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

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
SUNDANCE NATURAL FOODS
748 E. 24th Ave.
Eugene, OR 97405
541.343.9142
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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12 Responses to “Gluten Free Friendly Restaurants and Health Food Stores in Eugene, Oregon: Cafe Yumm Review”

  1. I have been living on Cafe Yumm’s bowls since I was diagnosed a couple of month ago. Whenever a friend asks if we can go to lunch that is where I go. Good thing they are delicious!

    Amy

  2. Hi Amy! Thanks for your comment. Can I ask what your favorite menu items are? We’ve only had those two bowls so far. I find the sauce very yummy, and addictive! :D

    -Sea

  3. Sweet life makes some good GF goodies, there is a incredibly rich chocolate torte and most of the mousses and pots de creme are GF and yummy.

    Ring of Fire and Cafe lucky noodle both have good GF veggie options. I feel a little safer at Ring of Fire since they don’t serve bread at the tables.

    Market of Choice (29th and Willamette) has a chocolate cookie in the bakery that is GF as well as a good selection of GF groceries that are mixed in with the other groceries.
    I have had bad reactions several times at Cafe Yum, which branch did you go to?

  4. Thanks for the info, Ceri!

    I’m not sure which branch I went to, but the photos were taken at the location- it was in a building with several shops off the Cafe Yumm Food court, including a bath product shop. What did you order at Cafe Yumm when you had a reaction? I had both rice bowls and was fine. One thing about their sauce is that it does contain soy so anyone that is sensitive to soy might have difficulty eating there… It was pretty quiet when I went, though, so that may have helped in that ours were pretty much the only dishes being prepared.

    -Sea

  5. Thanks for the great review. Cafe Yumm is one of two restaurants where I can eat, but the only thing I feel safe eating is the Yumm Bowl. The other restaurant is Laughing Planet where I order a steamed veggie bowl. http://www.laughingplanetcafe.com/ If ever I feel the least bit like I’ve been contaminated, I take a GlutenEase enzyme which fixes it.

  6. an employee Says:

    alright thought Id give you a hand here, im a cafe yumm employee at the corvallis, who also had a girlfriend who is gluten sensitive.

    1) sadly you should probably stay away from the smoky, there is a touch of gluten in the sauce the chipotle peppers are held in (I know ridiculous but we are searching for a replacement with our food supplier, may not happen) Its a very small amount but we all know that is all it takes

    2) Other bowls to try if you like spicy the hot and jazzy (or the jalapeno sesame salsa on any of the other bowls, we sub out anything and everything except the avocado for obvious reasons). Another is the yumm and greens which is the original bowl (again any subs welcome, even different bowls) on top of fresh spring greens and topped with corn chips really works. It is the most popular among regulars

    3) All skewers are off limits the tofu use bbq sauce from kc masterpiece which doesnt fly and the teriyaki and tempeh skewers use soy sauce. The secret asian man tofu (found on a salad) is not gluten free as its cooked with soy sauce too. However the southwest tofu is gluten free and is a bit spicy and great (Can be added to bowls for around 1.50 too)

    4) Please tell us at the counter about your allergy we can add it to the ticket and we will take precautions to avoid any contamination we can

    5) also we at the corvallis store are trying to get gluten free bread from a local bakery (living earth bakery) for gluten free turkey and veggie sandwiches which would be great but we are going through some corporate hurdles right now but hopefully with in the month :).

    I hope that was helpful thanks for the write up we always appreciate the press glad you enjoyed the meal

  7. Thanks, employee! It makes sense that the chipotle peppers could have wheat if they are in adobe sauce- but when I looked I didn’t see it listed in the ingredient list book, so that really should be added… as the only information we have on ingredients, it’s important (as you know) that nothing be left out, especially any allergens. I hope you will pass the word on to corporate. (And if I missed it and it is listed, my bad- but I really didn’t think it was.) Chipotle can be powdered or dried, whole chilies so unless it says chipotle in adobe sauce there’s no real indication that it would be a problem… I did tell the person at the counter about my intolerance (Celiac Disease, not an allergy exactly) but I don’t think she marked it on the bill. She was very nice and helpful, to the best of her ability, though. My DH was actually the one that ordered the smoky bowl and I just had a few bites, luckily. Thanks for the comments! I will keep the southwest tofu in mind :)

    -Sea

  8. I also like the Cafe Yum salad that comes as a scoop of your choice (tuna or chicken) on a bed of greens. The chicken salad contains gluten but the tuna does not. The only thing I would change about that salad is adding some other veggies to the greens but it’s great on a hot day when the bowls are a bit much and you just want cold food. The Corvallis location offers excellent service. Too bad they are smack on campus so the rest of the city can’t go. Parking is just too much of a hassle until the kids leave for the summer. Then we’ll eat there….and hope for a second location away from campus. :^)

  9. Thank you Karen! Excellent tip for my pescatarian readers. :)

    -Sea

  10. [...] trip to the Northwest in our Gypsy Van, we encountered a sauce called “yumm sauce” at a local cafe chain in Eugene, Oregon. The sauce was delicious, and I bought a salad dressing sized container of it to take home. [...]

  11. The best GLUTEN FREE PIZZA is at Pappa’s on west 11th in eugene.We’ve tried others but this place is the best.Also,GO HEALTHY is the other restaurant I recommend.

    Reply from Sea:
    Good to know they offer a gluten-free pizza. Here are the reviews from Yelp:

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/papas-pizza-eugene-2

    Gino, are you affiliated with Pappa’s? Just wondering because your email address had “Ads” in the username.

  12. Another good local place to try is Mucho Gusto. All their meats with the exception of the fried fish are GF. All the toppings and sauces are GF. You just have to make sure to order a corn tostado or salad with corn chips. They also have corn tortillas but warm them on the same surface with the flour tortillas. I never asked if they could avoid cross contamination as I just get a salad.

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