Paradise Bakery

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.


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  1. Jamie says

    I am in agreement that at a restaurant that serves food, they should at least be able to look at an ingredient list and tell you if the salad dressing has Gluten in it or not. It makes ordering a simple salad even more painful. I have been there several times now for work meetings and end up having a scramled egg dish with hash browns which is fine – but would prefer a salad if possible. Also, pretty clear if they can’t tell you if the dressing has gluten in it or not, it is not made there and comes out of a big bottle produced elsewhere. I have also had several employees there ask me what Gluten is? One said I could not have something because the ingredient list mentioned Soy…. not soy sauce, just Soy. Shouldn’t all restaurant employees serving food at least be made aware of simple food ingredients that are allergens (i.e, peanut, wheat, barley, gluten, dairy????). One Day?

    • gfcritique says

      Hi Jamie – I go to Paradise Bakery frequently and while most of the menu is off limits, I’ve had good luck with building my own salad. They assured me the edamame and corn mixtures are both gluten free so I include those and have had no issues. Apple chips and craisins also give the salad good flavor if you like sweetness. The chicken for the salad was also deemed safe and I have had no issues with it. I always opt for plain oil and vinegar if they have it, but it seems many locations are claiming those aren’t available. The balsamic dressing was the only one they could assure me was gluten free and again, to date, I’ve had no problems after consuming it. Funny you mention the soy. They told me the same thing more than once – that some of the dressings contain soy which has gluten?! Not accurate to my knowledge. Maybe they are confusing soy with soy sauce, which does frequently contain gluten?? But yes, you are right, by this time, restaurants – especially major chains like Paradise Bakery – should be ensuring their staff are educated and understand what gluten is, and isn’t! Let me know how it goes if you try the salad. Thanks for commenting!

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