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May 17, 2013

"Yummm" Is Right: Red Robin to the Rescue

Definitely one of the hardest things about being gluten-free is not being able to just order a burger—or any sandwich—at fast food restaurants. A lot of times you can order the item without the bun on it, but what’s the fun in that? And even though it’s something I’ve resorted to (two McDoubles with no bun, please), I’m always a little afraid they’ll make it on the bun, realize the mistake, and then just pull off the bun and give it to me.

Of course, this need for a gluten-free bun spills over into making your own burgers and sandwiches at home. Yay for burgers wrapped in lettuce and corn tortillas for everything else!

So when I heard that Red Robin started offering gluten-free buns on their menu, I was thrilled to death. Unfortunately, we don’t have a Red Robin in our area, so I had to wait until we happened to be near one on vacation for our first anniversary last week.

Our waiter was definitely one of the best waiters we’ve had anywhere. He gathered my allergy needs right away and very well removed any qualms I may have had by sharing that he is allergic to peanuts and so well aware of the seriousness of food allergies.

I didn’t know I was gluten intolerant for more than twenty years, and so ordering a burger with the bun had of course become second nature to me. So to go without that aspect of such a common meal for now a year and a half was quite the change. I haven’t tried any special gluten-free breads or buns from the store, mainly because the grocery stores where I live don’t have a wide gluten-free selection, and I haven’t yet ventured into the realm of making my own.

So as I sat waiting on our orders to be brought out, simply the thought of getting to eat a burger with the bun was almost too much to handle! As crazy as it sounds, I thought I could actually cry! Besides gluten, I’m allergic to so many other common foods, to be expounded on in later posts, that getting to again eat something that had become just one more of my forbidden foods was quite the feeling!

My burger was lacking a bun at all when brought out (better safe than sorry, I guess!) so the suspense of waiting was heightened all the more as I waited for the bun to be brought. Thus its grand showing on a plate all its own.

I got their Bacon Cheeseburger, and it was, of course, amazing. You would never guess the bun was gluten-free, as the taste was nowhere in the realm of rice or corn or cardboard or anything strange. It was light and almost sponge-like and all around wonderful. 

Behold, the gluten-free burger ... with a slightly damaged bun from the piece I tore off for my husband...

I have found online that Red Robin evidently uses Udi’s and Rich’s gluten-free buns, varying by location, so I don’t know which brand I was served. But it was so good, we actually fit in another meal there while on vacation, and I got the Red's Tavern Double that time. (Do note that the Red's Secret Tavern Sauce, which that burger automatically comes with, is not gluten-free; I had it swapped for mayonnaise.) And I also ordered an extra bun which I now have in my freezer awaiting the next opportune meal.

So, huge thanks to Red Robin for adding lots of happiness to the realm of eating gluten-free. And if you’re ever in the Myrtle Beach area, I highly recommend fitting in a meal at their very impressive Red Robin.

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