Gluten-free dining options expand in Eugene

Gluten-free dining options expand in Eugene

EUGENE, Ore. - For the estimated 16 million Americans with gluten sensitivity, dining out can be a challenge.

But more restaurants in Oregon are expanding their menu to include gluten-free alternatives.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat that can trigger Celiac disease and other problems in certain people.

Now, folks who can't eat the regular breads and buns have more choices in Eugene from both local and national chains.

Subway has a new program that's gone statewide, the first of it's kind in the country.

You can now get that BLT gluten-free. Subway is also offering gluten-free brownies as regular menu items.

And it takes more than ingredients to keep gluten out of your footlong.

"We always clear our work area, make sure it has no crumbs; it's crumb free," said Aimee Coller, manager of the Subway at Barger Drive and Highway 99.

The program went statewide after successful pilot programs in Portland and Bend. Subway officials said they liked the idea of starting the gluten-free program in Oregon because we're very "food-forward" and open to different styles of eating.

"It's going to take a little bit for it to catch on," Coller said, "but it seems like the customers are knowing that we have the bread."

Your pizza pie crust can be gluten free, too: Papa's Pizza has offered gluten free crust for about 2 years. 

"We're selling probably anywhere from 5 to 12 a day on a slower day and more on a busier night," said Stacey Sprague, manager of the Papa's Pizza on Coburg Road.

A company vice president with a gluten-intolerant family member did the market research and decided gluten-free pizza was not a "pie-in-the-sky" idea.

"Now we're able to cater to some of those families that really had a difficult time finding somewhere to go," Sprague said.