Sunday, February 8, 2009

Gluten-Free Fried Chicken at Ina's

Have you been craving a delicious, crispy fried chicken dinner... but worried about food allergies?

We've found something worth clucking about! Headquartered in Chicago's trendy West Loop Market district, you'll find Ina's, a longtime breakfast landmark, featured in The New York Times, Midwest Living, Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and In recent years, owner Ina Pinkney (pictured left) expanded her menu to include an equally impressive line-up of luscious lunch and dinner options.

The second Wednesday of every month, Ina's dinner menu now offers an out-of-this-world, gluten-free Fried Chicken special, which has fast gained legions of fans.

We sat down with Ina's Manager, Seana Monahan, and learned about their special gluten free options.

Q. Do you or your family members have food allergies?
Ina’s has had customers with celiac disease enjoying meals at her restaurant for years. Seana has issues herself with wheat, MSG and refined sugars.

Q. Do you get requests for other allergens to be omitted from your food?
The most popular requests at Ina’s are for wheat and nut free products. Next up would be eggs.

Q. What do you do to ensure no cross-contamination on Gluten-Free Nights?
Seana takes personal responsibility in making sure the kitchen is sanitized and free of allergens. The oil is drained, and scrubbed 4-5 times and once the fresh oil is added, only the gluten free chicken can be made in the fryer. There is one person responsible for all gluten-free chicken and nothing else to ensure no cross contamination happens between products. The gluten free bread they serve (PanDeBono) is baked in a dedicated oven and the night of the dinner is overstaffed with managers and the staff is retrained before each dinner.

Q. How do you get your chicken so tender and crispy?
It took Ina’s 5 tries to get the recipe right with the help of a customer that is a food chemist.

They also use the freshest chickens that can be frozen and reheated to taste like they are fresh out of the fryer. A lot of Ina's customers order extra chicken to do just that.

The next gluten free chicken night at Ina’s is Wednesday, February 11th. Ina’s is located at 1235 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607 and on the web at

Myself and my husband, Mark, dining at Ina's.

No comments: