Chow Bella

Five Guys Offers Gluten-Free Happiness for the Not-So-Health Conscious

It's an interesting phenomenon when you tell people you are a gluten-free eater. Most of them think it's a choice, and that you're a "healthy" eater, focused on nutrition. They picture greens, nuts and berries.

Well ... not necessarily.

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Trust me, you can find a lot of stuff that's gluten-free, but full of sugar, fat and other not-so-healthy ingredients. Even the shelves of the health-food stores are filled with gluten-free cookies, cakes and cheese-laden rice bowls. I've tried a lot of them.

So just because I have to eat gluten-free, doesn't mean I'm always eating "healthy."

Sometimes you just crave a burger and fries. But most burger places aren't equipped to deal with the no-bun issue, and I usually just skip the whole thing.

A new friend who truly does eat healthy, recently shared with me that Five Guys Burgers and Fries is her go-to gluten-free destination when she "goes off the rails." The only thing in the place with gluten is the bun, and they'll happily serve you a burger without it. The fries are gluten-free and fabulous.

I tried Five Guys once, after President Obama bought burgers for his staff there, but that was pre-gluten-free, and I hadn't really thought about it since. So after my new friend mentioned it, it percolated in my burger-deprived mind, and last weekend, ironically after walking for an hour on the elliptical at the gym, my son and I headed for its doors.

There was a long line, even at 8 p.m., so we enjoyed the unmistakable aroma of ground beef searing on the grill and shelled and munched the peanuts provided while you wait.

I ordered my burger extra-well-done because I like some crispness on the edges. And I told the man taking our order that I would like it without the bun. Without skipping a beat, he asked if I would like it wrapped in lettuce, or served in a bowl. I chose lettuce.

Then, the remarkable happened.

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Judith Nichols

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