Gluten-free diet awareness in restaurants is improving throughout the United States, but the level of awareness varies dramatically from restaurant to restaurant, city to city, and coast to coast. There are more restaurants in large metropolitan cities that are aware of the gluten-free diet and have experience in serving customers with special diet needs than there are in smaller cities. But regardless of the size of city you live in, you will have to search out the establishments that can cater to your gluten-free diet needs, and avoid those who can’t.
A growing number of restaurants are now offering gluten-free menus upon request, more and more, eating establishments are analyzing their menu and designating items as “gluten-free.” However, many more restaurants who are aware of the gluten-free diet do not offer a separate menu, because the relatively small demand does not warrant it; they choose to handle gluten-free requests individually upon request. And then, unfortunately, there are too many restaurants to count that have not yet caught the wave. But give them time. They will.
Expect to look at each restaurant individually and ask the same questions of each one. Realistic expectations are important; it’s important that restaurants cater to a customer’s dietary restrictions where they can, but you can’t expect all restaurants to provide a wide variety of gluten-free options, just as you can’t expect a high-end jewelry store to sell cheap watches. Finding restaurants that are gluten-free friendly becomes a shopping experience and can be quite rewarding, like finding a store that sells fashions to suit your personal style.