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Gluten Free + Fast Casual Deliciousness

***The below article is written by Jennifer Harris, a guest blogger for Atlanta Eats***

Who has the time for a sit-down meal these days? We need it fast, we need it now and we want the quality of the food to be on point. Atlanta’s restaurant scene is home to several ‘fast casual’ restaurants where quality intersects with speed. Dishes are prepared with local ingredients in the same time it takes fast food to be thawed and prepared. And, because these meals are prepared fresh, restaurants can easily accommodate those who want the meal to be free of gluten.

Here are some of our favorite places to grab a quick and quality gluten-free meal.

Arepa Mia (Decatur & Edgewood)

Photo credit: Arepa Mia

Using ingredients that are naturally gluten free and delicious, Arepa Mia prepares traditional Venezuelan cuisine made with grass-fed meats from local farms and seasonal vegetables. They are known for their arepas, a cornmeal flour grilled patty sliced in half and stuffed with meats, cheeses, vegetables, and even sweets. Try the cachapas, fried sweet plantains, tostones, and empanadas.

Bartaco (Buckhead, Inman Park & West Midtown) 

Photo credit: Manny Vargas

This well-known spot has one of the most accommodating menus. With more than 90% of their options gluten free, anything that isn’t is marked on the menu. Their two-bite tacos are served on corn tortillas and include a variety of meat and vegetables. The Roasted Cauliflower Taco with Romesco sauce and the Baja Fish Taco with spicy tempura battered cod served on chipotle slaw are 2 personal favorites.

Bezoria (Midtown & Alpharetta)

Photo credit: Bezoria

This healthy fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant recently opened a second location in Alpharetta across the street from Avalon. Everything is fresh, never frozen, and made in-house. And there are plenty of gluten-free options, including shawarma, chicken kefta, lamb kefta, falafel and customizable bowls with a basmati rice base. They have plenty of vegetarian options too, like the falafel, spiced cauliflower and tomato and cucumber salad.

Chick-a-Biddy (Atlantic Station)

Photo credit: Chick-a-Biddy

The only version of chicken tenders and mac n’ cheese served here are gluten free & patrons can’t tell the difference! Gluten-free options are clearly marked and include homemade pimento cheese (served with veggies and Mary’s Gone Crackers), fried chicken sandwiches on gluten-free buns, onion rings and more.

Farm Burger (Buckhead, Decatur & Dunwoody)

Photo credit: Jennifer Harris

Serving farm-fresh beef burgers on Pure Knead’s allergen-friendly buns topped with local ingredients and hand-made sauces, take your pick from one of their delicious offerings! The daily side and salad specials are just as enticing as the burgers, so check out the selection. Why not top a burger with a fried egg, smoked paprika mayo, and bacon and enjoy breakfast on a bun?

Gusto! (South Buckhead & Poncey-Highland)

Photo credit: Gusto!

Gusto! delivers quality food quickly and enhances the experience with unique pairings of globally-inspired ingredients prepared fresh daily. The menu is simple, but the flavor and texture combinations are distinct. Choose from one of the six prepared bowls, or create your own masterpiece. They offer grilled meats, vegetables and a unique selection of sauces…get creative and define ‘your gusto!’

MetroFresh (Midtown)

Photo credit: Sara Hanna

Serving ‘fresh food, fast’ for more than a decade, MetroFresh specializes in preparing soups, salads, sides, and sandwiches with fresh, in-season ingredients that are locally grown. Their menu creations are almost too beautiful to eat…almost! Pair the marinated kale with baby candy striped beets, pistachios and apples with a bowl or cup of lemon fennel chicken and kale, or order a maple bourbon chicken breast sandwich on gluten-free bread. All ‘GF’ items are marked, making ordering a breeze.

Souper Jenny (Brookhaven, Buckhead, Decatur & West Midtown) 

Photo credit: Souper Jenny

This is ‘the’ place to go for homemade soups, salads, and desserts. With four metro-Atlanta locations, everything is made fresh daily with ingredients from an array of local farms. All daily offerings are labeled ‘GF’ and always include multiple soups and salad choices. The portion sizes are more than generous and demonstrate that bold flavors can be attained using simple ingredients. Dad’s Turkey Chili remains the most popular menu item. Pair it with a roasted vegetable salad and a slice of cake for the full experience.

Urban Pl8 (Krog Street Market)

Photo credit: Urban Pl8

This dedicated gluten-free and paleo restaurant at KSM offers an array of sandwiches, salads, sides, entrees and prepared paleo meals to go. The paleo hash with Patak’s chicken sausage, red peppers, onion, sweet potatoes, zucchini, jalapenos & pico de gallo is a signature dish. Crab cakes, burgers and white truffle chicken salad round out a menu full of local and sustainable fare.

Victory Sandwich Bar (Decatur & Inman Park)

Photo credit: foodistagirl

Wash down a salad, snack or slider on a gluten-free bun with a Jack & Coke slushie at this fun sammie bar, complete with a ping pong table & full bar! With names like Mile High Club and Super Mario, their different sammies are packed with curated meats, veggies and house made dressings. Bacon, lettuce, tomato, basil vinaigrette and lemon mayo make up the VLT, a personal favorite, and at just $4 each, chips are also included with each.

Jennifer D. Harris, based in Atlanta, is a gluten-free consultant and product specialist. After she was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1997, Jennifer began a mission to educate businesses and consumers on the boundless possibilities of living a gluten-free lifestyle.  In addition to offering keen insights on gluten-free products, Jennifer founded the Gluten-Free Go-To Guide to equip businesses with the skills they need to extend their dining selections to the gluten-free consumer. Email Jennifer for more info: jennifer@gfgotoguide.com.

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