Monday, October 3, 2011

Gluten-free chicken wings. Finally!

For nine months since being diagnosed with celiac disease, I've been searching for chicken wings. I've been able to find gluten-free options for a lot of my favorite food groups (some good and some bad), but I couldn't find a local restaurant that offered gluten-free wings. I put the word out several times in my previous blog that I was looking, but got no response.
Finally, last week, I got them. Time Out Sports Grill now has a dedicated fryer for gluten-free chicken wings! I've had wings there three times in the last five days, and they were great.
In fact, Time Out, on Beach Boulevard just east of Hodges, added several gluten-free items to its menu for the start of football season. It includes several flatbread pizzas, a hummus appetizer and french fries. And it also offers Redbridge Beer. Just about everything a celiac needs to watch football.
I actually wrote about Time Out's gluten-free efforts in my last column for The Florida Times-Union, which appeared in print after I left the paper but was never posted online, so many people probably missed it.
Time-Out's gluten-free options bring up two points:

1) It isn't so hard for a restaurant to accommodate gluten-free customers. I realize that some restaurants may not think it's cost-effective to come up with a gluten-free plan that will serve relatively few of its customers. But Time Out General Manager Claudia Starus looked into it and was able to find ways to make it work.
2) As many people say, when you're diagnosed with celiac, you should talk to the management of your favorite restaurants to see if they can find ways to serve gluten-free food. Basically, Starus began looking into this after I talked to her about it several months ago.

There may be more good wing news out there. I've been told that Hurricane Grill & Wings is offering gluten-free wings at some of their Jacksonville area restaurants. I hope to find out more about that in the next few days.
And if you're looking to make wings at home, Ken's Salad Dressings has a new buffalo wing sauce that is gluten-free, as are many of Ken's products (you can see a list here). I had been making wings at home with Ken's sauce, baking them in the oven. But it's not the same as getting them deep fried in a restaurant. I'm so happy that they are finally available in Jacksonville.

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