I know, TGI Fridays was a shock to me too. It used to be pretty bad; ribs without sauce, baked potatoes, no deserts or starters. It’s slowly gotten better over the years and I recently decided to give it a go after having not been in for quite some time – mostly because I got a voucher for there and who am I to say no?
As I went in and asked for a table, I also asked for a gluten free menu. The young hostess didn’t even bat an eyelid and immediately swapped the menu in her hand for a gluten free one. Alright, off to a good start here. My waitress took my drink order and then informed me that I would not being served by her but by the manager, as their policy states.
Oooh, special treatment! I could get used to this.
The gluten free menu was on one side and the lactose free one was on the other. The gluten free menu was more extensive than I had thought it might be; 5 starters – two different flavoured nachos and three different flavoured potato skins -, 4 mains – including ribs – and 7 burgers – all with gluten free buns -, 5 different sides – including the chips! yay! -, but, a tiny disappointment, only one dessert – a popcorn sundae. The variety of food isn’t the biggest I’ve seen but it’s enough to get the real taste of TGI Fridays and it’s barbeque American flavour.
If you have time before you go and have allergies other than the two listed above, check out their online menu which includes coding for 12 other allergens and the 2 they have separate menus for. But remember, always ask, they’re usually happy to change something up and leave things off if you want something specifically. Even the drinks menu is coded.
I decided to have the French Dip Burger with a gluten free bun. The manager came over and took the order. He then proceeded to explain to me what they did to make sure my food was served gluten free; including preparing the food in a separate part of the kitchen with new utensils and one chef cooking the food by themselves, their knowledge of cross contamination and allergens. He asked me if I was intolerant or a coeliac. Although they do their best for both types of allergies, they take extra special care if you are a coeliac – so always mention it to them if you are.
I’m going to say this right out; the burger was better than I expected. It was full of flavour. The beef patty was cooked medium-rare; it was soft and juicy and tender. The Swiss cheese wasn’t fully melted but was at that point just before; thick in some places and soft and stringy in others. The caramelised onions were full of flavour and just strong enough to bite through the other strong flavours in the burger. The bun was crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, something often difficult to get from gluten free buns so bravo to them. The whole thing worked together really well and I would happily order the same thing again.
The chips were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and is very warm. Just don’t do what I did; I used the rich beef sauce it came with to not only dip my burger in – as intended and very recommended by me – but to dip my chips in too and …that really didn’t work. My stupid idea anyway, stick to the tomato ketchup or BBQ sauce.
Remember, life’s too short to eat bad food.