Chevys Fresh Mex launches gluten-free menu

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Domino's PIzza and Chuck E. Cheese have also launched gluten-free poducts

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The risks of cross-contamination are emphasized, said Mollie Hartman, Chevys manager of training and development.

“The team learns how to follow specific instructions that Chevys enacts to reduce the risk of cross-contamination, including cleaning of prep and cooking surfaces,” she said.

“Chevys also excluded all fried items from its gluten-free menus to further safeguard against cross-contamination,” she added. To offer truly gluten-free fried foods, a restaurant must have a separate fryer designated for non-gluten items only.

On the menu, Chevys also warns that items cooked on the mesquite grill or comal may not be gluten-free.

Chevys also developed a “GF” prefix code for its point-of-sale system for gluten-free items, and staff members are trained to follow specific plating instructions and recipes when a GF item rings up, Hartman said.

The menu, however, also includes a disclaimer, saying, “Chevys and Healthy Dining assume no responsibility for its use and any resulting liability or consequential damages are denied. Our management and service team members are not trained on the intricacies of celiac disease or gluten intolerance and cannot be expected to provide recommendations or other advice on this issue.”

Chevys gluten-free selections include a shrimp fajita salad with apple-chipotle vinaigrette; fajitas with garlic shrimp or seasonal veggies; enchiladas with the chain’s signature Original Salsa Chicken or picadillo beef; lunch bowls with mesquite-grilled veggies, shrimp or salmon; and sides such as guacamole, rice and beans. Tortillas on the menu are made from corn and softened on a cleaned flat grill with no oil.

The menu will be available at Chevys' 42 corporate locations and some of the chain’s 18 franchise units, the company said.

Chevys president Brian Wright said the new offering is part of a menu overhaul to refocus on fresh, from-scratch cooking.

“We’ve been revitalizing our cuisine offerings and approach to customer service, based on guest feedback, and we saw the importance of not only providing a variety of gluten-free dishes, but making the ordering process easier for our guests,” said Wright, in a statement. “We are committed to creating an enjoyable experience for all guests, including those with dietary restrictions.”

Editor's Note:  An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed the training program to Healthy Dining. Healthy Dining worked with Chevys on developing the gluten-free menu, but did not design the training program to prevent cross contamination.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout