Wheatless Bar & Grill
When we decided to take a field trip to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY we realized that would require us to find a place to eat a meal away from our home. Something we have done infrequently the last month. First, a thumbs up to Betsy for always taking care of me and finding places to eat that are gluten-free friendly. A double thumbs up for one of the tools she uses to accomplish this, the Find Me Gluten Free app. The app allows you to search for eating establishments near your current location or any location you choose. It includes a rating system and customer comments, which give you a pretty good sense of a place before going.
The Find Me Gluten Free app did not fail us once again, as Betsy found the Wheatless Bar & Grille not far from our Corvette visit. As we navigated to the address utilizing Google Maps, we were in a fairly common looking suburban shopping area and approaching a nondescript strip mall. Upon parking in front of the restaurant we got a glimpse of the inside through a large opening in the front glass that was open on account of the pleasant temperatures that day. The inside was a clean, trendy-looking restaurant with a refurbished wood-trimmed bar.
We were promptly greeted inside the front door by a waiter and led to a booth along the wall. The seating area was mostly empty, but to be fair, it was too early in the day for their typical dinner / bar crowd. We would be very hesitant to judge the restaurants popularity based on the amount of customers while we were there. When we got our menus, we both looked at each other because it was a little strange not seeing the typical GF symbol next to items. It was at this point we were both reminded, EVERYTHING on the menu was gluten-free! As we looked closer, it even said at the top of the menu under the restaurant name, “A dedicated gluten-free restaurant.” After perusing the appetizers, salads, sandwiches and entrees, we flipped the menu over to see their extensive bar menu. It included GF beers, ciders and mixed drinks. Not something we were necessarily looking for, but kinda cool for a totally gluten-free place. So all of the elements of a typical restaurant, but entirely gluten-free! My kinda place, and in Bowling Green, Kentucky!
We ordered a couple of appetizers, since all apps were $5 during Happy Hour; fried pickles and boneless chicken tenders in honey sriracha sauce. The pickles had a good coating on them and were fried to a pleasant crispness, and included ranch dressing for dipping. The chicken tenders had a more significant breading/coating on them and the sauce on them was quite tasty. As we ate our plentiful apps, we both agreed we should have just ordered some apps and called it a day. However, in typical fashion we got over-excited about all the gluten-free options and both ordered an entrée, I got fried shrimp and fries while Betsy got a Chicken Cobb salad. (Yes, if you hadn’t noticed the trend, I may have overdone it on the FRIED stuff, which I don’t normally get to indulge in!) The shrimp were breaded and fried to perfection, while the fries were good but nothing special. Just french fries, which I love them all! After our apps, I ended up taking half of my entrée home, which was fine with me, a good number 1 meal for another day. Betsy’s salad was tasty and probably a better combination after our app splurge. She actually ended up taking some chicken andgarlic toast for a later meal at home. When our waiter offered dessert, we both knew we could eat nothing there, but were more than willing to take a couple of items to go. We both examined the display case at the register and settled on a slice of cherry cheesecake and a chocolate turtle cupcake with caramel icing.
During our meal Betsy and I discussed how it would be interesting to market a restaurant/bar like this. You obviously have an audience in people who need or choose to eat gluten-free, but in order to make the concept viable, you would need to capture some of the non gluten-free crowd. The food certainly did not taste gluten-free and if it was not printed at the top of the menu the average patron may not even know. While chatting with our waiter when paying the bill he told us they had been in this location for 8 months, after moving from a previous location where they had been for two years. He also told us they were considering franchising the concept. We wish them luck and hope to see other Wheatless Bar & Grilles in other cities where we travel. At the very least, we will be back for a visit the next time we come through Bowling Green.