Monday, July 7, 2014

Gluten-free in Greenville

Greenville is pretty gluten-free friendly for such a small city.  We go there several times a year to visit in-laws, but often make it a day trip which doesn't allow for time to check out the gluten-free dining in the area very often.  During a recent day trip on Father's Day, we decided to have an early dinner downtown before heading home.  In the past, we've been to Larkin's on the River and while the crab bisque there is both gluten-free and amazing, the service is hit or miss.  My husband doesn't like going to places where he thinks the staff might mess up my meal so we haven't been to Larkin's in a couple of years.  However, the people who own that place also own Grill Marks which happens to be a very highly rated burger joint in downtown Greenville.  We decided to check it out and we are so glad we did!

Grill Marks is a trendy gourmet burger place much like those found in the Atlanta area.  There is a neat patio out front which is perfect for people watching.  It was beyond hot when we were there so we sat inside.  I guess it was due to the high ceilings, but it was very warm inside and the A/C was definitely on since it was cooler inside than outside.  It was also muggy which made for a very uncomfortable feeling - one where you can barely enjoy your food no matter how good it is.  Because everything we ordered was hot food - much of it fried - it wasn't as great as an experience as it would have been on a cooler day.

The best part was the food which was really quite tasty!  The menu offers gluten-free buns, fried green tomatoes, three types of fries and many more gluten-free options.  The friendly server went all the gluten-free menu options, and noted some dairy-free options as well.  It was exciting to find out that many more things are available gluten-free than those that are not.  How's that for a nice change?!

The burgers are not cooked well done unless you request it, which we did.  The gluten-free bun was too thick for me, but I almost always find that to be the case.  The batter on the tomatoes was too 'cornmealy' for us, but the green tomatoes and sauce served with them were amazing!  The 'fat' fries were seriously addictive and I actually took some of them home so we could get dessert.

I'm not sure I've ever seen gluten-free cobbler on any menu so of course, I could not resist ordering the cobbler-of-the-day which happened to be strawberry.  When the dessert arrived at the table, I knew there was a good chance I wouldn't care for it and unfortunately, I was correct.  The cobber bread part made up 90% of the dessert.  The other 10% was made up by the fruit part and really good ice cream.  The bread part of  the dessert had a bad flavor and texture.  There are several fabulous gluten-free flour blends available in Greenville so it's unclear why Grill Marks isn't using one to make this dessert.

Maybe we were there on a bad day when the person who usually makes the cobber was out and what we had wasn't representative of the cobber they usually serve - I don't know.  If my husband could stand to see food go to waste when even he doesn't think it's any good, we probably would have asked for the dessert to be taken off the check after only a bite.  The good news is that the burgers, fries and appetizers at Grill Marks are more than enough to fill anyone up.  We'll likely go back on a cooler day to enjoy a nice gluten-free meal served with a smile and great Southern hospitality!

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