Gluten-Free Travel - Nantucket, MA

Monday, August 22nd, 2011 | click here to comment

Maybe I was premature by saying summer was over in June, but now, two months later and fall collections in every store, I can truly say - summer is over. I've been thinking back to a trip I made to Nantucket to kick off summer at the end of May. Nantucket is one of those places I could lose myself in. The landscape is gorgeous, the salt-weathered shingles, all monotonous, yet undeniably charming in their sea of grey, and the food, which was surprisingly good and imaginative in most places.

We went to as many different restaurants as we could during our stay, toddler in tow and all. There were more hits than misses, but truly, everything was good, even down to the local ice cream shop with the intoxicating smell of freshly made waffle cones wafting out of the rickety store front doors and windows, The Juice Bar. Most if not all of the restaurants were sensitive to gluten-free dining, and made accommodations for me. There are also a few places that actually serve gluten-free options, so if you find yourself in Nantucket take note of Misterbelly's picks below.

The Boarding House We started our trip at The Boarding House and had our fingers crossed that having a toddler in tow wouldn't be too much of an issue, and it wasn't, thank goodness. They were also very accommodating of my gluten-free needs and actually modified an appetizer so I could eat it. The meal overall was good, but I remember thinking that a few of the dishes would be even better with fewer ingredients. So many of the ingredients were seasonal, but it was hard to get the essence of any particular dish, because there was so much going on. Loved the fries with the harissa mayo though!

The Green

Oh the Green, my savior in Nantucket! I discovered The Green on Yelp and was so glad I did. I ended up stopping by twice on my trip for their yummy burritos made with gluten-free tortillas. I had the chicken burrito for lunch one day and the breakfast burrito another day, and both were great, although I enjoyed the chicken burrito a bit more. The smoothies were great, and they can be made dairy-free, which was a huge win for me. The atmosphere is cute and casual, perfect for families or a quick bite during a biking trip.

Corazon Del Mar

Corazon Del Mar gets kind of a bad rap on Yelp for being snotty, but I honestly did not encounter that at all when I ate there. They were more than happy to accommodate my gluten-freedom and toddler, and a few of the staff even came by to chat with our little one. The food was also delicious and flavorful that Corazon was easily one of my favorite stops on the trip. We had the corn to start, which was awesome with the crema, cotija and chili lime flavors. It was an appetizer, but could have easily been shared between two people. I had the crispy pork carnitas for an entree and loved it, although it was so much food I couldn't finish it. Lots of umami, rich flavors going on that had my toddler clamoring for more (although we told her it was chicken, shhh).

The Juice Bar

The Juice Bar is a ubiquitous entity on the island. If you have kids, you will go here, guaranteed. Even if you don't have kids, you will probably stop in. The smell of fresh waffle cones baking can be inhaled from a few blocks away and is absolutely intoxicating. I really wanted to just buy a box of cones and go to town. The ice cream is freshly made, and is airy and creamy. I consoled myself with a cup of chocolate ice cream, even if I could still smell the waffle cones from where I was sitting outside.

Cisco Brewers

The Brewery is one of those spots where locals and tourists alike congregate to enjoy some time outdoors with a glass (or three) of wine, beer or cocktails. I love the laid back atmosphere and although it was packed to the brim and hard to find any seats, we still had a good time. I had two cocktails, a glass of wine, and left feeling quite nice (to say the least). 

Black-Eyed Susan's

One of my least favorite stops during the trip. Black-Eyed Susan's is the quintessential local dive that does home cooking pretty well, but is not a refuge in any sense for gluten-free eaters, in fact, after noting that I could n ot have any toast with my breakfast, what appeared but a plate with toast positioned on top. It was a total head in hands sort of moment, but really, I kind of expected it. For those that aren't on a gluten-free diet, you will undoubtedly get a good stick to your ribs sort of breakfast at Black-Eyed Susan's, but for the gluten-free - stick to coffee.

The Downeyflake

I knew what to expect out of the Downeyflake before I ever stepped foot though their doors. I knew it was a local spot, on the divey side and much lauded for their donuts. I had a good breakfast here, even if it was pretty basic. The donuts, Matt declared, were good, but nothing to write home about. Which makes me feel better about it...I guess.


Fresh has all of the essentials you need for a picnic - wine, cheese, crackers and deli necessities such as chicken salad. I picked up some of the chicken salad, which I snacked on at Cisco's Brewers and I really enjoyed it. Loads of rosemary flavor and the right amount of mayo.

The Straight Wharf

We ended our trip at the Straight Wharf, but really it was for lack of finding another place that I really wanted to eat at. The menu and atmosphere skew more high end, but isn't necessarily done as well as you might think considering their location and view. I did like sitting out in the covered porch looking out over the water, but aside from the slow poached egg appetizer, which was DIVINE, I was underwhelmed by the rest of our meal. They were very accommodating to gluten-free needs, and maybe it was just poor ordering on my part because my husband's clam bake was really good and I wish I had gotten that instead of the fish I ordered.

Chatham Fish and Lobster

Chatham Fish and Lobster is a must-try if you're headed to the Cape or Nantucket. It's slightly out of the way on a trip back from Nantucket, but not prohibitively so, and I'm glad I made the stop. I haven't had fish and chips in years, and being able to eat it again was incredible. The fish was perfectly fried and with a squeeze of lemon and a dip of tartar sauce, it was divine. It's not the most diet friendly food, but can easily be shared between two people. It's a casual, family friendly environment, and they do more than just fish and chips. I can't wait to stop in again one day and try the fried shrimp! 

All of the restaurants we visited in Nantucket, save for one or two, were very sensitive to gluten-free eaters and were more than happy to accommodate me. That being said,  I did pack lots of snacks for myself, which made the trip a lot easier for me, although the local Stop & Shop did have a pretty decent selection of gluten-free snacks, if you forget something. I can't wait to visit Nantucket again, if only to get drunk on  the smell of freshly baked waffle cones at the Juice Bar.


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