I frequently spend 3 or 4 hours at a time at Paradise Bakery for work meetings and working lunches. It’s a lively atmosphere, convenient since there are a variety of locations to choose from and of course the free Wi-Fi-. However, considering Paradise Bakery has a fairly specific focus on healthy selections, I’m continually surprised that they offer no gluten free menu and do not carry any gluten free bread. ONE variety of a gluten free bagel would make me a happy camper.
I have the custom salad down to a science and I will say – they have great salad. I’m a very picky salad eater so I’m happy to give credit where credit is due. I’ve asked enough questions at this point that I just hand-build a salad and use the toppings I know are safe. I was a little leery of the chicken as it appeared to have seasonings, but they assured me it was safe and I have had it numerous times now with no reaction.
Another (big) however – they cannot confirm (at least at any of the locations I’ve been to) that any of their dressings are gluten free so I opt for oil and vinegar. This is a simple compromise and I’m perfectly fine with it. The flavors in the salad with a little oil and vinegar so it’s not dry work for me, but I have been told at a couple locations that they either didn’t have oil & vinegar, or wouldn’t be carrying them much longer. ?! Now is it just me, or isn’t it fairly likely that they would need to have at least oil on hand for cooking/baking? That seems like a basic staple for nearly any restaurant to have in the kitchen and I have a hard time believing it’s that inconvenient or expensive to keep some vinegar on hand. Many people, including those without allergies, use plain vinegar on salad for diet purposes.
I actually went out on a limb and tried a “sandwich” last time I was there – no bread of course, just the meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion. Suffice it to say I won’t be doing that again. It was a small plate, minimal food, mediocre meat and not worth the cost compared to what you can get in a salad for the same price or slightly more.
Paradise Bakery is too convenient and necessary from a work standpoint to cross off the list, but considering their healthy image and the fact they are often used as a business meeting place, I’m disappointed they don’t make a better effort to embrace those with allergies and at least provide a clear menu for the gluten free options that are available.