Friday, June 11th, 2010
Appropriate post-YEAH! Burger review…..go get your gluten-free fries and grass-fed bison on a gluten-free bun!
Whoever thought a food intolerance could be so chic? Shaun Doty was the first (I believe) to offer gluten-free dinners on a regular basis. Now, Fifth Group Restaurants has jumped on the bandwagon. Here’s the full story from McCall Mastroianni at Melissa Libby PR:
FIFTH GROUP RESTAURANTS ROLL OUT GLUTEN-FREE MENUS
Atlanta Restaurant Company Offers an Abundance of Dishes for Dietary Needs
ATLANTA (January 27, 2010) – Fifth Group Restaurants®, an Atlanta restaurant company with five dining establishments and a catering arm, is now making it easy for guests with special nutritional needs to enjoy eating out. The national Centers for Disease Control estimates that some 12 million Americans have food allergies of varying degrees of severity. As a result, all Fifth Group restaurants have created separate gluten-free menus and offer instructions on how to order the menu items that might have potentially harmful components for those who suffer from celiac disease. This is one of the first company-wide initiatives in the city’s restaurant industry to cater to guests with food allergies.
“As a company, we are dedicated to giving our guests as many dining options as possible – and that includes options for those with dietary restrictions,” said Fifth Group Restaurants Partner Robby Kukler. “It’s another step in striving to satisfy our current patrons and potential new diners, and with a rise in celiac disease diagnoses, I think it’s a big step that we absolutely must take,” he adds.
Celiac disease (CD) is a lifelong digestive disorder that, upon the consumption of foods that contain gluten, creates an immune-mediated toxic reaction that causes damage to the small intestine and does not allow food to be properly absorbed. Gluten refers to the proteins in specific grains that are harmful to persons with celiac disease, and these proteins are found in all forms of wheat, rye, barley and triticale. Even small amounts of gluten can affect those suffering from CD and cause health problems.
The Original El Taco, Fifth Group Restaurants’ spirited Mexican watering hole in the Morningside neighborhood of Atlanta, provides a list of gluten friendly items that the restaurant serves as well as a list of items to avoid due to gluten content, making it easy for guests with gluten allergies to decipher harmful foods from safe dishes. Gluten-friendly items at El Taco include pozole, ceviche, chili braised short rib and a variety of tacos with corn tortillas such as carnitas, grilled shrimp, veggie, steak and chorizo. Fajitas can also be gluten-friendly when made with corn tortillas. Additionally, all types of beans served at El Taco make for gluten-free side items. The restaurant suggests guests avoid chips, tamales, Mexican pizzas, flour tortillas, Mexico City corn with cheese and anything fried.
At Ecco, Fifth Group’s Mediterranean-inspired eatery in Midtown Atlanta, guests with gluten allergies can nosh on mixed olives, Italian-style pickled vegetables, marinated white anchovies and beef sausage with red wine and sultanas to start the meal off. Other safe bets include mushroom soup with sherry and thyme, a gem lettuce salad with local apples and cheddar, squid a la plancha, and roasted organic chicken thighs with salsa verde. For side items, guests can go gluten-free galore with roasted cauliflower, root vegetables with sherry honey glaze, roasted Brussels sprouts with walnuts, pommes frites with house-made mayonnaise, roasted potatoes with pecorino, and braised Swiss chard with tomato and chilis.
The restaurant group’s neighborhood Italian restaurant in Virginia-Highland, La Tavola Trattoria, makes sure guests with gluten allergies won’t miss the pasta by offering other flavorful foods found in Italy without the wheat. The selection of allergen-free antipasti includes everything from grilled calamari to escarole stuffed with spicy home-made sausage to mozzarella burrata. For main courses minus the gluten, guests can choose from smoked risotto with butternut squash; zuppa di pesce with clams, shrimp, calamari and fish in a spicy tomato-lobster brodetto; grilled flat iron steak with roasted fingerling potatoes and broccoli rabe; veal saltimbocca scaloppine with prosciutto, sage, white wine, roasted potatoes and braised greens; and roasted chicken with black pepper-chili rub and Castelvetrano olives.
Two locations of South City Kitchen®, one in Midtown and one in Vinings, means twice the Southern specialties sans gluten. “First flavors” feature pan-fried chicken livers, low & slow smoked pork bbq, steamed mussels, butterbean hummus and low country pickled shrimp. The “New South Salads” selection make mixed field greens, Caesar salad, cane syrup roasted beet salad, smoked turkey “South Cobb” salad and harvest salad available to guests with gluten allergies. Southern inspired entrees such as sautéed shrimp and scallops with creamy stone-ground grits; seafood jambalaya; roasted mushroom meatloaf with smoked chili ketchup; pan-seared Georgia mountain trout with marinated crawfish; grilled molasses brined pork chop with smashed sweet potatoes and cider-Creole mustard glaze; Coca-Cola braised beef brisket with butter poached bliss potatoes; and grilled Atlantic salmon with roasted spaghetti squash, house-made mascarpone and pomegranate jus give guests plenty of choices to create a meal that is safe yet still enjoyable. Side items like collard greens, Old Bay fries, stone-ground speckled grits, green beans, buttermilk whipped potatoes, Brussels sprouts and smashed sweet potatoes make the meal even heartier.
“People who suffer from gluten allergies suffer 365 days a year, therefore restaurants should offer practical solutions for every meal, every day of the year, too,” adds Kukler. “Everyone deserves a memorable dining experience and it is my sincerest hope that these new menus can make that happen for more Atlantans.”