Nowadays you can walk into almost any restaurant and be confident that they will have some sort of allergen-friendly menu. Unfortunately, that does not guarantee that you will have many options. Luckily, there are tons of restaurants around UCF where your options are plentiful, tasty and affordable (even on our college budgets). Whether you have celiac disease like me, have an intolerance, or choose to be gluten-free for other reasons, here is a list of ten places you can find amazing gluten-free food options around UCF.

10. Pei Wei Asian Eatery

Asian food is quite possibly the most difficult cuisine to find gluten-free options for, due to the presence of wheat in soy sauce; however, Pei Wei has gluten-free options available. 

Choose from two of their gluten-free stir-fry sauces (spicy or sweet and sour) for your rice bowl and ask for wok-seared chicken or shrimp. Start your meal off right with a big bowl of edamame, or some GF chicken salad rolls.

I recommend: Wok-Seared Sweet and Sour Chicken and edamame.

9. Hummus House

Create your own salad or rice bowl at this delicious and affordable Mediterranean counter. Choose a chicken, falafel or veggie base, and top it with any of their six homemade hummus options. And the best part? Everything will be under $8.

I recommend: Falafel anything. Go traditional and top it off with your favorite fresh veggies, plus their homemade tzatziki and roasted garlic hummus. Your taste buds will thank me.

8. Cooper's Hawk

Whether it's date night, girl's night or you just want to celebrate that A you got, Cooper's Hawk is the place to go. They have a five-page gluten free menu, which includes gluten-free buns, penne pasta and dressings. They make sure you feel included from start to finish, offering a gluten-free bread to start and five (yes, five!) dessert options to satisfy the sweet tooth. Oh, and they don’t charge extra for any substitutes.

I recommend: Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps to start (and split!), followed by the Roasted Butternut Squash and Brown Butter Cream Pasta (with gf penne).

7. California Pizza Kitchen 

Finding gluten-free pizza is actually much easier than you think. CPK offers gluten-free pizzas, prepared using certified GF crust in a dedicated part of the kitchen. Not a pizza fan? They have plenty of salads, soups and main plates to choose from, and even if it isn’t noted gluten-free, they can definitely make substitutions for you.

I recommend: The Original Barbecue Chicken Pizza or the Waldorf Chicken Salad.

6. Zoës Kitchen

I call Zoe's “the Mediterranean Panera bread.” Start with the hummus trio and ask to sub the pita chips for more fresh veggies. All of their sauces are gluten-free, and where else can you get a full kabob meal for $10?

I recommend: Quinoa salad with chicken or Chicken kabobs with Greek salad and marinated slaw.

5. 3 Natives

Alison Cavicchi

Get down with the acai trend at this delicious raw juice & smoothie bar. All of the bowls and smoothies are gluten-free, and any of the wraps can be turned into salads, which are so big they are served straight in the mixing bowl.

I recommend: The Local Acai Bowl or The Veg Head salad. 

4. Sweet by Holly

While you may not get to indulge in the midnight cookie deliveries or over-the-top milkshakes, your sweet tooth can still be satisfied. Sweet by Holly offers gluten-free cupcakes and a frozen yogurt bar. Check in to see what flavors are on the menu each day (and then buy one of each because they're that good).

I recommend: A chocolate cupcake and fro-yo (Why limit your happiness?). 

3. Wahlburgers

chicken, vegetable, tomato, steak, beef, meat, lettuce, salad
Alison Cavicchi

Wahlburgers offers gluten-free buns, or you can order your sandwich/burger “chopped style,” meaning they serve it over a bed of greens. Don’t worry, you still get all the tasty toppings if you opt for the salad. They have a dedicated fryer for the tots, so you can still enjoy this magical side, and finish off the meal with a milkshake.

I recommend: The Thanksgiving Day Sandwich (minus the stuffing) chopped style with sweet potato tots. The menu says it's Mark’s fave, so you know it’s a good one.

2. Toasted

Just when you thought you'd crossed grilled cheese off your list of dinner options, Toasted comes around to fill the hole. They have gluten-free bread available, and all grilled cheeses and burgers can be prepared on this bun. There is a dedicated prep station and a separate fryer as well. Best of all, their truffle fries are gluten-free too.

I recommend: Holy Basil Turkey Burger (and truffle fries of course).

1. Blaze Pizza

While I also cried knowing I wouldn’t get to experience the UCF tradition of Lazy Moon, I sucked up my tears once I discovered Blaze. They have gluten-free dough available, which is pressed on a separate crust maker, and all the employees will change their gloves if you ask. All of the meats are labelled so you know which are GF, and other than that you are safe to order whatever you want!

I recommend: Build-your-own. For $10 you get exactly what you want.

And there you go. Whether it be an entire gluten-free pizza at midnight or a sweet treat during your study break, satisfying that craving is easier than you think.