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Restaurants offer eating options sensitive to dietary restrictions close to Whitworth campus

by Claire Hunter

Finding foods tailored for special dietary needs is tough, especially when dining out. In Spokane, the majority of restaurants that cater to restrictions such as gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan and vegetarian are located downtown. However, below is a list of accommodating restaurants nearby Whitworth’s campus.

Most are independently run restaurants, started by Spokane residents who understand the trouble it takes to dine out with a specific diet. However, included in the list are a surprising number of chain restaurants that recognize the growing need for special menu items. Diners should note that the restaurants listed also handle wheat flour and other gluten products in their kitchens.

Twigs Bistro
9820 N. Nevada St.
1.3 miles from campus
468-9820

The Twigs north location was added in August 2012 to the family of Twigs restaurants located around Spokane. The bistro is ideal for a quality dinner with family and friends, and is able to create delicious gluten-free appetizers, sandwiches, pizzas, desserts and entrees, such as their Truffle Penne or Crab Mac and Cheese.

Executive chef Steven Stermer said that nearly everything on the menu has a gluten-free alternative. He said Twigs’ decision to offer such a wide range of gluten-free items started in 2007, and has increased because of Spokane’s high number of residents with gluten intolerance.

Lasagna’s-On-Ya
521 E. Holland Ave.
1.3 miles from campus
467-9100

Dan and Jennifer Shorts opened Lasagna’s-On-Ya in October 2010 and make their fresh lasagna from scratch daily. Their lasagna comes in four different sizes (from smallest to largest): unpoco, coppia, piccoli and grande. The take-and-bake kitchen also offers artisan breads, salads and desserts. When placing an order,  gluten-free or lactose-free lasagna can be requested for an additional charge of $2 for unpoco, $3 for coppia, $4 for piccoli and $5 for grande. Owner Jennifer Shorts said the reason allergy-conscious alternatives are offered is because there is a high demand for them.

“I personally have friends that have celiac [disease], so it was very easy for me to incorporate [accommodations],” Shorts said. “There’s more and more people for one reason or another that can’t do gluten, so I’ve kind of geared our menu to be able to accommodate different allergies.”

Mackenzie River Pizza Co.
9225 N. Nevada St.
1.8 miles from campus
413-1043

Mackenzie River Pizza Co. may specialize in pizza, as their name indicates, but they also offer comfort food entrees such as burgers, fish and steak. Mackenzie River’s wide selection of signature pizzas includes gluten-free pizza crust, which means customers are able to create a specially customized pizza with dozens of toppings. There is also a selection of vegetarian dishes, such as their Veggie Wrap and Sequoia or Athenian pizza, some of which can be made vegan if requested upon ordering.

“[Mackenzie River] recognizes that Spokane has a diverse community of needs, and we look forward to providing an enjoyable meal [keeping in mind] dietary needs,” assistant manager Jessie Rogers, who is a vegetarian herself, said.

The kitchen is not an officially gluten-free facility, but customers with food allergies or dietary needs are encouraged to contact the manager before ordering. That way the kitchen can accommodate for customers’ specific needs.

Red Dragon
3011 E. Diamond Ave.
5.6 miles from campus
483-6700

Although Red Dragon specializes in delicious Chinese delivery food, they also offer dine-in for lunch and dinner. Their extensive menu is cooked fresh daily, and includes a special section with 19 vegetarian options. Upon request Red Dragon will turn their vegetarian dishes, such as their General’s Battered Tofu or Teriyaki Vegetable Stir-Fry, into a vegan-friendly feast. Many items may be made gluten-free if so specified.

Contact Claire Hunter at chunter15@my.whitworth.edu

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