Sweet Pepper Deli just opened off Broad St in Athens. This is their 19th store so I was super excited about eating there with some friends today. I got there a bit early to find out about dietary items and that is when I was hit with sadness. I asked the lady at the register if she knew if anything was gluten free. She asked me to repeat my question 3 times and then asked if I was diabetic. Hilarious! She finally pulled over a manager who brought out the head manager. He informed me that they don't have any nutritional facts or ingredient lists for ANY of their products and the only thing he knew that is gluten free is their chili and baked lays. I've become accustomed to people being unaware of the gluten free diet here in Athens so I had a few follow up questions. First, did he have any of the ingredient lists for salad dressing? Nope. Are there any dressings he knew were GF? Nope, probably the balsamic vinaigrette. After he walked away I stood looking at the menu trying to decide if I could alter ANYTHING so I could enjoy food. I found the chicken ceasar salad and figured I could just get it with oil vinaigrette.
The manager came back over and asked if I had found anything. I told him I was thinking of altering the chicken ceasar salad. He mentioned to remind them not to put croutons on it (really? you know croutons have gluten in them?) Then he said he was unsure if the sundried tomatoes had any gluten in preservatives in them. Sounds like my lunch is going to be yummy :-/
So basically I got lettuce with "grilled" chicken that was definitely previously frozen with pieces of fat still on it and oil and vinegar for $7. The best part? Packets of crackers were on the plate!
Both managers at Sweet Peppers told me a "nutritionist is working on" nutrition facts. I thought it was illegal not to have ingredient lists available but I later find out it's state by state. All my friends enjoyed their meals but mine was definitely a BUST! I will be avoiding Sweet Peppers until their website reflects GF options. With all the food allergies in the world and opening their 19th franchise, they are WAY behind on the times.
Sad day for food.