Somehow I never noticed Chatham Street Cafe, a storefront restaurant just steps from the Cary clock in the heart of downtown. A recent News and Observer review mentioned that Chatham Street offers gluten-free options, so it was time to investigate. We went there for brunch and felt at home in the casual and unassuming cafe, decorated with local artwork. A softly crooning singer in the front room added to the mellow aura.
Owner and Head Chef Gayla Bonke, who has a dietetics degree and catering background, told us she could make virtually anything on the menu gluten-free. Like so many business owners who cater to the gluten-free community, Bonke has friends who are gluten intolerant and loves the challenge of cooking without it. I didn't get a chance to see the kitchen but was told that the gluten-free foods are prepared separately.
Between us, we sampled the Gluten-Free French Toast, the House Omelet, and the Grilled Steak Salad. Although all three items are listed on the menu as gluten-free, the Steak Salad comes topped with crumbled gorgonzola. Gorgonzola cheese is one of those sometimes safe, sometimes unsafe foods for celiacs, and I didn't have enough information to make a judgment. We were offered the option to substitute another cheese, and went with Asiago. The peas and sauteed mushrooms added a nice flavor to the salad. The French Toast was indistinguishable from "regular" French Toast, although possibly not quite as heavy. The omelet was tasty accompanied by hashbrowns.
Even packing up half our meal to take home, we had no room for dessert. The Almond Cake, described on the menu as "A dense, buttery cake dusted with powdered sugar served in a pool of sweet raspberry coulis. And yes, it's Gluten Free," sounds scrumptious. I look forward to trying it in the very near future when we return to Chatham Street Cafe.
Chatham Street Cafe
140 E. Chatham Street
Cary, NC 27511