Welcome to Gluten Free Staten Island

Gluten Free Staten Island is your directory to gluten free friendly places on “the forgotten borough” where you can eat without fear. We welcome your own experiences and suggestions — eateries are tagged by category and by neighborhood.

Staten Island is all about community despite a population of ~500,000. Let’s make that community gluten free friendly.

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GFSI Review: The Top 5 Gluten-Free Alcoholic Drinks

Let’s get real here – gluten-free beer can quench your thirst or send you scrambling for a glass of water to rinse away some nasty residue. I formerly loved beers, so I was kind of sad to realize I had to give ’em up when I went gluten-free. Luckily, there are a handful of beers I deem “almost as good as their wheat-y equivalents.” Here’s a list – just in time for BBQ season – for some brews to go with your burgers this summer.

5. ngb Gluten-Free Lager. Available at Trader Joe’s. This beer is a sorghum-based beer, and it’s a little fruity without being overpowering, but it’s still really satisfying. It’s very easy to find, and usually satisfies my cravings for a beer.

4. New Grist, brewed by Lakefront Brewery, is a great lighter beer (similar to a shandy.) I think it’s the perfect accompaniment to a light meal, or great by itself when you relax on your porch. You can learn more about it and where to buy it at Lakefront Brewery’s site.

3. Redbridge, brewed by Anheuser-Busch. I think this is closest to actual beer. It’s “darker” and mimics a more traditional beer. That said, if you didn’t like regular beer before…you won’t like this one. Bonus points: if you’re visiting an Anheuser-Busch property, like their brewery or Grant’s Farms in MO, you can try bottled Redbridge for free! I did!

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2. Okay, this one is technically not a beer…but it deserves a mention. McKenzie’s Lazy Lemon Hard Cider is refreshing and perfect for sipping in the sunshine. If you’re groaning at the mention of a cider (hard apple cider is usually my go-to when I’m at a bar that doesn’t stock gluten-free beer), stop right there! I love McKenzie’s because it’s sweet but not overpoweringly so, especially when you chill it. It’s a little bit more sophisticated than spiked lemonade, and one of the first beers I’ll be nabbing when it hits the shelves at Trader Joe’s for the summer season.

1. Dogfish Head Tweason’Ale. This beer is stellar – fruity and memorable without being overpowering. It’s made with strawberries – what’s not to like? It doesn’t taste like traditional beer, but with this taste – you don’t want it to.

GFSI FYI: According to my research, Champ Beverages at 2248 Hylan Blvd carries Redbridge and a variety of hard ciders. I’ve never been, but it seems worth checking out! Telephone is 718-979-6610.

You also may want to check out Gluten-Free Drinkers United on Facebook for more suggestions. (Hey, I never said this blog was healthy! Just gluten-free!)

We welcome any suggestions for beers or places that carry your favorite gluten-free alcoholic beverages!

 

 

GFSI Review: Olive Tree Marketplace

Olive Tree Marketplace

1490 Clove Road

Staten Island, NY 10301

Website and Catering Menu

718-816-1700

This will be a non-traditional GFSI Review for a non-traditional gluten free experience: catering. Olive Tree Marketplace, conveniently located close to Wagner College and St. John’s University, offers both prepared gluten free foods and an extensive gluten free menu for catering and advance orders. Chef Hani Qassis was excellent to work with – impeccable service and delicious food from the time we inquired to our event day!

Olive Tree Marketplace offers several gluten free items ready for pick-up – when we checked the place out, the gluten free food available included eggplant parmigiana, chicken parmigiana, chicken francaise, and pasta with pesto among other options. All were priced under $10. (I apologize for the lack of photos! For an extensive gallery, you can check out their website here:

For our (fairly large) event, we ordered several trays of food, including:

-Beef sirloin and broccoli with a garlic hoi sin sauce

-This was awesome – and so not what I expected! The beef was tender, slightly sweet and flavorful, and the broccoli absorbed the flavors well. The dish reminded us of Chinese take-out…in a really good way.

-Eggplant parmesan

-It’s traditional, and in my opinion, indispensable. I enjoyed it very much.

-Chicken marsala

-This was good, but lacked the thickening of a traditional marsala sauce. I preferred the other options.

-Chicken and artichokes with garlic sauce

This was excellent – it was served with a garlic red sauce.

-Penne ala vodka

Yum. Perfect. Wide penne noodles (the non-gluten-free people seriously didn’t know the difference.)

I highly recommend working with Olive Tree Marketplace for any of your gluten free events. It was a total pleasure to work with Chef Hani and he was extremely accommodating and understanding of my wheat allergy. Not only does this place have great service…he has also cooked for several U.S. Presidents! You may not be able to eat in the White House…but you can eat like the White House once did.

Waitstaff: A

No waitstaff here, but the service we received was excellent, personable and speedy. The chef requires a few days in advance to prepare gluten free food en masse, but it was so worth it! He said he can make anything on the menu gluten free. And after eating this food – I believe he definitely can deliver on that promise.

Ambiance: N/A 

Food: A+

The Italian food we ordered was fantastic. Best of all, the non-GF people had no idea they were eating gluten free. (Everyone usually has that one qualifier…”It’s good…for gluten free food.”) You won’t say that with Olive Tree Marketplace. At long last, there is a place on Staten Island where you can order all the Italian food Staten Island is famous for! I’m excited, and you should be, too.

GFSI Review: Mangia Healthy Kitchen

Mangia Healthy Kitchen

20 Jefferson Boulevard

Staten Island, NY 10312

Website and Menu

718-356-4400

A waitress tipped me off that this new restaurant had opened in November and had “gluten free options.” (Since the meaning of that can vary from gluten free pasta only to their normal sandwiches on gluten free bread, I was dying to check it out.)

The restaurant is located next to Ocean Sushi in Annadale, in a corner of a small shopping plaza. The sign is hard to spot from the road, but the restaurant is located in the vicinity of Annadale Diner, to give you a decent idea of the area. There is a small parking lot and I was able to find a space easily enough, but I imagine during lunch hour it can get quite busy.

Waitstaff: A

Inside, there are four to five tables. You order at the counter and your food is brought to you, but there’s no table service (think deli-style atmosphere.) A friend and I grabbed a table at the back. The service I received was friendly and prompt — they were quick to mention that you can customize your sandwich or wrap easily if you don’t see any combinations you like on the menu.

Ambiance: A-

It’s a deli-style restaurant. Everything was clean and I was able to find seating easily, but I wish there were more seats. I hope maybe one day they’ll expand…but for now, the setting works and space is utilized well.

Food: A+

I said this on Yelp and I’ll say it again…RUN here if you need to eat gluten free. The options are extensive, there is a dedicated fryer (the only of its kind on Staten Island, as far as I know) for gluten free, and the food is downright delicious. I sense lots of delivery from here in my future. I ordered a chicken, broccoli and mozzarella wrap with balsamic glaze. It was awesome, see below:

The chicken, broccoli and cheese wrap I ordered from Mangia Healthy Kitchen on Staten Island.

The chicken, broccoli and cheese wrap I ordered from Mangia Healthy Kitchen on Staten Island.

I was also super excited to try a gluten free rice ball (they advertise it as using brown rice, but I’m pretty sure they used white rice in this version.) Nevertheless, it was freakin’ awesome. I am singing the praises of this rice ball to anyone who will listen. It is darn near impossible to get fried, gluten free Italian food on Staten Island. In fact, it’s been impossible — until now. I hadn’t had a rice ball in more than a year until this moment. Not gonna lie, I think I teared up a little. I used to eat boatloads of arancini at my friend’s summer picnics. This was even better. The inside is stuffed with cheese and rice (no meat in here), and it’s fantastic. If you get nothing else…get this. And think of me when you eat it. Maybe I’ll taste it from afar.

This rice ball was made in a dedicated gluten free fryer! That makes me so happy! It was totally stuffed with cheese and rice -- you can see the cheese oozing out in the bottom left corner of the photo.

This rice ball was made in a dedicated gluten free fryer! That makes me so happy! It was totally stuffed with cheese and rice — you can see the cheese oozing out in the bottom left corner of the photo.

Mangia Healthy Kitchen is the best offering on Staten Island if you need to eat gluten free. Its extensive menu and offering of traditional Italian sides (rice balls, stuffed peppers) for the gluten free crowd are unparalleled. I’m so excited to give Mangia Healthy Kitchen the award of GFSI’s Best of 2014 Restaurant Award. This place is an up-and-comer, but it’s already set the standard for any restaurants offering gluten free meals on Staten Island — or, in fact, anywhere in New York.

Note: All opinions are my own. I was not paid for this review.

GFSI News: Goodfella’s Shut Down by Dept. of Health

According to the Staten Island Advance, Goodfella’s pizzeria, located at 1718 Hylan Boulevard was shut down earlier today after a violation from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

From the article:

Among those violations, claims the city agency’s site, is “Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.” In addition, the restaurant allegedly did not have a “vermin proof” facility.

We at GFSI are sad to see that Goodfella’s has not kept its restaurant up to standard. Goodfella’s was one of the best places for gluten free service on the island. We need a new place for gluten free pizza — any recommendations, readers? Leave a comment below.

GFSI News: What is Gluten Free, Anyway?

Jimmy Kimmel showcased this hilarious man-on-the-street skit where he interviewed Los Angeles pedestrians with one simple question: What is gluten?

“What is this thing that you will not eat?”

Jimmy Kimmel

Good question, Jimmy. Gluten free has been a buzz word for a few years now, but it’s relatively new here on Staten Island, where it still feels like it’s 1998. By the time newfangled trends disembark the ferry from Manhattan, they’re already dying. (Like when the Staten Island Mall finally got a Crumbs…and then this happened.)

Is gluten free food magical health food?

Nope – what makes it special is that it’s not toxic to those who have medical conditions. Gluten free food, for the most part, has fewer nutrients than its gluten counterparts, along with more sugar, because something has to compensate for the lack of dates.

Sadly, this is not the case, and many misinformed and well-meaning people who want to take charge of their lives may go gluten free unnecessarily.

What is gluten, anyway? Who’s cutting it out – and why?

Continue reading

Outback Steakhouse

Menu

Location: 280 Marsh Avenue, 10304

Telephone: 718-761-3907

Facebook

Waitstaff: B+

-Staff knowledgeable, prompt and friendly.

Ambiance: B+

-If you’ve been to one Outback, you’ve been to them all. Too dimly lit for my taste…but then again, isn’t that the quintessential rule of steakhouses?

Food: A

-Mmm, steak is always a safe bet. Make sure to order the vegetables without seasoning and check out the comprehensive menu online before showing up. Everything is pretty customizable, though.

Overall: 8/10

-A gluten free staple in the chain restaurant world.

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar

Menu: No dedicated gluten free menu. Regular menu here. You can, however, bring your own tamari sauce (the gluten free alternative to soy sauce) and have the chefs wipe down the grill and cook your food before the others. I didn’t have adverse reactions, but make sure to communicate to the server and chef. For the sake of clarification, I told them I was allergic to soy sauce as well as wheat.

Location: 1718 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, N.Y. 10305

Telephone: (718) 987-2422

Facebook: Chain’s Facebook page

Site: http://partyonthegrill.com/

Waitstaff: B

-The chef cooked my food immediately to reduce cross-contamination. The manager told me to bring my own tamari sauce when I called ahead. I’d still make sure to communicate to avoid mishaps – the soup, salad and dessert, for instance, are mass-prepared in the back kitchen and not in front of you.

Ambiance: A-

-Hibachi dinners are buckets of fun. Maybe leave trying to catch the zucchini in your mouth for your non-gluten free friends. It’s a bit loud inside due to the crowds, so call ahead for reservations if you can. It’s worth the wait.

Food: A

-Food fresh off the hibachi grill is delicious and safe for gluten free people when prepared with caution. Delicious, and highly recommended.

Overall: 8/10

-It’s an experience I recommend. My stomach was bursting with meat and veggie goodness, I didn’t get sick, and it was a good time. Plan to make a reservation if possible, but if you can’t, at least you can pass the time by giggling at the people who are celebrating their birthdays. (Worth it.)

Goodfella’s Pizza

Menu: Regular menu can be viewed here. A gluten free personal pizza is available, with prices variable according to toppings (the Pizza Alla Vodka is a must-try). Although there is no dedicated gluten free menu, they take their gluten free pizza very seriously. Servers and chefs were knowledgeable about cooking and cross-contamination risks, and I was assured they place pizza on its own pan and use dedicated gluten free utensils to eliminate as much risk for cross-contamination as possible. These folks know what they’re doing.

Location: 1718 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, N.Y. 10305

Telephone: (718) 987-2422

Facebook: National Facebook page

Site: http://goodfellashylan.com/

Waitstaff: A+

-Staff knowledgeable, friendly, and prompt. I felt very safe eating here, even with dough everywhere, because the staff was understanding and followed set protocol.

Ambiance: A

-Cozy, feels like the Italian-grandpa-you-never-had’s kitchen, and smells like pizza. What more do you want? Check out the very first Goodfella’s established here on the Island in 1992.

Food: A+

-In a borough where Italian food reigns, it’s surprisingly hard to find a decent gluten free pizza. Goodfella’s nails it every time – the thin gluten free crust can be smothered in any topping you wish, and it’s delivered with a smile. The crust becomes a crispy accessory to fresh toppings and scrumptious sauces – and it’s not a weakness at all. Goodfella’s is the perfect place to bring friends for a slice of Staten Island

Overall: 9.5/10

-I don’t always feel like pizza, but when I do, I go here. Goodfella’s provides you with a great pie, friendly service, and a worry-free atmosphere. It’s hard to find the trifecta of a good meal. (Oh, and they deliver.)

TGI Fridays

Menu: Available as a PDF here, via the Fridays site. Also available at the restaurant upon request.

Location: 280 Marsh Avenue, Staten Island, N.Y. 10314

Telephone: (718) 982-7801

Facebook: National Facebook page

Waitstaff: A-

-Staff not knowledgeable about wheat or gluten (at this specific location), but understanding and prompt when situation explained.

Ambiance: B+

-It’s a chain restaurant, good for families and happy hour. You don’t go for the ambiance, you go for a good time!

Food: A

-TGI Fridays updated their “Gluten Sensitive” menu this May in honor of Celiac Disease Awareness Month (according to one of their employees, when I called the national line). The menu of American-style fare is sure to please, and several items have been added, such as “Sizzling Chicken and Shrimp,” and “Sizzling Chicken and Cheese.” ALWAYS check with your server – one noted that the mashed potato provider may vary and may not be gluten free. Please communicate to your server the gravity of your condition and the need to prevent cross-contamination to ensure a safe dining experience. Better safe than sorry – still, I’ve never been sick here, and the service is prompt and friendly.

Overall: 8.5/10

-Awesome. TGI Fridays are everywhere and it’s a flexible option with choices for gluten free and non- diners. The food is not going to break the bank, but it might break your belt, because you’ll be stuffing yourself. (Okay, maybe that’s just me.)

Dominick’s Bakery Cafe

Location: 31 New Dorp Plaza

Telephone: (718) 351-0040

Facebook (Gluten Free breakfast menu available in photos; served until noon.)

Waitstaff: A

-Staff knowledgeable, prompt and friendly.

Ambiance: A-

-Lovely decor, but can be a bit noisy.

Food: A

-Gluten Free SI’ers will enjoy a creative, approachable menu. I enjoyed a spaghetti squash stir fry with grilled chicken breast and plenty of veggies. Chinese food…without actually being Chinese food. The menu is extensive and sure to satisfy non-GF buddies with traditional Italian fare, sandwiches, and baked goods. Gluten free pound cake and cupcakes are available with 24 hours of advance notice.

Note: Their Gluten Free menu is the “Paleo Menu.” Those with nut allergies should note that the Paleo Panini, Paleo Pizza and other items using their house-made dough are made with almonds.

Overall: 8/10

-I loved it. Great service, creative, tasty food that didn’t make me sick. I’d return and recc to anyone.