Pearl #48: Gluten-free at Derby (Chicago)

Jan 4th

In light of the end of the 2014 college football season…and Mizzou’s clenching of the SEC East Division Title…and the win by Mizzou Tigers against University of Minnesota Gophers in the Citrus Bowl, I thought a blog post on gluten-free options at Derby, the official Mizzou bar, would be fitting.

Sports bars + gluten-free can be hard. You are likely day drinking. You always want food. The waiters have so much crazy on their hands to deal with that it can be hard to get answers from them.

I’ve always found it pretty easy to eat at Derby…mostly in part because I got my hands on this bad boy several months back:Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

It’s elusive for sure, as not every server knows of its existence (and/or doesn’t have time to track it down). So let this be your guidepost (but of course be sure to confirm with the waiter, too, as menus/ingredients may change). And be sure to let the server know if you have an allergy, as they handle those requests differently in the back to reduce cross-contamination.

I’ve generally stuck to the burgers and wings. For a football game, the “bone-in BBQ short rib” and the “grilled Norwegian Salmon” specialties seem a bit elevated while everyone else around you in shoveling in tater tots and toasted ravioli.

I’m a big fan of the grilled wings with gluten-free buffalo sauce, but they are suupper messy. Ask for lots of napkins. Derby can’t confirm the ranch to be gluten-free, so I stick with the blue cheese dressing as a dipper. It also comes with celery and carrots for dipping.

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The burger is also really good. You can add a gluten-free bun for $2 extra.

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The fries and tater tots are not GF (tear rolls down slowly), so I generally stick with the veggies as a side. I don’t often get excited about veggies as a side, but these are really good. Probably because they are swimming in butter and salt. But hey, the veggies are fresh and it’s a good combo – zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, onions, celery and carrots. If veggies aren’t your thing you can get quinoa, coleslaw, or mashed potatoes.


The bun has issues. By the time you’re done, you’ll have a crumb shower on your hands; please see below. And your lap. And your sweater. Plan B, resort to knife and fork. But it’s still a decent bun.

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I haven’t tried the salads as it’s too hard to pass up something with gluten-free bread. But I’ve seen others get them and they look pretty good.

As for drinks, you’re in luck, too.

They have a great cider selection: Stella Cidre, Crispin, Strongbow and Vandermill for $6 and then a big Magner’s 22 oz can for $10. They also have the gluten-removed Omission Pale Ale, in a bottle. Sadly, their Bloody Mary’s are not gluten-free. Which means I usually go for the premium mimosa – a mini-carafe of orange juice and a Mionetto Prosecco Split for $10. It’s definitely a better deal than their regular mimosa.

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In closing…M-I-Z!

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Until next time,

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