Continuing on our theme of western Virginia small towns, we come to Luray, VA. A small town off I-81 famous for the amazing Luray Caverns, all hope is surprisingly not lost for gluten free food, even here! Aside from the Caverns and a modest but impressive car museum, there isn’t too much to this town. There are some bed and breakfasts and it’s near the Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park.
But, our highlight today for gluten free folks was a nice little place called Gennaro’s that had gluten free pizza! It was simple, but large, and enough! The waitress didn’t seem knowledgeable, though she was very kind and brought me the ingredient label when I asked (I was checking for my other intolerances, such as sorghum). The cook/chef/maybe owner did seem knowledgeable (and he also had that comforting-to-a-celiac Italian accent) and I didn’t get sick. The pizza was not anything impressive, similar to an Udi’s crust–but certainly something I was happy they had, so I could eat something! (Please ignore my family’s gluten sandwich and non safe fries in the background–only the pizza was safe!)
There was also a small bakery with gluten and gluten free items called Triple Oak Bakery nearby. I emailed the owner ahead of time and found out they had sorghum in their flour blend, so unfortunately I couldn’t partake. However, she was so responsive and kind that I wanted to be sure to mention her bakery as an option for the many of you who are gluten free and can tolerate sorghum!
Also, here’s some photos of the Luray Caverns–truly a must see when you are nearby!
Recently I had to travel to Lynchburg, VA for work. It’s a large town/small city but before I went it seemed like a middle of nowhere place. Naturally, I did lots of research as to where I could eat safely. Aside from chain restaurants, one of the very few recommendations was La Villa–a small, local Italian restaurant. (I often find authentic Italian restaurants to be celiac-friendly, likely because Italy is!)
The owner was actually the one who sat us and when I asked for a gluten free menu, he took quite the interest. He asked how I learned about the restaurant and proudly shared with me how many options they have and how the chefs are fully trained in Italy. He told me they fully understand celiac and gluten free safety. They essentially have a whole second kitchen area where they do the gluten free prep!
Normally this much tomato sauce would scare me–I like some, but heartburn appears often with too much…or so I thought. The owner convinced me I should try my dishes the way they come–with lots of housemade tomato sauce, made fresh and boiled down 6 hours EACH DAY! (It also didn’t have added onion, another suspect.) Surprise–no heartburn!
Above on the left is the gluten free cheese-stuffed ravioli. On the right is the gluten free chicken parmesan (grilled instead of fried) with Bionature GF pasta. I did not ask about nuts, but I did not have any issues.
The atmosphere was very casual–it reminded me of a remodeled interior of a Pizza Hut, but the food was of a much higher caliber. So know, if you’re ever in the Lynchburg area (for Lynchburg College, Liberty University, or the nearby Appomatox Courthouse) in search of gluten free, be sure to stop in to La Villa! (and tell em Gluten Free VA sent ya)