When we planned a weekend getaway to the Adirondacks, I was hoping to find a handful of places that had gluten-free menus or at least acknowledged they understood GF food. I did a lot of research before we left and came up with almost nothing. There is a little organic market in Lake Placid, called Green Goddess, that makes GF sandwiches. I couldn’t find anything that had GF food within the park online.
Noon Mark Diner
Simply by luck we stumbled onto the Noon Mark Diner in tiny Keene Valley, which is on the way from Lake George to Lake Placid. We found this place only because we stopped in a shop next door and asked about restrooms. They sent us to the diner where we were confronted with a huge sign about
their gluten-free options. Not only do they have amazing options like GF lasagna, French toast, sandwiches, and pancakes, but you can buy or mail order a lot of things too (pies,
coffee cakes and lasagna). We started with a bowl of cream of spinach and artichoke soup. It was broken and was clearly from the bottom of the pot since
the sign had changed to list another soup by the time we left. It tasted ok even if the cream soup had broken. Even so, this
should never have been served and neither the cook nor the waitress intervened to stop it
from going out. We tried pancakes, French toast and lasagna. These were ok. It wasn’t fantastic and the service was not great, but it was such a treat to go somewhere and have so many options. The French toast could have soaked longer. The
pancakes could have been cooked a bit longer. We had no complaints about the lasagna though. This is a shocking little oasis of gluten-free joy in the midst of the beautiful state park. There’s lots of cute little shops in Keene and Keene Valley, so it’s definitely worth a stop.
I was surprised that there were really no other gluten options to be found in Lake George (a very busy area) or areas north of there. A little more digging helped me discover there are LOTS of great gluten-free choices about half an hour south of Lake George in the Saratoga Springs area. We were staying in Lake George, so this was accessible for us. If we had stayed farther north in the park, we
would not have been so willing to drive down there each night to eat!
Fifty South is a little past Saratoga Springs in Ballston Spa (maybe 10 min away). This was the best place we dined. The outside of
the restaurant looked a little weird to us. It felt really old and not updated. We thought how can this place have a menu that is almost entirely GF? It looked a little old-fashioned when we walked in until our eyes adjusted. The
decor was awesome – birch branches on the walls and ceiling. Kitchen towels for napkins. A piano player. Our waiter was friendly and helpful, if a little awkward. I did a little happy dance that we could order almost anything on the menu. The specials menu was also completely GF! We were truly stunned.
Instead of bread, we were brought a plate of homemade potato chips with tapenade. They would have been amazing if they were warm.
I started with the broccoli, cauliflower, cheddar and leek soup which was fantastic. It was warm, creamy, and did not have any overpowering taste of the vegetables as some of these soups do (especially when they are overcooked). The
husband had the poached pear salad, which had goat cheese, cranberries and candied pecans. It was a lovely little salad and the maple vinaigrette was perfect. We were off to an amazing start.
The entrees didn’t quite live up to our great beginnings though. I had the scallops with lemon caper sauce and mashed potatoes. The
scallops were perfectly cooked, but they were placed on top of the potatoes and the sauce was lost into the potatoes. The dish was also not warm. The husband had linguini and clam sauce, one of his most missed dishes from his days as a
gluten eater. This dish was also cold and there was no broth at all in the bowl. It came with a piece of gluten free toast, meant for mopping up the sauce, but there was just no sauce. Disappointing. Both dishes were prepared well otherwise and had good flavors, but fell down on the execution.
We had to have dessert since they actually had something other than ice cream and creme brulee (my biggest pet peeve as a GF diner is the failure to remember dessert!) I had a brownie sundae and the husband had apple crisp. We enjoyed both immensely.
We will definitely go back to this restaurant when in the area and highly recommend it for a quality GF dining experience.
Situated in the heart of Saratoga Springs, Wheatfield’s is an attractive little downtown place (they also have a location in Clifton Park). We chuckled at the fact that a place with a large GF
menu was called Wheatfield’s. We made a reservation and when we arrived we were asked if we wanted a table or to sit at the bar. ?????? Why would I make a reservation if I was
going to come and sit at the bar? Our table was a tiny table against the banquette and we were smushed between a couple on their first date and an awkward parents meeting the girlfriend dinner on the other side.
Things started off well when our server brought us gluten-free bread. This was a lovely little warm baguette, not the usual pre-made sliced bread that is toasted. I give them high marks for this. I started with the spinach and kale salad with cranberries and goat cheese from the specials menu. It was nicely made. The husband had the Caesar salad, which had no anchovies in the dressing at all and had clearly been made with mayonnaise. This one got very low marks. For my entree, I ordered the crab mac and cheese special. It was nice with a creamy sauce and some chunks of real crab. The husband ordered a pizza with sausage and mushrooms – excited to order a GF pizza with the crust made in-house. This would have been good, but it was served cold, but on a very warm plate. Perhaps they thought they could serve us a pizza made earlier in the day by putting it
on a hot plate? There were no dessert choices other than the usual, so we passed.
My advice is skip this and head to Fifty South.
A restaurant that makes homemade gluten-free fried chicken? Get the smelling salts, I might faint! Hattie’s Chicken Shack does indeed
serve GF fried chicken. Don’t make the same mistake we made though! There is a Hattie’s in downtown Saratoga Springs. This is the original Hattie’s and they do NOT have GF chicken on their menu. You have to go to the location near the Wilton Mall for the GF menu. Once we found this little storefront in a strip mall, we were happy we’d made the effort. We both ordered the GF fried half chicken. It takes an additional 20 minutes (even though the menu says 15) and it costs $6 more than the regular version. It was worth it though We also tried fries, sweet potato fries and cucumber salad. The chicken was crispy, very hot and superb, except for one breast which was tough and I suspect was old or perhaps fried twice. All the other pieces were wonderful – juicy and moist. The fries were good and I LOVED the cucumber salad. It was a wonderful side dish and something you don’t see every day. We ate way too much, but couldn’t help it since it is so unusual to find GF
fried chicken! We highly recommend Hattie’s if you are in the area. It could be addictive.
Overall, we fared much better than expected on this trip and believe we’ve found some gems to return to in the future.