when eating out. They have the bad fats.

In Chinese restaurants, ask about brown rice as many have it as an option. Look for dishes that have 'good' vegetables in them: broccoli, cabbage, and others, instead of dishes such as Mongolian Beef, which has beef and is almost all meat. Sweet and sour is almost always flour breaded and fried. Ask about the ingredient in the noodles. Some Chinese and Thai restaurants have rice noodles.

Indian restaurants have a variety of tofu and bean dishes. Dal, a spicy Indian pea soup is very good.

Several restaurants local to Athens, Georgia have great choices, including The Grit, De Palmas, The National, the Last Resort, East West Bistro, Harry Bissett's, Lindsay's Culinary Market, and Five and Ten, as well as many other local eateries.

The Grit always has beans, brown rice and a variety of vegetables, many of which can be served without cheese or sauce. There are high-fat offerings at the Grit - it still pays to be mindful. They also have the Grit Staple, beans and brown rice - add sautéed vegetables and it's yummy. If you are eating gluten free, the Black Bean Chili and tabouli are off limits, because they are made with bulgur wheat. Scan the menu for other offerings.

DePalma's has several offerings that do not have pasta. Chicken scallopine and pork tenderloin coins are examples. Their marinara and fresh mozzarella over their mashed potatoes is an option. (It is not low fat.)

Traditional Italian restaurants that have no pasta-free dishes are a challenge. 

Inexpensive fast food usually requires you to bring bread to substitute for the bun, though many offer salads. Wendy's chili is pretty low fat, or have a grilled chicken sandwich on your own bread. 

If you do not eat eggs, breakfast becomes harder to eat out. However, if you tolerate eggs, grits and breakfast potatoes are fair game.

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