Lazy Gluten Free: Labor Day Weekend in Traverse City, MI

Labor Day Weekend in Traverse City, MI

After visiting twice this year and having a blast each time, I really honestly believe I could live in Traverse City. The views are simply amazing, the shopping is great, and the wine is delicious...what's not to love? 

I love my Michigan wines!

Despite all of that, both times I visited TC, I was amazed at the amount of gluten-free food that was available. The number of restaurants willing to accommodate a GF diet is phenomenal. That said, I want to share two of my favorites with you, in case you ever venture up that way. 
Grand Traverse Lighthouse, Leelanau Peninsula, MI

My first favorite is The Red Mesa Grill, which offers a cuisine featuring tastes of the Caribbean, Mexico, Central & South America. Not to mention they have a pretty extensive "Celiac" menu. I was impressed that they referred to it as such and not just a "Gluten Free" menu. I have eaten here twice and had a successful GF meal each time. The first time (back in May) I ordered the Tequila & Lime Marinated Fajitas with chicken. These included a dish with corn tortillas, and my fillings of grilled chicken & veggies, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, and salsa. It was a ton of food and was very delicious. This time around, I decided on the Roasted Chicken Enchiladas. They were pretty similar to the fajitas, except a tad spicier due to the sauce. I insisted on dessert too, given that my choice was a GF double fudge brownie from a local GF bakery. YUM. Each visit I also got a mango margarita. I am not normally a margarita fan, but the mango version from the Red Mesa is a must-try (it was on the Celiac menu too!).

The second restaurant I loved was a quaint cafe called Martha's Leelanau Table, and was actually located in Suttons Bay in Leelanau Peninsula, just a short drive from Traverse City. I was skeptical at first despite their website touting being able to accommodate a gluten-free diet. My skepticism quickly dissipated however once we were seated and I spoke with our server. Since everything on the menu is made from scratch, the kitchen can make sure that a gluten-free meal is prepared accordingly. They even have a in-house pastry chef who makes their gluten-free bread from scratch. I ended up ordering scrambled eggs mixed with bacon and onions, topped with raclette cheese, and served with a side of gluten free toast. It was very delicious. Martha and the pastry chef, Carrie, came out of the kitchen at different times to make sure that everything was perfect. I was thoroughly impressed and would highly recommend this cafe to anyone. As a note, they primarily serve breakfast foods, pastries, and desserts. So if you're looking for a burger, this is not your place.

Traverse City is, no doubt, a great place to visit as a Celiac. In addition to these two amazing restaurants, there is a whole list of others who can accommodate a gluten-free diet that I have not yet tried. And don't forget, wine is gluten free go ahead and visit all of the local wineries!


  1. We visited Red Mesa Grill this past month on your and another friend's suggestion. We were not disappointed. We also loved how they called it a Celiac Menu.
    My husband says... I'm rolling out of here fat and happy.

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! It's definitely one of my favorite restaurants, and they definitely take GF seriously. I would have to agree with your husband too, that's how I feel everytime I go there :)