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Established in 1971, Schlotzsky’s have over 300 locations across America, with a special emphasis on sandwiches and pizzas. Plenty of patrons call Schlotzsky’s “the best sub sandwich chain in the U.S.”
But what if you’ve said no to gluten in your life? Can you still find something for yourself while your pals are eating away their favorite sandwich? What’s gluten-free at Schlotsky’s?
Adapting to the health conscious public over growing recognition of gluten as a problematic allergen, Schlotzsky’s now offers customizable GF options.
All sandwiches and pizzas the chain offers can be changed, with the wheat flour being replaced for an Udi’s gluten-free (certified) bun or dough. They also serve GF breadsticks (~$1.50 extra) for those having a side salad.
These substitutions do come at an increased cost ($1.50-$2.00) but provide a world of relief for those recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance/allergy. Enjoying a gluten-free sub at a take-out spot shouldn’t be a hassle.
Food chains often offer plenty of convenience, especially for those on the road or working long hours – but rarely are they accommodating towards those with allergies or food sensitivities. This is especially true for gluten.
In this article, you’ll find all the gluten-sensitive options available at Schlotzsky’s. Not only that, but I’ll also take you through time-tested tips and tricks for a perfect gluten-free experience at this sandwich chain!
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Of course, restaurant patrons should always be aware that having gluten-free “options” does not automatically mean ‘safe.’ This is especially true for those with Celiac Disease.
Schlotzsky’s also explicitly lists at the bottom of their “Veggie and Gluten-Free menu” that:
“Schlotzsky’s restaurants are not gluten-free environments.
While we take special precautions to prevent cross-contact, the possibility exists for food items to come into contact with other food products during preparation and cooking procedures.”
Below are the different sandwiches, pizzas, soups, and salads offered reported to be gluten-free by the restaurant staff, their website, and patrons.
Always opt for the gluten-free bun or gluten-free dough. Avoid croutons and bread sticks with sides and salads unless they are marked as gluten-free.
Make your level of concern due to allergy explicitly clear to the restaurant staff prior to ordering.
Sauces that may arouse suspicion should be avoided – this includes any BBQ sauce. Their “Original Sauce” appears to be gluten-free.
All of Schlotzsky’s sandwiches are offered with the ability to swap out the bun for a gluten-free one instead. The gluten-free buns are from the brand Udi! This comes at an additional cost of $1.50 per sandwich.
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You will always need to opt for the gluten free crust* from Udi’s when ordering any pizza from the menu, as well as mentioning your allergy. The gluten free crust comes at an additional cost of $2.00.
The wheat flour bread sticks can be swapped out for Udi’s gluten-free breadsticks. All croutons* should also be omitted, as well as all garlic breadsticks*.
READ MORE: BEST Gluten-Free Bakeries in Nashville, TN
Schlotzsky’s also offers a “soup of the day,” which we cannot guarantee to be gluten-free.
However, we have confirmed the following options not listed below to be gluten-free from the restaurant and online data: Garden Vegetable, Timberline Chili.
All of Schlotzsky’s potato chips are gluten-free, except for the BBQ flavor. These flavors include the following:
FIND MORE: Gluten-Free Menu Options at Mission BBQ
One of the primary concerns among those with Celiac Disease (or any severe allergy/intolerance), is the fear of cross-contamination when dining out.
We all understand that the other ingredients used in the restaurant cannot always be fully controlled.
Often, ‘gluten-free’ at these kinds of establishments doesn’t ensure any kind of safety protocol with respect to using different or “dedicated” ovens.
Individuals with a severe, life-threatening reaction cannot afford to take the same risk as people with a mild allergy. Act accordingly, and never put yourself at risk.
As we’ve discussed before, it is absolutely vital you speak with restaurant staff and kitchen crew to ensure you advocate for your dietary needs.
If they cannot accommodate you (or seem unsure as to the level of safety in place for gluten-free patrons) you need to look elsewhere.
Your health is your priority, and you need to explicitly make it clear to staff that you have a serious health concern.
Most restaurants (including deli, sandwich, and pizzeria chains) are now aware of Celiac Disease and of gluten as a problematic allergen.
The public consciousness surrounding gluten has come a long way in the last decade. Never feel uncomfortable when you reach out to staff or a GM to confirm safety protocols.
Bread and pizza in particular are considered as very “high-risk” foods, with more than 50 percent of gluten free samples having detectable levels of gluten.
If you just decided to stay off gluten for overall well-being, then tiny traces of the substance isn’t an issue. But if you are allergic, then that’s a big NO.
There are some additional considerations you should always keep in mind:
Consumer and patron feedback on Schlotzsky’s is unfortunately quite mixed, and does not provide any sort of definitive answer as to the actual safety of their menu items.
One allergen awareness website reads, “in terms of sandwich shops, they struggle to be transparent.”
The very first review we looked at on a gluten-free dining site reads: “had such high hopes for the GF pizza. It was tasty, but was most definitely cross contaminated. Very sad. Stomach is killing me now.”
This probably isn’t what gluten-free sandwich or pizza lovers want to hear.
Browsing through the hundreds of reviews and customer feedback across various retail locations indicates the training of the staff on GF protocol may be region specific. Some locations seem to fare much better than others.
Other reviews are a whopping 5 stars out of 5, mentioning how much care staff took to avoid cross-contamination by cleaning, sanitizing, wearing gloves, and keeping the prepared GF food separate from the wheat products.
One of these 5 star Tripadvisor reviews proclaims that the “gluten-free crust is even better than the normal pizza crust.”
Another food blogger writes: “I asked the cashier to speak to someone about their procedure in place for [those] gluten free.
The manager on shift told me that they wash their hands prior, wear gloves when handling, and specifically place tinfoil under bread or pizza when it goes into the oven to prevent any cross contamination from occurring.
Gluten-free Udi’s products are cut with a different bread knife or pizza cutter, and they [compartmentalize] the stations.”
You can find a full breakdown of Schlotzsky’s gluten-free and Celiac food handling protocols here. It seems pretty in-depth.
Sadly, this doesn’t provide reassurance when negative online reviews mention someone with Celiac Disease getting cross-contaminated. The hundreds of positive reviews do, however, tend to outweigh the couple negative reviews.
Many customers seem to report gluten allergies, intolerances, and Celiac – all while still being able to dine at Schlotzsky’s without any fear of cross contamination when ordering.
It is clear from taking a look at the menu, that Schlotzsky’s does offer plenty of gluten-free options thanks to the addition of Udi’s gluten free breadsticks, buns, and pizza dough/crust being implemented in the restaurant.
The problem is the same as always – the risk of cross-contamination between the gluten-free products, and those containing gluten.
Especially considering the nature of a sandwich shop chain, it can be hard to guarantee any sort of 100% certainty that something did not come into contact with gluten or wheat.
While plenty of reviews do mention Celiac Disease as something taken seriously by restaurant staff (with a 10-step procedure in place), you still have the odd patron that winds up getting sick from eating there, despite sticking to gluten-free buns.
If you’re looking for an alternative restaurant as someone with a much more severe intolerance or Celiac Disease, we recommend a restaurant that is either strictly gluten-free, or has dedicated separate kitchens/protocols to ensure no cross contact.
If you’re located in Tennessee, Sunflower Bakehouse offers strictly vegan food, with a special gluten-free menu. They also take explicit precautions against other common allergens.
As they list in their FAQ, their bakery and any bread made on-site are always gluten-free. Pre-made wheat bread will be brought into the kitchen and go straight into dedicated containers.
GF allergies are taken seriously, and the kitchen is entirely sanitized with precautionary measures taken whenever staff receive a GF order or are notified of an allergy.
They offer a wide range of sandwiches, burgers, and hot entrees – including their delicious “Meatball Melt” on a gluten-free hoagie.
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