RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — Do you know what gluten is? It’s a type of protein in many foods, like wheat, that a growing number of people can’t eat for health reasons.
So, to be sure, many gluten-free people will avoid dining out.
CBS 17 caught up with a local gluten-free blogger who is working to change that by connecting local restaurant owners with people like her.
“It got to the point where I didn’t feel like I could eat out at a restaurant at all,” Tricia Timney said. “It was, just find one or two restaurants around you that you can trust and avoid everything else. Or just go get a salad.
But Timney is not a salad girl. And she’s not the only one
“[People] bring their own food, instead of trying this rich cultural experience that Raleigh offers,” she said.
Checking local restaurant menus before dining out can be a full-time job for anyone who avoids eating gluten.
Now that’s Timney’s job.
“Raleigh is going to become a gluten-free hotspot. I have a vision that Raleigh will be that place where people come,” she said.
Her website and Instagram pages, which stand for “Spread Love Not Gluten,” are new resources for gluten-free foodies in the Triangle.
Timney also works with local restaurateurs to give them tips on how to make their kitchens safe for gluten-free meals.
“Restaurants are still very unfamiliar with gluten-free terminology and how to care for their customers or customers who need it,” she said.
Timney then promotes these companies to its readers and subscribers, with a gluten-free guide.
“There is growth here. People are moving here,” Timney said. “Depending on where they’re from, if they’re used to eating gluten-free foods fairly easily and they’re from Silicon Valley or New York, or some other tech field, we want to make sure that we, in as the city of Raleigh, has the resources to support this industry.
Timney thinks it’s a win-win situation for everyone – it helps the crowd experience gluten-free restaurants like never before and helps local business owners attract new customers.
“Restaurants that have survived COVID have really had to evolve,” she explained. “It’s one way I think, not only can I help give back to them and their community. But also, one in three Americans tries to avoid gluten at this stage. So it’s not just something I want, but I think it’s the future of the restaurant industry.