Monday, November 9, 2015

Tampa Bay Bucs have gluten-free options, but risky

I made my first visit yesterday, since becoming gluten free, to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa to see the Giants play the Bucs. I discovered that the Bucs do have gluten-free options and do a slightly better job than the Jaguars with gluten-free hot dogs, but it still is risky.

First of all, I was frustrated before I made the trip because I couldn't find anything on the team or stadium website about gluten-free options, so I sent an email asking about them and received no reply.

My friend who has contacts in the stadium office was able to get a link to a concession list that did indicate gluten-free hot dogs are available at Bucs games, so I decided I would try to eat at the game. Since it was a 4:00 start, I knew I would get hungry before the game ended and would need something.

Just like they do it at EverBank Field, instead of having a dedicated gluten-free cart (which is how I think every team should do it), the Bucs offer gluten-free hot dogs at their regular concession stands. Unlike the Jaguars, it appears the people working at the concession stand actually have some knowledge about what a gluten-free bun is, so that's good.

The gluten-free options are not listed on the menu board but there was a note on the board that said "ask about our selection of gluten friendly items." So I walked up and asked the guy at the cash register, and I noticed he actually had a button on the register for a gluten-free hot dog, so there was no mystery. Then I watched him go to the back of the stand and yell out "gluten-free hot dog," so I felt like I would get the correct hot dog.

Sure enough, I did get a hot dog on an awful bun that could only be gluten free. The bun was so bad that I only ate about a third of it and then removed the hot dog and ate the rest bunless.

The down side to all of this is that there is undoubtedly a risk of cross contamination, because I see no reason to believe the Bucs have any procedures to prevent that. Not everyone will want to take a chance, but I was hungry and I did.

I should also mention that the list my friend received said the Bucs sell Angry Orchard cider but no gluten-free beer. But I didn't even see Angry Orchard on sale anywhere in the places I looked.

So yes, you can survive a Bucs game but if you have options, you probably want to consider eating before or after the game to be safe.

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