Gluten-free, but not flavor-free

New offerings from Duck Foot Brewing and Coasterra prove eating gluten-free can still be satisfying.


Beer lovers in San Diego already know about the delicious gluten-reduced beers from Duck Foot Brewing. Taking their creative passions into the kitchen, the brewery also offers gluten-free dishes at their East Village location (within walking distance to Petco Park).

From bar staples like nachos and mac & cheese to specialty items like Brazilian cheese bread and chickpea brisket chili, Duck Foot is giving folks with Celiac, gluten intolerance or those just watching their gluten intake new hope for beer and food enjoyment.

PACIFIC spoke to cofounder Suzy Pessutti about the menu’s appeal to everyone and a few must-try dishes:

PACIFIC: How did you come up with your gluten-free menu?
SUZY PESSUTTI: We worked with chef Flor Franco and Woody Van Horn for this latest menu. Flor is a gluten-free chef, and we wanted to refocus on a beer-friendly pub menu from our original upscale menu.

We are hearing a lot about your Brazilian cheese bread. What’s the scoop?
It’s our signature dish, and it comes from a recipe from Brazil made with tapioca starch. We developed it in house, and it’s cheesy, warm and gooey. It’s important to us to not just make gluten-free versions of dishes. We like to stay with ingredients that are naturally gluten-free.

If you had to choose one dish on the menu you’d recommend, would it be the bread?
Yes! We also turn it into buns for sliders, with BBQ pork and buffalo chicken.

What’s a good meatless option for vegetarians?
Definitely the mac & cheese. We make ours with smoked Gouda and corn-quinoa pasta. We hear people say, “This is gluten free?” We also just brought on a beet salad with goat cheese and pine nuts.

Anything vegan?
Yes, we have a few options! Try the roasted cauliflower served with arugula salad and the beet hummus.

What has been the community reaction?
People are surprised! They don’t even notice because our place doesn’t scream gluten-free. Especially with the mac & cheese, they can’t taste any difference.

Give us a few beer and menu pairings:
Buffalo chicken sliders with the Coconut IPA, Brazilian cheese bread with the Slow Burn IPA with chili peppers, flourless chocolate cake with either Mother Lovers (an Irish dry stout) or London Calling (Buffalo Trace barrel-aged chocolate hazelnut imperial porter).

Duck Foot also offers a brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays (12 p.m.-close), which includes breakfast nachos, cauliflower with eggs and a frittata with potatoes and chipotle aioli, along with wine and Champagne. Duck Foot is also pet-friendly.

Duck Foot East Village Taproom and Kitchen, 550 Park Blvd., Ste. 2104, East Village, 619.550.1970,

Looking for another gluten-free food option in San Diego? Check out Coasterra’s new gluten-free dinner menu, with items including a white corn and poblano soup and smoked beet tartare tostada with king trumpet mushrooms, avocado lime crema, and peanut macha salsa. Entrees range from Berkshire pork carnitas with crispy chicharron and cilantro habanero gremolata to seared day boat scallops with pork belly al pastor and grilled pineapple.

Executive Chef Deborah Scott even reworked popular classics, like the ahi tuna tostada, to now be gluten-free. Note: the lunch menu is mostly gluten-free or can be modified upon request, with a few exceptions.

880 Harbor Island Dr., Harbor Island, 619.814.1300,