The new Noodles & Company in The Gallery at Westbury Plaza shopping center (Old Navy/Trader Joes/Container Store) offers gluten-free options! The restaurant, situated in the South back of the shopping center (in between Old Navy and Red Mango!) offers noodle dishes and Salads that can be made to accommodate a gluten-free diner. Their menu states “Allergies? Please ask for our Allergen Guide” (and you can also view and print it here: www.Noodles.com/nutrition) . I stopped into Noodles & Company after shopping hoping to get a quick bite to eat. I went to the front order counter and asked to see the Allergen Guide. The Allergen Guide is written to let us know what items would be safe to eat on a GF diet, but they are being very careful to let you know that there is a true risk of cross-contamination. I love the first line “We sell noodles, and a lot of them, so we can’t guarantee that your food won’t come into contact with gluten, but we will do our best to accommodate your request.” The next line says “if you’re looking to reduce gluten”… I’ve never seen a statement so blatant that they are nervous of cross contamination there so they are stating a CYA all over the place.
With that said, I spoke with one of the supervisors and asked her about their actual cross-contamination reduction practices. Based on what she told me I felt comfortable eating there. I realize that any time I eat out there is a risk of cross-contamination, but it comes down to the knowledge of the staff and their best practices on how “safe” they make it. The supervisor said that each morning, when they pre-cook the noodles for the day they make sure to cook all of the GF Fusilli and the naturally GF rice noodles in the pots first, and then cook the rest of their pastas. When you order a GF dish, an allergy alert is put into the computer (make sure to mention it to your order taker) and they will make sure to use a new stir fry pan and cook your order separately. She seemed very knowledgeable in the steps necessary to be taken to avoid cross-contamination, although the first person I asked (a worker behind the counter assembling the plates) did not know what Gluten was, but she asked the person behind her who knew right away what they do, as did the woman taking my order at the register who knew to put in the allergy alert.
I took a picture of the allergen guide part that pertained to Gluten, so you can see the options you have available to you (or view online here)- but I have to say I was most excited about the Pad Thai and I was not disappointed! It was very yummy and light and a small order (they have small and large) was a perfect amount for lunch! My son got the Pasta Fresca with GF Fusilli and added chicken, and that was very good as well. I’m excited to try The Med Salad next time I go. With that salad you just have to ask for it without the cavatappi noodles, but the supervisor said you can ask for the GF Fusilli in place of it ( I think the salad sounds delicious even without noodles on top). An added bonus is that it’s next door to a Red Mango- so I was able to get GF Fro-Yo for dessert!! This quick-serve restaurant was a great find and I was pleasantly surprised at my meal at Noodles & Company!
I hope the next time I go back the staff will all be as knowledgeable as the staff was this time and that I have the same positive experience in this new establishment.
The Gallery At Westbury Plaza
996 Old Country Road