by Simmone Harding

Living a gluten-free lifestyle is a hardship no one wants to hear about. Whether you have Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or looking to cut gluten out of your diet after hearing the array of digestive horror stories, you know the challenge of minimal selections. The disappearance of dinner invitations as friends wonder if you can eat anything at the chosen restaurant. The annoyed look of servers when requesting meal substitutions. Overall frustration from hearing “We don’t have a gluten-free menu” or “Our salads are gluten free.”

Luckily, Austin is a haven for those who want an eatery that offers a variety of gluten-free options. As someone who has been gluten free for six years, I’ve taken it upon myself to help out my fellow gluten-free eaters by compiling a list of some of the best gluten-free options in town.

Phoebe’s Diner

533 W Oltorf St, Austin TX 78704

Nestled between a gas station and a vet, Phoebe’s Diner is surprisingly one of the best hidden gems. They offer a variety of gluten-free options for breakfast and lunch within its stylish diner-themed interior. For an appetizer, I highly suggest Phoebe’s South First Tots— tater tots drizzled with red-eye gravy and topped with Swiss cheese, a fried egg, pickled chiles, green onion, and guac. Despite how delicious these tots are, make sure to share them or risk losing your appetite and missing out on the rest of Phoebe’s mouthwatering gluten-free meals. In addition to having gluten-free bread at no additional charge, my top gluten-free picks at Phoebe’s include the Chorizo Hash, Crab Cake Benedict, and Fried Chicken & Grits.

Kerbey Lane Cafe

2606 Guadalupe St, Austin TX 78705

3003 S Lamar Blvd, Austin TX 78704

Kerbey Lane Cafe is a prime example of the phrase “worth the wait.” Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Kerbey Lane is the solution to your late night sweet tooth. Not only does Kerbey Lane have some of the best gluten-free French toast that I have had the pleasure of eating, but their gluten-free pancakes remain unchallenged. Kerbey Lane knows there is nothing better than a flavored pancake, which is why they introduce a new pancake flavor every week. The highlights of the gluten-free pancake flavors this summer include creamy banana spice, cocoa banana, oatmeal raisin, cinnamon peach, and lemon poppy. Prefer savory over sweet? Try their Chicken Pesto Panini or Chipotle Chicken Club with gluten-free bread, of course.

The Pizza Press

404 W 26th St, Austin TX 78705

If you don’t eat gluten, you know how disappointing gluten-free pizza is— a thin crust pizza with a similar consistency to cardboard. The Pizza Press has answered our prayers with a gluten-free crust that tastes and feels like the real deal. The collection of 1920s Americana newspaper-inspired pizzas include The Tribune and The Chronicle. Don’t forget to try their signature Garlic Cheesy Bread with gluten-free crust! Even better, they are the Chiptole of pizza restaurants with their Publish-Your-Own pizza option. I’m not going to tell you how to make your own pizza, but if I did… gluten free crust, spicy red sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, hand-crumbled feta, grilled chicken breast, kalamata olives, spinach, and basil pesto. You can thank me later.

Snarf’s Sandwiches

1404 S 1st St, Austin TX 78704

2901 Medical Arts St, Austin TX 78705

Most sandwich shops are overrated; a tiny sliver of meat placed on some bland, crumbling gluten-free bread that is not at all appetizing. Thankfully, Snarf’s Sandwiches is not your typical sandwich shop. They offer a decent selection of classic and speciality sandwiches, and Snarf’s does not skimp on the meat or toppings. My favorite? The Rotisserie Chicken & Swiss specialty sandwich. The best part: gluten-free baguettes. They only come in the seven inch size, but beggars can’t be choosers when it comes to the best gluten-free bread around.

Torchy’s Tacos

1822 S Congress Ave, Austin TX 78704

2801 Guadalupe St, Austin TX 78705

This would not be a guide to gluten (free) in Austin if I didn’t recommend tacos. If you’re an Austin native, you are well aware of the infamous Torchy’s Tacos. If not, allow me to enlighten you. They have a specialized gluten-free menu and it’s huge. My top Torchy’s picks includes their Wrangler breakfast taco (eggs, potatoes, and smoked beef brisket on a corn tortilla) and the Crossroads taco (smoked beef brisket, grilled onions, jalapeños, cilantro, avocado, and jack cheese on a corn tortilla). Let’s not forget the green chile queso. It’s topped with guac, cotija cheese, cilantro, and diablo sauce, giving it the perfect kick that every queso wishes it had.

Go forth and eat good food, my gluten-free friends.