Going gluten-free in Fort Wayne, Part 1: Sandwiches

gflogo Going gluten free in Fort Wayne, Part 1: SandwichesIf you have a special diet and are traveling outside of your community, it can be stressful finding restaurants that can accommodate your restriction.

More and more people are becoming gluten intolerant, or worse — being diagnosed with Celiac disease. In fact, the New York Times reported that Celiac disease is more than four times more prevalent now than it was just 50 years ago.

I developed a gluten intolerance two years ago, and as someone who consumed a lot of bread and wheat products, it put a major dent into my life. Suddenly, I couldn’t eat sandwiches. Doughnuts. Bagels. PIZZA!

As the gluten-free lifestyle booms, and eating wheat-free diets becomes trendy, restaurants in Fort Wayne are taking notice. For a while I thought I was doomed to eat salads for the rest of my life, hold the croutons please. But I’ve explored, asked questions, and discovered some real gems that let me diversify my diet and get my carb fix back.

This, the first in a series of posts, will focus on the sandwich shops. Stay tuned for tips on finding good pizza and pasta in town as well!


Before my gluten intolerance, I think it’s safe to say my staple food was the sandwich. I loved all kinds; hamburgers, turkey, subs, even those little cucumber mini-sandwiches on rye. For a year or so, I ate none, save for moments of weakness that ended badly. I’m pleased that now I have a few options with various gluten-free breads.

The Dash-In (place page)
“The Dash,” as the regulars call it,  is a popular lunch option for downtown residents, artists, and businesspeople alike. It’s situated on Calhoun Street in the middle of the urban center, in a trendy restored building with walls adorned with art. They serve the best (gluten-free!) tomato bisque soup you’ll ever eat, and if you’re craving a sandwich, you’re in luck: they serve any of their sandwiches with French Meadow gluten-free bread. It’s a hearty bread, but tastes like sourdough or whole wheat. Be sure to ask for the kitchen to toast it first, as that helps the structural integrity of the bread. Try it with the gourmet grilled cheese selection or the Mediterranean veggie variety.


deli grab med 300x270 Going gluten free in Fort Wayne, Part 1: Sandwiches

Three Rivers Food Co-op and Deli (place page)
Head north of downtown for about a mile and you’ll find this gem tucked into an up-and-coming neighborhood. With a natural grocery store attached, the Co-op boasts a huge selection of organic and vegan foods, as well as many gluten-free options. Get gluten free sandwiches at the Deli made with Sammi’s gluten free bread, made with millet and flax-seed flour. And, their hot-line next to the phenomenal salad bar also boasts two or more gluten free dishes each day.

Stay tuned next week for gluten-free pizza joints!


Andy Welfle is a nonprofit geek, a pencil blogger, and freelance writer living and working in Fort Wayne. He loves urban bicycling, the nonprofit arts and culture community, and his cranky cat named Sachen, which is the German word for "things".

13 Responses to “Going gluten-free in Fort Wayne, Part 1: Sandwiches”

    May 30th, 2011
    Thanks for sharing about the Dash-In. I didn't know they had GF bread. How knowledgeable did you find them to be on the GF status of the rest of their menu items? Did they manage cross-contamination concerns well? Can't wait to check it out!
    Andy Welfle
    May 31st, 2011
    Rachael, Thanks for the comment! I wouldn't say they're super knowledgeable, but it's a pretty small place, so it doesn't take long for the servers to ask the kitchen staff, who do know. I honestly don't know about the cross-contamination. But I'm guessing they aren't vigilant about that. I don't have an extreme intolerance or Celiac's, so I don't have to worry about it, but I know that it's an issue for many people! You could give them a call and ask, though!
    October 5th, 2011
    Andy, Downtown actually has 4 places where one could find a gluten free sandwich! You missed the three below. The Peony Tea House (503 W Wayne St) can accommodate a GF eater when given advance notice (with homemade bread, bless their hearts). I dropped in yesterday and they had everything in stock, plus a cookie, brownie, scone, and cupcake! The Health Food Shoppe's Downtown Deli (inside Cottage Flowers, 236 E Wayne St) has an assortment of gluten free sandwich options, and a hot entree. And, as you know, the Pembroke Bakery and Cafe will be opening soon in the Auer Center at 300 E Main Street.
      February 26th, 2012
      Nice ! Thank you! This is so very helpful! Recently discoered I have a gluten sensitivity and am learning more about eating Gluten -Free and frankly, eating out has been very overwhelming and frustrating. These options are great!
    October 5th, 2011
    Thanks Christy! We are always on the look out for great GF options!
    Marika Hamilton
    January 26th, 2012
    This may sound funny.... but Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches has a Gluten-Free option that is delicious! Check out a Jimmy John's UNWICH.... it is any of our awesome sandwiches wrapped in lettuce... instead of bread! Have a more severe allergy and worried about cross contamination - just let us know and we will gladly switch out gloves, knives and cutting boards. Now open at: 101 W. Wayne St. Fort Wayne, IN 46802 260-420-1533
      January 26th, 2012
      Wow! That is awesome - and great news, since the new downtown Fort Wayne Jimmy Johns is located just two blocks from the Grand Wayne Convention Center, and Visitors Center! Thanks for the tip!
      Erica V.
      February 23rd, 2012
      Jimmy John's unwich is fantastic . . . . BUT not all their ingredients, like the cheese, are gluten-free. It works for me because I have an intolerance, not an allergy, but if you are super sensitive, tell them about your allergy, ask them to change their gloves and no cheese. My fave is the #11. Enjoy!
    April 23rd, 2012
    are you craving some good italian food? im celiac and Casa, Olive Garden For Italian offer gluten free options, and a Few More Options Wendys, Applebees, LoneStar, Bakers Street, Arbys, for some reason i can tolerate B dubs Ultimate Nachoes, B Antonios Pizza,YESSS I SAID PIZZA :) Biaggis, Roasted bean and many many more So Excited People are realizing the Frustration of trying to eat out and being celiac
    December 4th, 2012
    Pint & Slice next to The Dash has gluten-free pizza.
    Jo Adkison
    March 25th, 2013
    Thank you for the great recommendations! Some I've discovered: North Anthony Health Food Shoppe has a great food bar with GF but you have to go up front and get it weighed (priced by the pound) before you eat it! I really enjoy it though because sometimes you're not starving yet you get a tasty and healthy variety of soup entrees and salad. I also love 800 Degrees GF pizza with their homemade sausage. Biaggis has the best GF bread in Fort Wayne and they have a potato crusted tilapia that is GF & really good! Trying to find great GF Meat lasagne is really hard in Fort Wayne, but when I asked at Casa on W. Jefferson for the closest thing to it, they customized for me and it was really pretty good.
    April 17th, 2013
    How about the Fox & Hound?
    pizza lover
    May 11th, 2014
    timmys pizza and bbq at 105 n randolph street next to martins tavern in garrett has an awesome gluten free pizza. plus everything else on the menu is amazing

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