Milwaukee's Best Gluten-Free Dining Experiences

  • 01 of 05

    Cafe Manna

    Peace Bowl at Cafe Manna. Cafe Manna

    The food at Cafe Manna is so good that even carnivores will be happy. Tucked into a strip mall next to Yogasylum, both lunch and dinner are served daily (except for Sunday) at this 100-percent-vegetarian restaurant. Examples of gluten-free entrees are raw Thai rolls, raw lasagna (instead of noodles there are layers of raw zucchini and yellow squash), and a roasted sunchoke and pesto pizza on gluten-free crust. Four of the desserts are gluten-free, ensuring make the meal ends on a sweet note, including “Chocolacados,” which are two chocolate avocado truffles covered in chocolate ganache. Beverage choices include six wines that are made from organic or sustainably grown grapes. It’s also the first three-star Certified Green Restaurant in Wisconsin and the interior is very eco-friendly, with bamboo flooring and countertops, and carryout containers made from sugarcane, not styrofoam. 

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  • 02 of 05

    Transfer Pizzeria Cafe

    Pizza at Transfer Pizzeria Cafe. Transfer Pizzeria Cafe

    Gluten-free pizza crust? Yes, please! So named for the bus-transfer site across the street, there are 40 or so pizzas on the menu for lunch and dinner. Gluten-free options at Transfer Pizzeria Cafe are only $2 more for bruschetta, pizzas, and desserts; also, the pesto sauce does not use pine nuts. On Monday and Wednesday, gluten-free pizza crusts and apps are served at no extra upcharge after 4 p.m. as part of a “defeat the wheat” special. Thirsty? Gluten-free beers are two-for-one during this time. 

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  • 03 of 05

    Urban Beets Cafe & Juicery

    Taco "meat" at Urban Beets Cafe & Juicery. Urban Beets Cafe & Juicery

    Urban Beets Café & Juicery doubles as a juice bar (with eight options, plus seven smoothies and shakes) and casual eatery (for breakfast or lunch only). Starting with breakfast, one of the smoothie bowls (“Double Berry and Oats”) is made with gluten-free oats, plus strawberry, blueberry, coconut milk, agave and coconut oil, topped with hemp hearts, berry, and granola. All four of the sandwiches and wraps have a gluten-free option, including the cranberry-walnut chickpea sandwich and “raw” tacos. 

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  • 04 of 05

    Outpost Natural Foods' Fork Cafe

    Tomato Leek gluten-free soup
    Tomato Leek gluten-free soup. Outpost Natural Foods

    The Fork cafés are tucked into each location of this micro-chain of grocers specializing in natural, organic and local foods. Despite its small size, there are a surprising number of delicious gluten-free options. A monthly soup menu is released well in advance so you can keep your eyes open for gluten-free selections, always clearly marked (like Spicy Tofu with Peanut & Sesame or Creamy Tomato Parmesan). Gluten-free flatbread is available for any sandwiches in the cafes, too, such as smoked turkey with goat cheese and fig. Plenty of desserts—including gluten-free cupcakes and slices of cake or pie—are also available.

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  • 05 of 05

    Wolf Peach

    Vegan / gluten-free "cheesecake" w/ Earl Grey, blueberry, savory almond crumble, lemon-balm sorbet at Wolf Peach
    Vegan / gluten-free "cheesecake" w/ Earl Grey, blueberry, savory almond crumble, lemon-balm sorbet at Wolf Peach. Wolf Peach

    While a lot of the gluten-free restaurants are more like casual lunch spots, Wolf Peach is different in that it serves nightly dinner—plus Saturday and Sunday brunch. Seven of the wood-fired pizzas on the dinner menu can be prepared with a gluten-free crust for an additional $2: options range from Dry-cured Spanish Chorizo to Oyster Mushroom. There’s a big focus on vegetables here as much of what’s on the menu comes from the owners’ farm or the restaurant out back. This gives gluten-free diners three salads to select from, including one with butter lettuce, preserved lemon, pine nuts, blueberry and lemon-balm vinaigrette, and also a creative gluten-free pasta (Marble Potato with garden-chive pistou).  For weekend brunch, four items are gluten-free: chilaquiles, “smashburger breakfast” (two cheeseburger patties smashed with eggs, hash browns and bacon), corned-beef hash and baked polenta. Plenty of sides are gluten-free, too, like sausage (meat and vegan), Canadian bacon and polenta.