Make Yourself a Familiar Figure.

As a gluten free diner, frequent visits to the same restaurant can have two impacts. First, working with you regularly reinforces for the staff the specific needs of your diet. Second, regular visits increase your value as a customer. And, the more valuable you are as a customer, the greater the incentive is for the restaurant to invest in providing a variety of delicious gluten-free options.

When I lived in Philadelphia, I used to visit My Thai on South St. once a week. The first time I visited, the owner invested the time to help make me a special gluten free meal. The food was good and the meal didn’t make me sick, so I went back the next week. And the week after. And the week after that. After about a month, I had established myself as a regular. At that point, during one visit the owner started asking me a bunch of very detailed questions about the gluten free diet. The next time I visited, he had a very pleasant surprise for me – he had gone through his menu and checked every single dish on it for gluten, and it turned out that there were only two dishes in the whole restaurant he couldn’t modify to be gluten free. It felt so good that he would put the effort in for me, that I’d still be eating there every week if I hadn’t moved to Virginia.