gluten free eats

By Carolina Garibay

$ = $10 and under per person
$$ = $10+ per person
Cheap Gluten-Free Places

Dining out while sticking to a gluten-free diet can be difficult, especially for those who have celiac disease or a gluten allergy. You don’t want to be a pain when asking for food accommodations, but sometimes you don’t really have a choice. Gluten-free dining can also be expensive, and though one day you might be willing to spend a little extra money on a nice place to eat, some days you might just be looking for something quick and cheap. Whichever situation you seem to find yourself in, there are several gluten-free friendly options in Champaign that will cater to your needs, and they are outlined in this short guide to gluten-free dining while on a budget. Hopefully, it helps you find something that satisfies your taste buds while also keeping your bank account in check.

The Original Pancake House – 1909 W Springfield Ave Champaign, IL 61821
The Original Pancake House is a great option if you’re looking for cheap and tasty brunch and breakfast food. A great feature of The Original Pancake House is the gluten-free pancakes. They’re made with brown rice flour and cost $7.95 for a whole order or $5.95 for a half order and don’t taste gluten free at all. Sometimes gluten-free pancakes taste a little funky because they have a grainy texture, but these pancakes taste just like the glutenous pancakes and are extremely smooth and fluffy. I got a half order of the gluten-free pancakes, an order of home fried potatoes, and hot chocolate, and my total before tax ended up being $12.20. (It was too much food for me,
though, and I ended up getting a to-go box.)

Meatheads – 1305 S Neil St. Champaign, IL 61820
If you’re in the mood for burgers, Meatheads is a quick, inexpensive gluten-free option. You can substitute any burger for an Udi’s gluten-free bun for a dollar extra or a lettuce wrap. They toast the bun the same way they do the regular ones, so you still get the satisfaction of a burger with a bun while sticking to your gluten-free diet. I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with their Meatheads aioli and cheddar cheese on a gluten-free bun and large fries to share with my brother, and the total before tax was $11. They even asked me if the gluten-free bun was a preference or allergy, so I know they take dietary concerns

Thara Thai – 912 1/2 W Bloomington Rd. Champaign, IL 61821
One of the great things about Thai food is a lot of Thai dishes use rice noodles, which is great news for those sticking to a gluten-free diet. Thara Thai offers an extensive menu with plenty of gluten-free options to satisfy your cravings. The servers here are very
knowledgeable and accommodating when it comes to gluten-free options and will gladly modify anything they can on the menu to make it gluten-free. I got the chicken satay with peanut butter sauce as an appetizer and the pad thai (made with rice noodles) and my total without tax was $20.98. The portions were quite large, so I got a to-go box here, too.

Biaggi’s – 2235 S. Neil Street Champaign, IL 61820
Biaggi’s is a great option if you want a fancier Italian dinner and are willing to spend a bit more money. This place has all of the classic Italian favorites, and many of them can be made gluten-free. Biaggi’s has a dedicated gluten-free menu with plenty of options, including gluten-free pizza and pasta. I have not tried this place yet, but it looks promising.