Restaurant Review: Charley’s Saloon

A lesson in not judging a book by its cover…

When I first walked up to Charley’s Saloon, I was dubious that they would have anything suitable for a gluten allergy.  I saw the quirky gaslight replica light fixtures and wood-paneled dining room and assumed their menu would be as old school as their décor.  Frankly, I was just hoping that they knew enough about a gluten allergy to order a salad or some soup.   However, I was completely incorrect.  I guess the adage “to assume is to make an ass of u and me” is correct.

Charley’s offers a whole range of gluten-free products including pizzas and pasta.  In addition, they also have very well-trained staff.  The staff is more than willing to check with the chef and confirm which items are or can be made gluten-free.  In addition, the manager comes over to confirm your order is safe and answer any further questions.

The first time I went, I had the chili, which was unbelievable.  Apparently, Charley’s makes its own chili every day, which is probably why it tastes so good.  The goodness is super-sized by the cheddar cheese melted over the top of the bowl.  Whoa.  I like food really spicy, so I was a little disappointed by its mildness, but a few dashes of Tabasco and boom! Problem solved.

Recently, I went back with some family and had another great experience.  They were able to do special orders of gluten-free buffalo wings.  The manager was very attentive, coming by to check that the buffalo wings did come out gluten-free.  The wings were  just plain, boneless, skinless, chicken tenders basted with buffalo sauce and grilled.  It was very light; no where near as greasy and heavy as run-of-the-mill buffalo wings.  More than the taste, it was nice to be able to share an appetizer.  I have missed that.  Most of the time, if I can have appetizer, it is a salad or steamed edamame, which is fine, but when I eat out, I like to have food I don’t make at home.

I followed the wings with a gluten-free cheese pizza.  It was a nice size, perfect for one person with enough left over for lunch.  The crust was nice and thin and well-cooked.  The sauce was nice and had lots of oregano.  I wished for more cheese, so next time I will have to request that or maybe some parmesan on the side….

Anyway, Charley’s is a great place for gluten-free diners.  They are very attentive to allergens and very willing to make accommodations.  I have only been to their Chestnut Hill location, but their Boston location seems to have the same menu.

G/F friendly: 5 of 5

Ambiance in one word: old school

Food Taste and Quality: 4 of 5

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