Route One: a haven for endless possibilities of pizza, chicken fingers, sandwiches and all the wonderfully greasy food a college kid could ever dream of.
Route One is the place in College Park where many of us go to get cheap “real-food”: a late-night pizza slice we will undoubtedly regret or maybe a bagel that “cures all” the next morning.
However, for someone who is gluten free, Route One is less of a haven and more of a tantalizing, “what-could-have-been” reminder of all the delicious food that their diet doesn’t allow for.
When I came to College Park, I began investigating because there was no way I would deny myself the right of the Route-One-15 just because of my restrictions. Throughout my first semester, I found a couple restaurants that have gluten free options and learned what they offer and how good they really are (pretty darn good).
Being gluten free is tough, sure, but hey, we gotta stick together, right?
So whether you’re new to town, new to the diet or just gave up with Route One at first glance, here is a list of places to eat at that will satisfy both your gluten free needs and your college-foodie needs:
Mmm, Blaze Pizza. You can smell it from a mile away, see the line wrapped around the tables and now you can finally enjoy it. The gluten free crust they offer is only three bucks extra (which isn’t too bad considering its size) and completely trumps any frozen pizza I’ve ever gotten.
The crust is super thin but still manages to have that doughy texture that draws us all in. For being gluten free, I would say not too shabby.
You may have to wait a little extra for them to make the dough, but that just means it’s special just for you and 100% worth the wait.
If you wake up on the weekends tired and disoriented, still dreaming of breakfast sandwiches and bagels, you are just like me. And you are in luck. Although I have yet to find a fresh GF bagel store (I will update if I do), what I have found is Bagel Place.
You can now confidently walk in and order that bacon-egg-cheese you’ve been craving and minutes later enjoy it on toasted gluten free bread. No longer do you have to salivate over your friends’ delicious breakfasts as you eat your plain meal.
Sure, it’s not the same as a roll or a bagel, but on a Sunday morning, it’s the closest thing to heaven we’ve got.
Whether you are from the Northeast and miss your delis or you just love a good sandwich, being gluten free in a new environment poses a challenge. Thankfully, Jason’s Deli has stepped up to the plate with much more than just GF bread providing a full menu just for us.
Any sandwich they offer, along with one you make yourself, can be served on gluten free bread or with no bread at all. However, their cornmeal-breaded chicken nuggets are probably the most exciting, because let’s face it, when’s the last time you got to order chicken nuggets?
On top of all this, they have sides and desserts (including gluten free cookies) that make you feel like a kid again, with more options than ever.
Noodles often signify a big “NO” when you’re gluten free, especially at a popular chain restaurant, but Noodles & Company can now signal a gleaming “YES” for you.
Their Pad Thai (my personal favorite) is always GF so there’s no need to even alter the noodles. If you’re not into that, many of their pastas can be made to fit your needs such as the penne rosa and mac n cheese. And of course, if you’ve already carbed up for the day, they also offer salads and soups, but where’s the fun in that?
So if you’re gluten free and still looking for that delicious late-night pizza, or guilty pleasure egg sammie, you can finally stop searching and start indulging. Because let’s face it, everyone deserves a little Route One in their lives.