Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cheesecake Factory now has gluten-free menu

The company doesn't seem to be talking about it, but The Cheesecake Factory now has a gluten-free menu, at least at the Jacksonville restaurant.

People have told me that Cheesecake Factory does a good job handling gluten-free customers, and they even had an allergen list available at one point. But the menu is so long that it seemed like too much work to go through it, pick out a meal, and see what the allergens are. And I hate going into a restaurant and questioning the server, who may or may not be knowledgeable.

So, I wasn't going to visit Cheesecake Factory until they actually had a gluten-free menu. I read some blog posts about this a few months ago but when I contacted the company, they said the gluten-free menu wasn't ready yet.

Then last week, a friend told me that they now had a gluten-free menu in Jacksonville. I contacted the company and got no response, and the menu isn't posted on their website. But I called the local restaurant and they told me that yes, they do have a gluten-free menu.

I visited the restaurant last night and was surprised at how extensive the gluten-free menu is. It's actually an eight-page booklet with a lot of choices.

Notably, they have hamburgers with gluten-free buns and french fries on the menu. They also have several pasta dishes with gluten-free fusilli.

I ordered a shrimp and fusilli dish with a kind of garlic and marinara sauce. The taste was excellent, although the texture of the pasta wasn't great.

Now there is a downside: the menu states that Cheesecake Factory does not have a gluten-free kitchen and cross-contamination is possible. It also states that some dishes may have up to 20 ppm of gluten, which is of course the new FDA standard.

So yes, there is a very enticing gluten-free menu, but those of you who are sensitive to any bits of gluten may not want to try it.

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