Friday, April 19, 2013

Is the Cheesecake Factory GF friendly??

While visiting San Francisco, I decided to stop into Cheesecake Factory for lunch.  Previously online I had found a 44 page allergy info PDF that used to be on their website.  However when I was sitting in the lobby, I searched the website and could no longer find the link.  Hmmmm....

When the waiter came to the table I gave him one of my Celiac cards, which explains my disease and my dietary restrictions.  I asked him to please give it to the chef.  I asked the waiter if the grilled fish tacos would be safe for me.  He went to ask the chef and returned to tell me that I could have the tacos, with no sauce or beans and rice.  I said that was fine.  He didn't offer me a substitution for the beans and rice, so I asked him if I could substitute a vegetable for them.  He gave me my options & I chose spinach.

The meal came with 3 good size fish tacos on corn tortillas.  They were pretty good.  The spinach came and it was swimming in a butter sauce.  Not my first choice, but I guess I should have asked how it was prepared.  Overall, they tried to accommodate me, which I appreciate, especially for a restaurant that doesn't claim to have GF options.

When I got home, I decided to search for more information about their official stance on GF options.  I found a few things disheartening about other people's experiences.  One blogger states he was told that they dust the corn tortilla's with four.  I certainly hope that isn't the case.  I didn't get sick from my visit, but with Celiac Disease, there can still be damage, even if you don't have any symptoms.

I sent a message to Cheesecake Factory asking about their GF menu or an official statement regarding their gluten free options.  This is the response I received:

"Thank you very much for contacting us regarding gluten free items on our menu. We are working towards providing a gluten free menu sometime in 2013. In the interim, I have provided some suggestions below.

Due to the possibility of a recipe change and/or product substitution, we respectfully recommend that you check with a manager prior to ordering. Our managers can confirm your selection and are happy to personally oversee the preparation of your meal. Despite these efforts, we are not able to guarantee against the unintentional or unforeseen cross-contamination of ingredients.

“As featured” Gluten Free Entrees
Lemon-Herb Roasted Chicken
SkinnyLicious Pear and Endive Salad

Favorites that can be Modified to be Gluten Free
Miso Salmon, without Sake Butter Sauce
Fresh Grilled Salmon or Mahi Mahi, without Tartar Sauce
Petite Filet/Filet Mignon, without Onion Rings and Au Jus
Classic Burger or Turkey Burger, without Bun
Caesar Salad, without Croutons

Gluten Free Appetizers Suggestions
Quesadilla, substitute corn tortilla
Fire- Roasted Fresh Artichoke, without Spicy Vinaigrette
Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes, without Tomatillo Cream Sauce
Ahi Carpaccio, without Soy-Ginger Sesame Sauce and Togarashi Aioli

Gluten Free Suggestions from our Kids’ Menu
Kids Grilled Chicken
Kid's Quesadilla, substitute corn tortilla,order without french fries

Gluten Free Salad Dressings
Citrus Honey
SkinnyLicious Mustard Vinaigrette

Gluten Free Dessert Suggestions
Fresh Berries
Ice Cream
Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake (contains wheat husk but no gluten)

We wish you a wonderful visit and thank you again for choosing The Cheesecake Factory restaurants!


Whitney Dunn
Guest Services Specialist"

I will let you make your own decision if you visit Cheesecake Factory in the future.  

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