Has this ever happened to you? Big game on tv, sports bar selected, you show up ready to cheer on your team, and there’s nothing you can eat. Well, you can usually find a dry bed of lettuce and a glass of water, but what’s the fun in that? You sit there half-heartedly cheering, starving, and longing for the days when you could order pizza, wings, and a pint of beer without a care in the world. That was all before you found out that you couldn’t eat gluten. Sports bars are one of the hardest places to eat gluten free. That’s why Sam’s Sports Grill in Nashville caught my attention.
Imagine my excitement when I found this gluten-free menu online and saw that it wasn’t just a list of salads! Sam’s Sports Grill has a gluten-free menu with appetizers, pizzas, burgers, chicken, and salads that are all made without gluten-containing ingredients.
Located in Hillsboro Village in the heart Titan’s country and blocks from Vandy, Sam’s is a popular place to hang out with friends and watch a game.
How many times have you been to a sports bar only to find that the only drink option is beer?
Sam’s serves Angry Orchard gluten-free cider. My absolute favorite cider to date.
Sam’s has four different starters that are gluten free. Baby Back Ribs, two different kinds of Nachos, and Spicy Chorizo Queso Dip will start your game off with a bang. We ordered the Nachos Grande with certified gluten-free tortilla chips piled high with chili, melted queso, tomatoes, onions, fresh jalapenos, and sour cream. I can’t tell you the last time I indulged in such decadence!
But the real reason I was there was to sample the gluten-free pizza. Yes, gluten-free pizza at a sport’s bar!
Sam’s makes gluten-free pizza with French Meadow Bakery gluten-free crust. The crust comes in an aluminum tin to avoid cross contamination. I appreciated that Sam’s served the pizza in the tin so I knew that the pizza hadn’t been on any other surface that might contain gluten.
That did mean that the pizza was less than crisp, but this a small price to pay for delicious pizza and safe serving procedures.
On a Sunday afternoon, the bar was a buzz with football fans, but the waitstaff was very attentive and willing to answer questions about the gluten-free menu.
They did make one thing extremely clear. Their gluten-free menu is a menu of items without gluten ingredients. They state “In general, if you are highly allergic to gluten, we only offer a gluten-free menu as a healthy option.”
That statement almost prevented me from eating at Sam’s. Their gluten-free menu items are made in the same kitchen where flour abounds from sandwiches, burger buns, and pizza. I was very hesitant to risk getting sick just to review a restaurant for this blog. But then I realized that so many restaurants with gluten-free menus are in the exact same position. They want to provide gluten-free options, but they do not have the space to dedicate to gluten-free preparation. The difference is that Sam’s was honest with me. And they left the decision up to me.
Sam’s says that they make sure that when preparing gluten-free menu items the preparation surfaces are thoroughly cleaned. Their kitchen managers have all taken safe serve classes, and in weekly meetings they stress the importance with their staff about properly handling gluten-free orders.
Does that make you feel more comfortable? Or less? I decided that I was willing to take the risk, and thankfully I did not get sick. The food was delicious, I had a great time, and I’m glad to say that there’s one more place where Nashville can go to enjoy gluten-free food.
But it’s also a reminder that eating out gluten-free is the sole responsibility of the diner. You have the choice of whether or not to eat at a restaurant. Your health is your own responsibility. For more information about dining out gluten free, check out my series in 10 Days of Gluten Free created by Linda of The Gluten-Free Homemaker.
- Eating Out Gluten-Free: Do Your Homework
- Eating Out Gluten-Free: Be Nice to Your Server
- Eating Out Gluten-Free: BYOGF
- Eating Out Gluten-Free: Ask Questions
- Eating Out Gluten-Free: Affirm a Job Well Done
- Eating Out Gluten-Free: Have a Good Attitude
- Eating Out Gluten-Free: Go Natural
- Eating Out Gluten-Free: Share the Love
- Eating Out Gluten-Free: Be Realistic
- Eating Out Gluten-Free: Keep Your Guard Up
- Have you tried Sam’s gluten-free menu?
- Have you found a sports bar that offers gluten-free menu items?
- How do you feel about ordering off a gluten-free menu in a non-gluten-free kitchen?
- What questions do you ask before ordering off a gluten-free menu?