A vegan gluten-free restaurant in Chicago has failed to take hold. The Balanced Kitchen opened its doors in 2008. In less than a year it was obvious the vegan gluten-free restaurant concept was doomed to fail. The restaurant, once located at 6263 North McCormick Road in Lincolnwood, is now out of business. They once featured a state-of-the art dining experience, offering a wide range of main course foods, sides, and appetizers. They even included a gluten, dairy, and egg-free baked goods case.
Are Exclusively Gluten-free Restaurants Feasible?
The vegan Gluten-free Restaurant in Chicago was a fabulous concept for people with celiac disease. But is special dietary food for celiac or vegan diners tasty enough for their wheat and meat eating friends? As much as I would love to see more exclusive restaurants cropping up I worry that sustainability is too difficult. Our dining friends and family who do not eat a gluten-free diet certainly don’t like being forced to eat gluten-free. They find the food more expensive and less tasty than the typical fare they normally enjoy. Many celiacs choose to eat meat, and even more have discovered a grain-free low carb diet is better for their digestion. This makes the target market shrink substantially.
More about The Balanced Kitchen
This vegan gluten-free restaurant was the dream-child of New York Culinary Institute graduate and pastry chef, Betty Alper. Shortly after graduation Betty became ill and was subsequently diagnosed with celiac disease. This spurred her into developing gluten free flour combinations that mimic the fluffy texture of wheat. She tried to realize her dreams and talents in The Balanced Kitchen, that was open for lunch, carryout, and weekend brunch by reservation only.
The Balanced Kitchen’s food was produced without wheat, dairy, or animal products. Those with a corn or soy intolerance had to call in advance and inquire. The staff was very knowledgeable about food intolerance issues and food allergies. The Balanced Kitchen advertised a willingness to work with customers. Food production is still available and customers can buy BOT bakery products in select local stores. For more information visit: http://www.facebook.com/botbakery.
Vegan Gluten-free: The Balanced Kitchen (Closed)
A sample menu of dishes is still available online for readers to view.
I certainly hope Alper hangs in there and considers how she can re-market her products for her specific clientele. Perhaps she can offer frozen cross-contamination free entrees for area restaurants to heat and serve. Not the ideal, but certainly an option.