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Dining Out Gluten Free: Karl Strauss Brewery July 30, 2010

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in Dining Out.

Karl Strauss Brewery, San Diego

Burgers, pasta, beer, beer and things cooked in beer. Karl Strauss Brewery has nice locations throughout San Diego. And, is the closest casual spot to my office. So when I tell you to avoid it, it is with the experience of trying to eat here again and again, trying many different things, and many “talks” with staff. As much as I want to make it work for the convenience, it has been impossible for me to eat here without feeling sick and without disappointment. 99% of the menu is breaded, fried or is made with beer. The salads included. Beer, bread, frying batter all contain gluten. Here are items I’ve tried unsuccessfully.

  • Burger no bun, no fries: the fries are contaminated in the fryer with the breaded items so should be avoided. The burger, no bun has been disappointing. I’d describe it as a floppy, cold patty covered in a loose salad. Unfortunately they do not know how to make a protein wrap. With the manager directing my order, my last meal came with fries all over it and they had to go back to fix it. The person doing so with great annoyance at me that they had botched my order and I guess in general at my food allergy. By the way…this was the second burger I ordered to go that was cold. I picked it up within 10 minutes of calling it in
  • Salad and soup:  Dining in this time, I carefully ordered a salad with a non-beer dressing and a tortilla soup with no “fried” tortilla strips after having “the talk” with the waitress. She was sweet but my soup still came back with fried strips which I had to send back. I was sick for the next 24 hours after eating here so I believe there must have been wheat in the soup or some other contaminated item in my dish.

The main challenge with Karl Strauss is that they are not a health conscious restaurant nor are they transparent. McDonald’s takes more responsibility and provides more disclosure. There is no online menu, no ingredients list online and the staff can hardly tell you what goes into the food. Avoid avoid avoid.

I found a pdf fax menu file online if you are curious, it’s typical bar food>>



1. jdo - November 11, 2010

I know what you’re talking about. Went there yesterday and had a salad with grilled chicken and raspberry vinaigrette (which the waiter and chef swore had no gluten) and immediately got a headache and tired feeling. This morning I woke up with hives on my arms… typical allergic reaction for me. Love the food, but need to stick with the food court across the street for now.

2. Melonie Gallegos - November 11, 2010

Oh geez hives? That’s awful. I wish people were more educated because I love eating out. It’s sad that you can’t even get a salad that’s safe. Now I ask for olive oil and vinegar and mix the dressing myself when I eat out anywhere. Add some salt and pepper and it’s pretty good.

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