Gluten Free Friendly Restaurants and Health Food Stores in Eugene, Oregon: Cafe Yumm Review

May 5th, 2009 yum Posted in Eugene, Gluten Free Dining, Or, Oregon, Vegetarian 12 Comments »

yummbowlLast year when I wrote about gluten-free restaurants in Portland, a reader told me about a great restaurant in Eugene with many naturally gluten free options called Cafe Yumm. This Spring when we drove from San Francisco to Portland, we stopped in Eugene for a tasty and healthy lunch at the Cafe Yumm. They have locations in Beaverton, Bend, Corvallis, Springfield as well as Eugene.

The Cafe Yumm menu is based around healthy rice bowls with beans, but the inspiration for the name comes from what they call Yumm sauce- a creamy sauce made from nutritional yeast, soy, and chickpeas that happens to be gluten-free. The sauce contains no wheat, dairy, gluten, eggs or sugar, so it works well for additional allergies as well as a vegan diet. Unfortunately the Cafe does not have a gluten-free menu as such, but they do have a book at the counter with all of the ingredients of each dish, and the servers are really helpful about looking through the book with you and helping you find a dish that will work for your diet.

When we walked up to the counter, I was a little nervous and had no idea what to order, but the really sweet girl at the register helped me look through the book. The Yumm rice bowls are most suitable for a hearty gluten-free meal, and the DH and I chose the Original bowl as well as the Smoky Bowl. All bowls come with Tillamook® cheddar, diced tomato, fresh avocado slices, sour cream, black olives, & cilantro as a topping. The Original bowl has brown rice and organic black beans with Original Yumm! Sauce® and organic salsa. The Smoky bowl has Organic brown rice, Original Yumm! Sauce, house-made chipotle chili, and organic salsa. The DH considered getting tofu skewers, but we couldn’t find them in the ingredient book and the server said they were made off site, so we didn’t order them as they seemed likely to not be gluten-free.

What did we think when the bowls came? I was quite hungry, and it was really nice to get a big bowl of brown rice with lots of yummy tasting, fresh toppings. I liked the fact that almost all of the ingredients were simple and fresh, and I knew that the one ingredient that was more complex (the yumm sauce) was confirmed gluten-free. That being said, I did find the original Yumm bowl to be a little plain for my taste, and the DH and I both preferred the Smoky bowl with the added kick of chipotle chili sauce. The restaurant did make a great, hearty and gluten-free food stop, and best of all, I felt great after eating there. I’ve always enjoyed the health food stores and cozy college atmosphere in Eugene, and now I have one more reason to stop there- Yumm Cafe. The Yumm sauce IS one that is based in a vegetarian or vegan flavor palate, so not everyone may love it, especially if they aren’t use to the flavor of nutritional yeast. I thought it was great, though, and was happy to purchase a bottle of the Yumm Sauce to take home with me to make my own tasty rice bowls and to use as a topping for baked potatoes. The only thing I wish was that the cafe had a gluten-free menu or easily accessed gluten-free menu chart as it would make it faster and easier to find an appropriate dish. Also, even though the sauce IS gluten-free and is advertised as such on their website and in their literature, the serving girl did not know that it was gluten-free, so I actually had to tell her that it was safe- but I really did appreciate how helpful and patient she was, even untrained, at helping me find something safe to eat from the menu.

Have you eaten a gluten-free meal at Cafe Yumm? Tell me about it in the comments!

List of Gluten-Free Restaurants in Eugene, Oregon
*of special interest: Chinese restaurant Lok Yaun has a Gluten-free Menu*

List of Natural Health Food Stores in Eugene, Oregon

One of my favorites is
748 E. 24th Ave.
Eugene, OR 97405
7am -11pm

While they don’t have an especially fancy gluten-free selection of prepared baked goods or anything, they do have a good vegetarian, mostly vegan deli that “features many raw foods entrees. The prepackaged cooler is available from 7 AM until closing time at 11 PM. The soup, green salad, raw entrée, and prepared salad bar is open from 9 AM until 9 PM, and the hot buffet is available from 11 AM until 9 PM”. (from their web site, confirmed in person) Offerings are generally labeled with ingredients and staff is great about helping you confirm ingredients. Some offerings are from local places, so they might have to call them to confirm some things- and that will require them to actually be open and answer the phone. However, I’ve gotten some very tasty and safe vegan/vegetarian meals from Sundance that I thoroughly enjoyed.

What are your favorite gluten-free stops in Eugene? Tell us about it!

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