Gluten-Free Guide to Yuma

It’s always exciting when I get to check off seeing another city, especially when it’s in another state. While I don’t fret too much about it, I do wonder how gluten-free it’ll be. This was certainly on my mind when I headed over the California border to Yuma, Arizona.

Not knowing much about the city, it turns out Yuma is a budding community with a fascinating history. There’s plenty of accommodations making it perfect for a pit stop or overnight, yet ideal for a quick getaway not horribly far from LA. Yuma sits along the Colorado River which means plenty of chances to canoe, boat, fish, swim, you name it. I enjoyed a bike ride over the river levees thanks to Mr. B’s Bicycle Shop, attended the 2nd Annual Yuma Bird, Nature and History Festival, and got over 20 thousand steps a day in thanks to their beautiful neighborhoods to walk.

If food and drink are on the agenda, you won’t be disappointed. While on the surface I feared Yuma may not have much allergen-friendly fare, it turns out I encountered aplenty to keep me satisfied while in town.

Yuma Landing Bar and Grill

Yuma Landing Bar and Grill is a low-key, no-frills atmosphere serving up some of the best American cuisines in town. As those with gluten concerns know, good, old fashioned restaurants can often be a gluten-free diner’s worst nightmare. Yet at Yuma Landing, those kinds of worries were not an issue at all.

Owned by Yvonne Peach, who also owns the historic Coronado Motor Hotel, the Landing Bar and Grill offers extensive breakfast, lunch and dinner menus in addition to a full sports bar. While the usual bar and grill favorites like wings, burgers, and fries, I was pleased with the selection of dinner entrees like charbroiled chicken and gluten-free toast served at breakfast.

Don’t miss an opportunity to try their lineup of cocktails including the AV Fuel. A signature margarita on the rocks, one of these babies will have you ready for either a night on the town or some slumber!

If you’re also in need of an intimate environment to enjoy your meal, look no further than their Captain’s Lounge. Ideal for meetings and small functions, you’ll have the best of both worlds as you enjoy your drinks and food in a more private atmosphere.

The Yuma Landing (c) Mary Farah
The AV Fuel. (c) Mary Farah
Charbroiled chicken dinner. (c) Mary Farah
The Craven Violette Vodka Martini. (c) Mary Farah
River City Grill

When you want to take your dining up a notch in Yuma, River City Grill is where to head. Low lit tables for two as well as patio dining are available, and they offer the most impressive gluten-free menu I came across in Yuma.

In a part of the country that’s very South of the border oriented, River City Grill dares to entice their guests with plates drawing inspiration from the Mediterranean diet. Those who are plant-based will be delighted at their options, while the carnivores will drool at the steak and seafood. Nothing artificial is used and all plates are low in sugar; making dishes at River City Grill low in fat and rich in flavors.

The staff was extremely knowledgeable on gluten-free, and even have pasta available. Since Arizona is known for its sunshine and warm days, guests can enjoy one of three patios offered at the restaurant. Since it was a chilly night when I dined, this is reason enough to go back!

Garden Cafe

Make it a priority to enjoy weekend brunch on the patio at the Garden Cafe and Spice Company. Opened seasonally from October through May, the cafe sits on land with four generations of history at the E. F. Sanguinetti House, operated by the Arizona Historical Society.

Owned by Debbie Gwynn, daughter of Sanguinetti, the Garden Cafe is Yuma’s very own secret garden; with great coffee and food to boot. As you make your way down a winding, narrow and brick walkway, a courtyard welcomes you to the sounds of birds chirping and a fragrance of citrus trees. Lively and bustling, it was clear this is the place to be on a Sunday morning in Yuma.

Room sized aviaries with flying cockatiels watch over the lively patio of diners. The atmosphere is colorful and vibrant, and the servers are extremely attentive. While some menu favorites like Swedish oatmeal pancakes may be off-limits for gluten-free dining, the cafe still has plenty to make for a delightful experience. The Sonora or turkey scramble are two excellent options, and despite no gluten-free bread, a colorful plate of fruit was a welcomed alternative.

Blackened salmon at River City Grill. (c) Mary Farah
The stunning patio at the Garden Cafe. (c) Mary Farah
The Sonora Scramble. (c) Mary Farah
Yuma’s North End Coffeehouse. (c) Mary Farah
North End Coffeehouse

After a wonderful morning at the West Wetlands Park, I knew I was ready for some downtime with my laptop and a cup of tea. I stumbled into North End Coffeehouse and instantly wanted to grab a seat and enjoy the music and sounds of the busy hangout.

Something I did encounter a few times in town: green teas are hard to come by. As an avid coffee lover, I’ve sadly had to reduce my intake due to health reasons. While the Garden Cafe didn’t have any green teas available, North End also didn’t have the usual lineup I’m accustomed to. Just a citron green and matcha latte. Perhaps it’s an LA thing? 

Nevertheless, a cup of Joe sounded mighty good and it’d been a few weeks. Between the perfectly roasted cup of java and their gluten-free peanut butter cookies, I was a happy camper.

Their gluten-free peanut butter cookies are a regular menu item, and you get three for 2.50. Terrific place to catch up on work or just enjoy the local color.

Squeezed Juice and Smoothies

More of an “honorable mention,” I found Squeezed just in the nick of time. I was driving and feeling quite hangry, and knew I was craving a fresh-squeezed juice or smoothie. Living in LA will do that to you, I suppose. I came across Squeezed and was instantly hooked at their wide selection of smoothies, juices, superfood bowls, sandwiches, and more.

For bonus points, Squeezed is right down the street from Sprout’s where all of your gluten-free needs can be covered!

(*Disclosure: I was hosted at several of the restaurants mentioned on behalf of story purposes. All opinions are my own.)

 

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