I like to eat out. A lot. I know there are more and more restaurants become gluten-free friendly. I do usually prefer to eat at smaller local restaurants, but this past week I visited two chain restaurants that I was very impressed with and felt they needed some recognition.
My local military spouse meetup group had a breakfast meetup at Panera this past week. I had asked the cashier if she knew if there was gluten in a particular soup. It turns out they have a very large binder with all of their menu items in it. Each Item has the nutritional info, the entire list of ingredients, and allergy information listed. I was very impressed. She didn't seem annoyed at all by looking up different things for me, but it also wasn't quite the lunch rush either. I definitely would not recommend trying this at any Panera between 11am and 1pm. You can also go to http://www.paneranutrition.com/ and find the nutrtional information and allergen statements for each menu item.
My husband had a co-worker tell him that Red Robin was gluten-free friendly. We did our own investigating and found out that, yes indeed, they are. Their regular fries are not gluten free because of the seasoning they put on them. Also, they have a dedicated fryer for making gluten-free fries so there is no cross contanimation from using the same fryers as breaded foods. The chefs know what items have gluten in them. On one visit, I had asked for carmalized onions and the waitress came back to let me know that they did have gluten in them. On a second occasion I asked about a different item. The waiter printed up a gluten free menu for me to take home. Their gluten-free menu can also be found online at http://www.redrobin.com/pdfs/Wheat_Gluten_Allergen_Menu.pdf At the main Red Robin website click on the FAQ page and you will also be able to obtain menus for other food allergies. You can also sign up to receive email updates when their ingredients or allergens change.