Tuesday, August 28, 2012

{Gluten Free Review - Cafe Carolina}

Today, a coworker and I went to one of our favorite quick lunch spots - Cafe Carolina.  I knew before leaving the office that I was not going to be able to get my old standby - Chicken Fiesta Wrap.  I also knew that I wasn't going to be able to order one of their cupcakes to take back to my office for an afternoon snack.  

As soon as we arrived, I found an employee that I believe is a manager.  He's been there a while and I thought he would know best about allergens, etc.  I asked if they had a gluten-free or allergy menu.  Unfortunately, they do not.  However, he did let me know that they were willing and able to do the best they could with my requests.

Before we arrived, I was thinking that I would order the Chicken Fiesta Salad.  The more I looked at the ingredients and thought about what I could have, I realized the salad would end up being lettuce, chicken, cheese, green onions, and dressing (all their dressings are gluten-free).  So, I tossed that idea out the window.  I looked more closely at their other salads and realized that the House Salad (without croutons) would be a good choice, especially if they could add the southwest-style chicken.  

I placed my order for my salad and was pleased when it came out.  The salad was pretty large and had a variety of greens.  It also included diced tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and some Parmesan cheese.  The southwest-style chicken was added at my request and it was accompanied by their zesty ranch dressing.


  • Salads always seem to be available
  • Cafe Carolina staff was pretty amenable to my requests
  • All their salad dressings are gluten-free (not sure about my other cross-reactives being ingredients)
  • Cafe Carolina does not have an allergy menu or gluten-free menu.  While I do not work in the restaurant industry, it seems like they could easily provide some options
  • Salads get boring, especially when you can't have them as they are intended (Example: The Chicken Fiesta Salad comes with black beans and corn.  The black beans and corn are mixed together, instead of being added to the salad separately - corn is a "no no" for me)
I have a feeling that salads are going to be my go-to meal in restaurants.  While I know that a lot of franchise/chain restaurants have gluten-free/allergy menus, they aren't really my "style".  So, salads it will be....  since it's kinda hard to screw up a salad.  

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