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Statewide Bentonville Conway Hot Springs Little Rock Searcy
Statewide Food 0

Eating Gluten-Free in Arkansas

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Discovering that you or a family member have a gluten intolerance can be frightening and disheartening. Learning that the foods you’ve loved your whole life are making you sick is a hard pill to swallow. Navigating menus when eating out to find safe foods can be even more challenging. Fortunately, the commercial food industry has begun to make more packaged gluten-free items, and stores, restaurants and small businesses like these in Arkansas are striving to become more allergy friendly and safe for all diners.

Disclaimer: Individuals with Celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance should always double-check with a business regarding preparation practices and ingredients used to avoid cross-contamination.

Gluten-free Groceries

Good Measure Market – Searcy

Stocking your pantry with gluten-free goods can be a challenge. While many big box stores are beginning to carry more allergy-friendly items, the selection can be hit or miss. Good Measure Market in Searcy realized there was a need for a one-stop-shop for health and wellness products, fresh produce, organic goods, local meats and pantry items for various dietary requirements. Their selection is unmatched, and they’ve partnered with a host of local farms and producers and create a whole line of housemade goods to ensure they always have the items you need.

Meal Prep

Bella’s Kitchen and Wellness – Little Rock

Understanding that families have various dietary needs, Bella’s Kitchen and Wellness set out to provide lunch boxes and take-home meals catering to those needs. Their mission is to nourish you so you can feel your best, and they understand that preparing different foods for each family member can be exhausting and expensive. Bella’s Kitchen offers a variety of side dishes, main dishes, desserts and complete meals that are free of dairy and gluten or are vegetarian or vegan.

Photo courtesy of Dempsey Bakery.

Sweets and Treats

Dempsey Bakery – Little Rock

After discovering a genetic disorder that caused gluten intolerance in three generations of the Dempsey family, Paula Dempsey couldn’t imagine a lifetime of not being able to prepare bread, cookies and birthday cakes for her grandchildren. She sought out a gluten-free baker and opened Dempsey Bakery so other families didn’t have to face the same problem. Their entire menu is gluten-free certified and is 100% gluten, wheat, nut and soy free. Whether it’s bread, cookies, cake, pie, pizza crust or packaged mixes to fill your pantry, Dempsey Bakery has what you crave.

Blue Barn Bakery – Conway

Conway’s Blue Barn Bakery specializes in gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, and grain-free baked goods and has vegan options. Their menu includes cakes, cookies, truffles, bagels and more. Stop in for a housemade sandwich or shop from their selection of allergy-friendly pantry items.

Sweets by Haley G – Bentonville/Online

Haley of Sweets by Haley G began making cocoa bombs for her mother’s Pennsylvania ice cream shop several years ago. Due to her own allergies, she began researching and developing how to make vegan, gluten-free and allergen-free cocoa bombs for herself. Her research led her to make truffles and other items. When friends began requesting her treats, her small business was born. Her small batch of chocolates are dairy, egg, and gluten-free, so it’s safe for people with allergies when they have a sweet tooth. You can order her treats online or in several area shops, farmer’s markets and craft fairs.

Dining Out

Conifer – Bentonville

Farm fresh and 100% gluten-free, Chef Matthew Cooper has brought a culinary concept to Bentonville that is taking Northwest Arkansas by storm. Conifer’s unique dining experience brings cutting-edge flavors and dishes that are fresh, local and seasonal. The menu changes frequently but is always all gluten-free.

Crepes Paulette – Bentonville

Since 2010, Crepes Paulette has been serving authentic French crepes to the people of Northwest Arkansas. The expansive menu includes sweet and savory fillings, which can be served on their savory (and gluten-free) buckwheat crepe. They also have a vast selection of gluten-free soups.

Daisy’s Lunchbox Cafe and Bakery – Searcy

The owner of Daisy’s Lunchbox is gluten-free, so they know a thing or two about serving people with gluten intolerance. They regularly offer a variety of gluten-free items on their menu. All their sandwiches and burgers can be made on gluten-free bread and buns. Daisy’s is known for their incredible cinnamon rolls; they make gluten-free ones several times a month. Let your server know your needs, and they will prepare your gluten-free order in a dedicated area of their kitchen. You can also order gluten-free cakes and treats.

Cafe Bossa Nova – Little Rock

Authentic Brazilian cuisine is within reach even if you follow a gluten-free diet. Cafe Bossa Nova’s extensive menu is loaded with safe, wheat-free options that are clearly marked on their menu. The Brazilian cheese bread bites are always a favorite.

Cafe 1217 – Hot Springs

A popular lunch spot, Cafe 1217 offers a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches and cookies that are gluten-free. Let them know you are gluten-free and they will accommodate your needs. Choose made-to-order entrees from the menu or take home prepared items from the deli case. Cafe 1217 serves Dempsey’s bread and a variety of housemade gluten-free items.

Get Away

Dogwood Hills Guest Farm – Harriet

If you are gluten-free and are looking for a safe and unique getaway, Dogwood Hills lets you experience life on the farm. Stay in their three-bedroom farmhouse, visit the barn, do actual farm chores and enjoy incredible gluten-free farm-to-table meals. If a stay isn’t in your budget, you can visit the farm throughout the year for special classes, demonstrations and gluten-free dinners or order pizza, cookies and more from their weekly menu.

We know that restaurants and bakers across the state are regularly making accommodations and adding menu items that are allergen-free. If we overlooked your favorite gluten-free hotspot, drop a comment below. You can also follow Gluten Free Arkansas on Facebook for updates on restaurants and products available across Arkansas.

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Julie Kohl works from home as a writer and virtual assistant while raising her young son. A former Yankee who was "converted" to the south by her husband, Julie has grasped on to rural life in a sleepy, blink-your-eyes-and-you'll-miss-it town in central Arkansas. Julie loves adventure. Not necessarily "scare-your-pants-off" adventure but the kind where you seek out new and exciting things. New foods, new places, new experiences. On her blog, Seek Adventures, Julie shares about the outdoor and travel adventures of her family as they camp and standup paddleboard across the South. You can also learn more about her writing on her site Seek Adventures Media.

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