Kinda Gluten Free at Earl's in Edmonton

Contributed by ABS

Today I went to Earls for a colleagues’ going away lunch. I had previously tried to go to Earls and eat and was completely unsuccessful. Now, it appears they have a better overall understanding of gluten free eating and needs, but then again it is still limited and in my opinion in need of some work. 

They presented me with an “Earls Gluten Aware Menu” (that is actually what they called it) and the choices were limited, but at least there were a few. They had a couple of snacks/sharing items, a couple of salad choices and a couple of chicken choices and a few more steak choices.

I ordered the Cajun Blackened Chicken. It was delicious! It came with warm fingerling potato salad and coleslaw, both of which were also delicious! The presentation on the plate was lovely as well.

While the service was great and the staff seemed to know what I was talking about I still had a few issues with Earls in general with their knowledge of gluten free eating.  Please keep in mind that this is merely my opinion.

Where they go wrong
Firstly, the menu titled “Earls Gluten Aware Menu” has a very limited selection available for those who need gluten free meals. As well, there are asterisks all over the place stating things like “seasonal sauces are removed because of possible cross contamination” or “nuts cannot be included because they are not gluten free.”

This means that essentially these so-called gluten free meal options (e.g., Cedar Planked Salmon) are only gluten free because they are served completely plain. Why would I want to order a salad that has a special dressing and candied nuts on it, but leave those particular items off and have it with ranch or something? Or have plain salmon when my friend gets to have it with a maple glaze sauce that is loaded with flavor. No thank you.

Another issue I had was that at the bottom of the menu there is a blurb stating something along the line of “due to constant cross contamination possibilities in the kitchen we cannot guarantee full gluten free status so patrons with allergies should carry an EpiPen to ensure no anaphylaxis reactions occur.”

Seriously?! This may have been done by head office as a way of ensuring they’re covered if something horrible happens to someone, but it bothers me when people don’t understand that celiac disease and allergy are two different things altogether. That leads me to believe that those who created this menu have no idea what they are talking about.

I could be wrong and I hope others have had different or better experiences, but I can say that of all the restaurants available I would not rush to Earls when looking for gluten free options.

Does anyone have something else to add about Earl's?  Let us know!  We hope to hear that Earls continues to improve their gluten free meal options.

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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  1. As a celiac who works for earls, I can say that I know exactly what you're talking about...

    For example... The candied pecans ARE gluten free, but they're not considered GF solely because they are candied in house. There is constantly all kinds of things going on the prep hall & the risk of cross contamination is very high in my opinion. A LOT of things are made in house. They're not willing to call anything gf unless it is naturally gf ie: lettuce. As servers, we are advised to mention to everyone that our gelato is not made in house and is therefore it cannot guaranteed to be free of nuts. I think just about every ice cream out there says on the label that it may contain traces of nuts.... They're just trying to cover their asses in case something happens.

    This restaurant needs a wake up call as far as dealing with celiac disease, as the clientele with this issue is growing exponentially. A proactive approach is definitely needed...

  2. Thank you for the support! We hope they begin to get a lot more people asking questions to help them come to a realization that they can improve upon their menu.


    --Abisaac Saraga
    Gluten Free Edmonton

  3. Wow I am not alone this is the hardest place to eat a meal and I hate going.Don't do the chicken or salads or samon.I am down too a side order of mushroom and shimp.That is all that works I hope one day they will realize how much business they are loosing because of my diet I get to pick where all my friends go.This is the bottom of my list :}


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