signup_bgThe Melting Pot is a restaurant we never tried when we ate gluten. This is likely due to our ‘avoid chains at all costs’ attitude back then. There are a few chains places we visit occasionally these days, but the only one that truly stands out (to us) in terms of gluten-free service is the Roswell, GA Outback Steakhouse. As explained in the Triumph Dining Restaurant Guide, the fact that a place has a gluten-free menu does not ensure they will provide you a safe meal. Unless it’s a totally gluten-free establishment, you have to know the right questions to ask – and feel comfortable with the answers you get in return.

When I found out that GIG was working with The Melting Pot to help them create a safe gluten-free menu, I double checked to make sure there was one in my area. Indeed, there are actually several in Metro Atlanta. Recently, the company rolled out their gluten-free menu nationwide. Several locations have had gluten-free options for quite a while. Even though most locations don’t serve gluten-free bread, cookies or cake, the extensive gluten-free options are still pretty exciting. The location nearest us said they’d allow us to bring in our own bread as well.

The online six page gluten-free menu includes information on the many substitutions that are required to get a safe meal there. The diners have to ask for certain things – no Rice Krispy treats, cookies or brownies for example. There are many modifications needed, but gluten-free guests will still get plenty of food to eat. For dipping sauces that call for wheat flour, diners need to request cornstarch is used. There is a list of gluten-free alcoholic drinks which includes Baileys and Godiva liqueurs.

The way the company originally started is pretty interesting. Here is an excerpt from the website:

The first Melting Pot opened in April of 1975 in Maitland, Fla. – just outside of Orlando. It was a cozy, quaint location and its first menu consisted of just three items: Swiss cheese fondue, beef fondue and a chocolate fondue dessert. However, as the restaurant’s popularity expanded, so did its menu and ambiance.

Mark Johnston, who was working his way through college as a waiter at The Melting Pot, noticed the popularity boost and – with the help of his brothers Mike and Bob – scraped together funding to open The Melting Pot of Tallahassee in 1979 (with the blessing of the original owners in Maitland… of course). The Tallahassee location grew enormously popular, and within one year its success paved the way for future franchise expansion.

The fact that there is still a location in Tallahassee is very exicting. In my opinion, “Tally” is second only to Pamama City in terms of lacking gluten-free awareness in the Florida panhandle. OK – back to The Melting Pot’s gluten-free menu. There are locations in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the website and enter your zip code to find a location near you (if there is one). Then click on your location and then menu. The drop down menu should show the gluten-free menu PDF. After reading Catherine’s rave review of The Melting Pot (the location she visited serves gluten-free bread!), we will definitely be checking out the location near us soon. We’ll be taking in the Nature’s Own gluten-free bread in to enjoy the experience even more!