Your friends are talking about going out to eat. Immediately, your anxiety sets in, and you’re fumbling through Yelp to find the closest restaurants with options that fit your dietary needs.
I’ve been there. As a former vegan who is lactose intolerant and allergic to gluten and nuts, finding a place to eat isn’t always easy. Fortunately, more restaurants are getting the memo, offering allergen-free menu items and vegan and vegetarian options.
Here are some restaurants in the area that accommodate for every occasion, even for your friends without dietary restrictions.
Bareburger – 463 N. High St.
Bareburger is the holy grail of accommodating burger joints. I first went to Bareburger this summer in New York, where the restaurant was founded. I was so excited to find the restaurant in Columbus.
The burger spot boasts a menu that is one-third vegetarian and plant-based, according to its website. Bareburger labels its menu for vegan options, nuts, GMOs and gluten-free items.
The fast-casual joint offers an Impossible Burger and a Beyond Burger — plant-based burgers by Impossible Foods and Beyond Meats, respectively — and its own veggie burger recipes to suit every veggie burger fan, as well as a Beyond brand hot dog. You can also build your own burger with several fun and flavorful toppings such as caramelized onions, pickled red onions and alfalfa.
The staff cooks food in separate fryers, pans and grills to ensure there is no cross-contamination, according to its website. Bareburger also offers a hard-copy allergy chart so customers can see all the allergens in every food.
The vegan milkshake is heavenly, but a bit pricey at $8. The restaurant is fairly expensive in general for a fast-casual feel, especially if you get a side — such as french fries and onion rings — with your meal. I still believe the food is worth the price every once in a while.
My order: An American burger on a gluten-free bun with no cheese. The stone-ground mustard is an amazing addition, as well. My total was $20.46 with tip.
Blunch – 2973 N. High St.
I didn’t develop a gluten allergy until I was in high school. It was hard to stop eating sandwiches and my favorite cereals, but of all the food I had to give up, I miss breakfast the most, which is why Blunch — a breakfast and lunch place — is near and dear to my heart.
My personal favorite from the menu: gluten-free pancakes. The pancakes are a bit sweet, almost like a pastry, but delicious. They also sell the pancake mix in store, so you can make them at home.
The bright, energetic and highly Instagrammable restaurant labels its menu for vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free options.
My order: “Better than Basics” pancakes. My sides are usually fruit or bacon. My total was $12.50.
Melt Bar and Grill – 840 N. High St.
I was an instant fan of Melt Bar and Grill. Its speciality is cheesy sandwiches, but it has options for everyone.
The website states, “We want all our customers to enjoy Melt worry-free.”
Melt is a great spot if you’re looking for adventurous flavors and hearty sandwiches, such as the mighty macaroni or Cleveland cheese steak. The restaurant offers separate gluten-free and vegan menus.
You don’t have to miss out on any of Melt’s cheesy goodness if you’re avoiding dairy, because Melt offers both vegan cheddar and mozzarella cheese.
It uses toasted gluten-free sliced bread, which is also vegan, unlike others that contain eggs or milk. When I ordered, the bread was toasted to a crisp, just the way I like it.
It’s a quirky restaurant with holiday decorations year-round, cartoon murals and arcade games lining the lobby. It also has a sports-bar feel, with televisions all over the restaurant, so customers can watch the game while eating their food.
My order: The El Diablo burger is a must if you’re a fan of spicy food. The burger is rubbed in hot and spicy dried pepper and topped with fresh jalapeno peppers and pepper-jack cheese, and the sweet chipotle sauce is mouth-watering. My total was $20.58.
The Guild House – 624 N. High St.
The Guild House offers food that is locally sourced and made from scratch, according to its website. Usually, the servers are more than willing to work with dietary restrictions.
The menu features labels for vegan and gluten-free options. The Guild House is best suited for special occasions, as it is the most high-end on this list, both in appearance and price. The filet dinner entree rings in at $40.
The inside of the restaurant is beautiful — both chic and rustic with wood furnishing, leather chairs and elegant lighting. The food is classic American and farm-fresh, but emphasizes artistry and presentation. The Guild House uses unique and healthy ingredients.
In my experience, the restaurant doesn’t offer large portions when compared with the average American restaurant, and I wasn’t really full after my meal. However, the experience was memorable and the food very Instagram-worthy.
My order: Smoked Chicken Hash for breakfast with no gouda ($15) and orange juice ($5).
Noodles and Company – 2124 N. High St.
For the most cost-efficient option on the list, Noodles and Company is your spot. The fast-casual restaurant labels its meals for spice, vegetarian, low-calorie and gluten sensitivity with icons.
You can customize any order to make it fit your taste buds or your restrictions. Noodles offers gluten-free pasta, rice noodles, zucchini noodles and tasty tofu. If you have high gluten sensitivity, the restaurant can cook your meals in a separate pan for an extra $2.
I wouldn’t recommend eating at Noodles if you have celiac disease. The website states it cannot fully eliminate gluten from the kitchen with so many noodles around, so people with gluten intolerances and allergies eat at their own risk.
My order: Spicy Beef Korean Noodles with rice noodles and no meat. It never fails me. My total was $6.50.