11 Best Allergy Friendly Meals Around Carson City
Skirting Gluten and Dairy in Nevada’s Capital Without Sacrificing Flavor or Fun
By local writer Shelby Holte
We’ve all been in this situation: Your family or group is deciding where to eat and you’re panicking, knowing that you’ve got a food sensitivity and wondering if you’ll be able to order anything at the restaurant. Or how about this one: Every single date night is the same because that one meal from that one place doesn’t upset your stomach and there’s no use risking it on a beautiful evening. Either way, I see you.
Whether you’re passing through and looking for a great meal on your road trip, or you’re a long time local looking to change up your usual, I’m here to help. The following are my top ten local recommendations for ready-to-go ordering with peace of mind (and stomach!).
Let’s start with breakfast
In the heart of downtown Carson City, you’ll find a warm appearing diner… with… aliens in the window. My friend, you’ve arrived at Squeeze In. You can exhale now because at the top of their menu is a chart displaying symbols to look for throughout the listings that indicate that meal’s compatibility with various sensitivities and lifestyle choices. *Food strugglers rejoice.* Boasting symbols for gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options, you’ll
be eating worry-free at Squeeze Inn. My go-to order is the Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl. It’s loaded with nutrients to prepare you for climbing up C-Hill, or a trip to the lake. To make it dairy free as well, just confirm the cooking oils and you’re good to go!
In the mood to time travel? Stop by our beloved 50’s style diner, The Cracker Box. Outfitted with retro Formica style tables and stools and a friendly staff that will remember your name and “usual”, The Cracker Box offers not only an experience, but an incredible meal. When your coffee mug is full and you’re ready to read the menu, turn to the middle page and take in the breakfast beauty that is Adam’s Special. It’s a breakfast burger (no bun included—you don’t even have to ask!) topped with cheese, avocado, and your style of eggs with a hefty side of home fries and toast on the side. Drop the toast for gluten free, and the cheese for dairy free. Keto? The staff is more than happy to swap the toast for fresh tomato slices and a bowl of cottage cheese. If you’re looking for something with a little more heat, try the Joe Moore for the same meal concept with green chilis instead of avocado.
Mid-Morning Glory and Afternoon Pick Me Ups
Okay, okay I know. I went straight to breakfast and didn’t help you wake up first. Let me right that wrong with a quick coffee recommendation. Old World Coffee Lab will start your day, or jumpstart your afternoon in the best way. Rightfully boasting the title of Lab, Old World is the most strategically sourced, and carefully roasted coffee in town. With oat and almond milk alternatives, the drink menu is wide open for you to power up however you choose. What CAN’T you do after drinking a vanilla oat milk latte?! Old World is on the lookout for folks like you and me because they also have a daily assortment of gluten free and vegan pastries on the counter. Consider your morning handled.
Looking for a nutrition fix? Only a couple blocks away you’ll find So Juicy, where anything you’d find in the produce section can be juiced for a nutrient dense boost to your day in Carson City. Come with a healthy appetite (get it?) because So Juicy is well known for colorful salads and acai bowls too. While there are meat protein options available for salads, this place is an easy to navigate paradise if you follow a vegan diet. Call me crazy, but my go-to order is the Sweet and Spicy juice. It has just the right amount of kick to get me through the day.
If you’ve ever driven town Carson Street, you’ve likely turned your head to see the cutest plaza covered with string lights, a splash pad in the summertime, and a roaring outdoor fire place in the winter. The iconic red brick building on the corner is the home of The Fox Brew Pub, a landing place for all during city events, holidays and truly any night of the year. Whatever you’re doing next St. Patrick’s Day, cancel it and go to The Fox. The local love for this place is tangible, but if you’re like me, bar food can be hard to navigate. Enter: wings. When you’re fed up with cutting a burger with a fork and knife around your friends, wings are the perfect option. My personal favorite are the lemon pepper, but orange siracha is a close second! Keep clear of the garlic and parmesan wings if dairy is your downfall. Ready for the BEST news in the world of food sensitivity? Nearly all of The Fox’s house made beers are crafted to remove gluten and are available on tap or for pickup in the restaurant. Cheers to those of us who haven’t had a beer in years. The wait is over!
Speaking of beer, the landmark neon sign on Carson Street that says BREWERY (you can’t miss it) is the entrance to Great Basin Brewery, a beloved Carson favorite. I’m just going to shout it out: GLUTEN FREE BUN ALERT. I know what it’s like to just want to pick. up. my. burger. The Union has our backs, friends. My burger of choice is the City Burger (hello citrus aioli), but the menu has so many great options. Also of note, if you’re okay with dairy, the gluten-free pizza crust is hands down the best I’ve ever had bonus points for their addition of vegan cheese. Raise your hand if you’ve had a GF pizza crust so dry you had to wash it down with water. An all too familiar experience. Not this time! One waiter told me that the Union’s chef has been crafting this crust recipe for years. A nod of gratitude to you, Union Chef. We’re all coming in for pizza. I’ll have the Bee Sting.
Alright, I’m about to pitch you the simplest order on this list. No substitutions are required. Next time you’re hungry for Thai Food, grab a table at The Basil and enjoy the luxury of ordering the Yellow Curry as is. It’s gluten and dairy free exactly as presented on the menu. How often does that happen for us? No sacrifices were made this time. This curry is deeply nourishing and delicious. Enjoy your hassle-free ordering at either lunch or dinner!
Carson City’s newest restaurant Nashville Social Club has set the standard for accommodating those gluten-free, vegan, keto and more. Gluten-free fried chicken. Need we say more? They’ve kept some options true to the roots like their angle biscuits but nearly every option on the menu can be made to suit your needs. While you’re there enjoy some incredible live music, and the owner’s mementos from his long career in the music industry.
Tacos. That’s it—that’s the recommendation.
Just kidding, let me elaborate. Mexican food is a fairly safe bet for most of us with food sensitivities. With the ala carte nature of things, usually, we just swap the flour for a corn tortilla, drop the cheese, and we’re good to go. You’ve got a few great options for Mexican food in Carson City *praise hands* but I would send you to a local hole-in-the-wall called San Marcos Grill. This is the part where I repeat my statement: Tacos. Flavor explosion. Grab a margarita and you’re in for a good time. If you’re coming with a bigger appetite the Plato Asada is the way to go, with generous portions of steak, guac, and all the usual fixings.
Alright friends, we’ve nixed, substituted and swapped our way through many Carson City menus, but we haven’t had any glorious fried food yet. A dedicated gluten free fryer is a precious find for us, and this one will send you on an adventure. If you’ve ever seen a blue double decker bus driving through town, just follow it until it parks for the day. That’s The Bus Boy mobile! The owner, Billy, had a desire for everyone to be included in his menu and Billy, we feel it! While the menu has some incredible options, if you’re looking for fear-free friend food, the chicken tenders and fish n’ chips are both phenomenal. You can find their location of the day on Instagram at @thebusboymobile for your next fried fix.
We wouldn’t leave you hanging on quick fixes. Carson City is home to several chain restaurants that are fairly simple to navigate with food sensitivities if you’re on the go or ordering in. Chipotle’s burrito bowl is a godsend on road trips. Just wave hello to us when you drive through down town! On the south side of town, we are proud to have a brand new Chic fil A branch! If you make them aware of your gluten allergy, they can fry your order separately. Thank you for going the extra mile, Chic Fil A! *hears someone shout “My pleasure!!” in the distance*
I wouldn’t be a good food tour guide if I didn’t leave you with dessert. The sweet tooth does not discriminate—even those of us with specific needs have to get a fix sometimes. LA Bakery will blow your mind at desert time. With a whole section of their counter dedicated to gf goodies, you can let your eyes roam and order freely. The offer some of the thickest lemon bars I’ve ever seen. My absolutely favorite order is their carrot cake. It may or may not just be a vehicle for shame-free consumption of cream cheese frosting, but I won’t tell if you don’t.
Wherever you choose to go, I hope you feel well prepared to order confidently! No need to sacrifice flavor or fun to enjoy a meal out on the town. Carson City is full of beloved local restaurants who are ready to meet your needs.
Share this article with your food-sensitive friends to plan your next night out and tag us on Instagram at @visitcarsoncity when you do! We can’t wait to see what you pick!