Update: Based on repeat, positive experiences, the experience outlined below is likely an outlier.
It’s that time of year again. The first snow fell this weekend in Boston, and everyone is beginning to plan those Christmastime ski vacations. Unlike many of y’all, I’ve been fortunate to spend entire ski seasons working on the mountain. And, last year, I was out in Colorado.
For those of you who visit Vail or Beaver Creek, Larkburger in Edwards will pop up as a quick, easy gluten free friendly spot. While I didn’t have an awful experience here, I also didn’t have the best! Hopefully, this review will help you understand the pros and cons of this restaurant for diners with celiac disease and food allergies.
Larkburger (Edwards, CO)
To begin, despite being what may look like a typical burger joint, Larkburger has some amazing features that I need to outline
- Natural Food. There are no preservatives or additives, and the sauces are made in house.
- Environmentally Friendly. They use biodegradable containers, and their utensils from corn and potato starch. They reuse canola oil to power cars, and built their restaurants with reused wood paneling. Finally, their 100% wind-powered!
Pretty cool, right?! Next, consider that the only gluten in their stores is the brioche buns! You can replace them for a gluten free roll or a lettuce wrap. (They have a dairy free bun as well.) And, while Larkburger is NOT a dedicated gluten free restaurant, they do “practice extreme caution in preparing [their] gluten-free orders and do [their] best to ensure a gluten-free product,” but ask you to be aware that cross-contamination is still a possibility.
While they claim to practice extreme caution, my issue here was that my meal came out touching my friend’s brioche bun on the plate! They showed the cross-contact right in front of me! (And, this was after I asked a lot of questions about their cross-contact protocols.)
Fortunately, one waiter (who knew about celiac) seemed highly concerned and re-made my meal. (It wasn’t too crowded.) However, the other workers didn’t see the problem or really seem too serious about the gluten free environment. As with any chain, it all depends on the workers you have that day. Therefore, if you choose to eat here, I ask that you be a strong advocate for yourself.
I chose a chicken sandwich since it was going in a lettuce wrap, but my friend said her burger was delicious. My chicken was juicy, and well seasoned. AND, despite my qualms above, this was honestly a delicious, quick meal that didn’t make me sick!
The fries were certainly a highlight. I love any time that I can order fries out of a gluten free fryer, and these ones were long and crisp. (I love the saltiness to them too!)
Now, I should note that Larkburger is a Colorado chain, and this post is only about my experience at the Edwards location. They all serve the same food, and some may be more celiac aware.
This is a great spot for gluten free fries, and it’s true that the only gluten in the establishment is the brioche buns. However, I personally choose not to frequent this establishment too often, but I’d feel okay eating here when it’s not crowded and I have a chance to talk to the person prepping my food. When dining here, you truly need to be an advocate for yourself to ensure that there is no cross-contact! (And, if you don’t feel comfortable, leave.)
Have you dined at Larkburger?! Where’s your favorite gluten free spot that sells celiac-safe french fries?