Category: Chicago

Burger Bar Chicago: Restaurant Review

I’ll admit it: I got really excited when I saw an email from the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center inviting me to the first-ever Chicago meet-up for people with celiac–like might have jumped out of my chair excited.

Okay, now you may be asking what I asked myself–how the heck does a big city like Chicago not already have a celiac meet-up?! Well, who knows.

Nonetheless, I’d never been to the meeting spot {Burger Bar Chicago} and even glancing at their website/menu had me a bit weary of whether they were celiac safe, or gluten free fad safe. The menu simply has a gluten free bun option, without indication of precautions taken/not taken, etc. I had to stretch outside of my comfort zone and put my trust in the fact that my own celiac center picked the darn place but I still called to ensure other allergens could be taken care of.

They were able to give me anything other than the french fries (made in soybean oil, but 100% gluten free for others who are curious!), so I customized my hamburger {see that stack below!} and had a side salad. I requested my hamburger be made on foil, out of an abundance of caution for my hyper-sensitive celiac stomach, and the request was easily accommodated.


It was a tasty, fun time and over FIFTY PEOPLE showed up!

Celiac people+family/friends/kids all chowing down on some delicious, safe hamburgers is my kinda night.

I’ll definitely be returning.

Take it easy, but take it.


Summer House Santa Monica Chicago: Restaurant Review

Moving back to my hometown of Chicago at the start of this month meant it was time to take on the task of finding 100% safe places to eat [especially after 4 years in Ann Arbor, with a total of a whopping 3 safe places].

As most of you know, I am practically the most sensitive celiac that exists, according to my physician and world renown celiac specialist at least. Cross-contamination takes on a whole new meaning in my life, as even as molecule of gluten and I’m down and out for a week. On top of my strict gluten free eating, I’m anaphylactic allergic to shellfish and severely intolerant/allergic to soybean oil, peanuts, pistachios, and cashews.

I called Summer House Santa Monica, located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, after seeing they’d be serving food at the University of Chicago Celiac Disease benefit, and  I was assured they could safely prepare a meal for every single one of my food needs. They mentioned that I would speak to a manager, chef, and my  waiter upon arriving for a full allergy protocol to take place. I’m usually quite anxious when it comes to dining out, but after arriving at Summer House, I knew I was in good hands.

Upon being seated with a personal friend as a waiter (which is so much fun!), I spoke to a manager who explained that all soy sauce used in marinades was wheat free tamari and that no soybean oil was ever used in the kitchen. Additionally, shellfish was never placed on the grill and the grill was kept 100% gluten free. I couldn’t believe my ears! He simply explained that the investment in the small changes was worthwhile to be able to serve individuals with allergies more simply and effectively. Amazing!

I ordered from their extensive gluten free dinner menu (they have gluten free brunch and lunch too!) and chose the Ahi Tuna Toastadas and Roasted Jalapeno Cauliflower to share with my family for appetizers and the Ancho-Marinated Amish Chicken Taco Platter for dinner. All dishes were stunning in presentation and flavor.

Ahi Tuna Toastadas
Roasted Jalapeno Cauliflower









Ancho-Marinated Chicken Taco Platter


Of course, I waited a full week to write this review to ensure I was feeling 100% well. Summer House took utmost care of me and my needs–there’s nothing better than delicious food that leaves you feeling absolutely perfectly. I cannot wait to return.

What’s your favorite celiac-safe/food allergy friendly restaurant in Chicago? I’d love to review.

Take it easy, but take it.