24-Hours in Austin, a Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free, Allergen-Free Guide
This month I was lucky enough to return to one of my favorite places in America: Austin, Texas! The last time I visited Austin I was still eating gluten. I made it my mission to find the best allergy-friendly establishments in Austin, and found quite a few gems! We rented an airbnb, which meant we cooked breakfasts, however in comparison to other trips we visited quite a few restaurants. Below are my gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free recommendations for Austin!
Better Bites Bakery: While searching for allergy-free options in Austin,Â Better Bites Bakery came up time and time again. While they don’t have a storefront, treats from this top-8 allergen-free bakery can be found in many cafes and grocery stores in the Austin area. Started by a mother of a child with serious allergies, you’d never know that the tasty cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and brownies are totally allergen-free. I wish they shipped to NYC so I could eat their treats year-round. Highly recommended!
Love Puppies: I picked up the double chocolate, gluten-free brownie during my lunch at Torchy’s Tacos, and words can’t describe how good it was! Sometimes I find gluten-free brownies too rich, but this wasn’t the case with Love Puppies. While they don’t have a storefront, these treats can be found at several grocery stores and restaurants in Austin. They currently only have one gluten-free flavor, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for more options in the future!
WildWood BakeHouse: Don’t be fooled by the name of this establishment, WildWood is much more than just a bakery! As the only 100% gluten-free establishment in Austin, WildWood offers brunch, lunch, dinner, and a variety of baked goods all free of gluten. What intrigued me were all the gluten-free takes on traditional Southern food, such as Chicken Fried Steak, Fried Chicken, and more. The brunch is also amazing, I’m obsessed with the Belgian Waffle. Yum!
Bouldin Creek Cafe: This vegetarian cafe is well known for their delicious veggie & vegan options. They have a “mostly” gluten-free menu as well. I loved their gluten-free grilled cheese on locally made sweet sorghum bread.Â Â Some of their pesto contains nuts, as does their asian slaw. This isn’t an ideal option if you have a nut-allergy, but it’s great for those who are wanting to eat a gluten-free, dairy-free meal.
Max’s Wine Dive: Gluten-free fried chicken. No need to say anything else!
La Mancha Tex-Mex: It’s no secret that I love Mexican food, especially Tex-Mex! To make dishes gluten-free, I always ask to swap out a flour tortilla for corn, and most dishes are also nut-free which makes it safe for my husband. With the option to eat a lighter dishes such as salads and ceviche, or super heavy (smothered burritos!), there’s something for everyone. I loved the tavern tacos!
The Shady Grove: Set in the beautiful Barton Springs neighborhood, The Shady Grove was one of my favorite discoveries. With a huge outdoor area complete with live music, it’s the perfect place to go with on a date, or with a large group.Â Offering something for everyone, the menu is a mixture of Tex-Mex, and home cooking. They were incredibly accommodating and insightful about the ingredients in the dishes, and my husband and I were both able to find something we loved off the menu. I ordered tacos on corn tortillas, and my husband had the baby back ribs with chipotle bbq sauce. Yum!
Torchy’s Tacos:Â Started from a trailer, Torchy’s Tacos have now expanded to 30 stores and a trailer park! We visited Torchy’s Tacos as a group, and everyone LOVED their orders. I also give extra points to Torchy’s for promptly replying to my email about allergen info. They informed me that there are no nuts in any of their dishes, except for a quesadilla made with peanut butter (think of a fried PB&J with bananas)Â and a dessert with nuts made off-site. Torchy’s is also heaven for those eating a gluten-free diet as everything can be made with corn tortillas. There’s also an entire Gluten-Free menu, where main menu items are swapped out for gluten-free versions (seasoned versus fried fish, etc.). Also, breakfast tacos all day. That’s right.
The Salt Lick: Established in 1967, The Salt Lick is the real deal. My husband LOVES BBQ, and I must admit I do too! The menu is 100% gluten-free and nut-free with the exception of the desserts, which contain gluten and nuts. What makes The Salt Lick taste different is the use of a BBQ sauce without tomatoes, which prevents the meat from burning or becoming bitter. Their process of cooking meat is a two-step process: first, the meat is seared, then moved away from the hottest part of the fire to cook slowly. Next, it’s finished over an open fire fed by live oak wood. Lastly, they put sauce on the meat four times. The high sugar and acid content causes the meat to caramelize on Â the outside. Sauce drips and hits the coals and the fire flares, the smoke from these flares gives the meat a unique flavor.Â If you don’t get a chance to drive out of Austin to their Driftwood location, they have a restaurant in the airport! Say goodbye to Austin with a classic plate of BBQ!
Rudy’s BBQ:Â Another classic Texas staple, Rudy’s is a casual BBQ joint with amazing meats and sides. Everything is 100% nut-free, and most items are also gluten-free with the exception of the cream corn and the white bread served on the side. With a few locations in Austin, make sure to add it to your list!
Franklin BBQ: Voted as one of the top BBQ spots in the world by Texas Monthly, Franklin BBQ is worth the wait..which I can almost guarantee there will be! Arrive early to get in line for this famous spot. All gluten-free and nut-free, with the exception of the pies.
Austin is an amazing town with endless options for food! While I only covered a few of my favorite spots, there are countless others that I need to try on my next trip. Do you have any recommendations I missed?