Terrific Tacos: The Secret to Safe Gluten Free Travel in the U.S.

PART I: NATIONWIDE TACO CHAINS

As a native Texan, it is no surprise that Kid Allergy loves tacos. But, for someone who can't eat wheat, taco eating has become more of a survival technique than simply something that tastes good. We find that no matter where you go in the great wide United States, the taco can often times be altered to be gluten free.

Now, there are plenty of Texas only restaurants that make Kid Allergy's best taco list. But...we saved that for Part II: Terrific Texas Tacos. So, whether you have a hankering for a good casual counter service taco joint or are looking to experience the finer side of contemporary taco making, read on for Kid Allergy's personal favorites with nationwide distribution.

NOTE: Restaurants do not typically have dedicated fryers even if they list chips as gluten free. The restaurants listed below are no exception unless explicitly stated. Stay clear of those chips!

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    Counter Service

Torchy’s Tacos

Located across Texas, as well as Oklahoma and Colorado, Torchy's Tacos really does serve exactly what they claim. They make "damn good tacos." Started on a shoestring budget in Austin, this edgy and creative order-at-the counter taco joint has lines out the door in every city. Their Diablo Hot Sauce really is the "best cure for bland cuisine" and the best part: it is gluten free. You can see personality in every thing they make--even the gluten free menu. It starts out with "damn dietary restrictions!" If my uber picky kid with an allergy is happy here, I have no doubt that you and your tastebuds will find your own personal heaven in this devilishly good taco place.

Rusty Tacos

Started in Dallas, Texas, this casual counter service taco shop commonly referred to as R Taco can be found in various locations throughout Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska and Ohio. Make sure to stop by for the half price happy hour specials to grab some margaritas and beer. Pay attention to which tacos have wheat and which don't. I was surprised the Texican ground beef was not gluten free. But, there are plenty of other tasty sans gluten taco options so don't worry you won't be disappointed.

Fuzzy's Taco Shop

We have a warm place in our heart for Fuzzy's Taco Shop because they started in Kid Allergy's hometown of Fort Worth, Texas.
Currently, however, you can find them at over 100 locations throughout the US. Stay clear of the ground beef, fajita items, and grilled shrimp & fish because they contain wheat. Kid Allergy sticks to the black bean tacos and has had great success avoiding getting gluten'd all over the country with this one simple Fuzzy's staple. Don't forget to add some Butt Burnin sauce on your meal because it is gluten free and will definitely provide a kick!

Yucatan Taco Stand

This is one of those hybrid places where you may have to order at the counter but it is chock full of hip personality once you finally sit down. Yucatan Taco Stand Tequila Bar & Grill may only be found in a few locations but those of us lucky to have one in our town sure are happy. When in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, or Oklahoma City, make sure to pop in for a fantastic gluten free ground beef taco. They pride themselves on using authentic, fresh ingredients and the quality is reflected in the taste. Whether you grab a seat inside or out, Yucatan Taco Stand will not disappoint in providing good, gluten free taco options.

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    Sit Down Dining

Cantina Laredo

We love that you can get your Cantina Laredo taco fix at various locations throughout the mainland of the US, as well as, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Abu Dhabi and London. A formal sit down dining establishment, Cantina Laredo serves up a more upscale contemporary twist to Mexican food. The gluten free tacos are five star rated but so are the Especialidades of more hearty entree proportions. So when in the mood to sit and have a proper family meal, don't forget to make this lovely and lively spot a priority.

On the Border

On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina might just be the top on Kid Allergy's "best of" taco list. The mild taco meat works great with his spice adverse palate and he loves that you can find one practically anywhere. They have 160 restaurants in the US, as well as, two in Puerto Rico, one in Egypt, one in the United Arab Emirates, one in Saudi Arabia, and 9 in South Korea. They run great specials like "Monday Endless Enchiladas" and "Taco Fix Tuesdays" that work wonders for those trying to stay on a budget but still like dining in a sit down restaurant environment. Plus, they make a killer margarita that can often be found on their list of happy hour specials. So, if you or someone in your family likes a good value taco without the spice, look no farther than On the Border.

Jose Cuervo Tequileria

These are a collection of taco serving restaurants in airports across the U.S. You can check out my review of the one in Miami International Airport here. Not much to say about flavor since it is always pretty bland but the value at these locations are huge in what they can provide for gluten free diners. They serve a quick and safe sit down meal for gluten free diners traveling through an airport around the country-breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can feel confident taking that international multi-hour flight that your gluten free travel companion will have been fed an actual meal before boarding that flight.

Pappasito's Cantina

Whether you are in the state of Texas or Atlanta, count on Pappasito's to provide a great gluten free taco option. They have a dedicated gluten free menu AND this is the only place that serves REAL gluten free chips that do not pose any cross contamination issues. Why? It is not because they have a gluten free fryer BUT instead, they provide gluten free baked chips. Still family owned and operated by the famed Pappas family from Houston, Pappasito's takes allergy dining seriously and provides great portion sizes that are also food big on flavor.

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