PNC Park and Kennywood GF options

As we head home to Ohio today, I wanted to write a little about my experiences eating GF here in the Pittsburgh area.

First, we ate at Quaker Steak & Lube when we arrived on Thursday. They have a GF menu but it is in their nutrition notebook so they brought the notebook for me to go over available items and make a choice. I had the wings & loaded fries combo — they DO have a dedicated fryer, at least at this location (Robinson mall area). Most of the wing sauces are GF, there is a list that indicates which ones.

At PNC Park, I went to Guest Services upon arrival, looking for Redbridge beer. They said that two beer stands in the park should have it but that one might be out, so they sent me to the Pub 475 located in the left field food court. The worker there was apologetic that they were out of it, and said the other beer stand might still have some. I went to the beer stand at the right field food court (I forget the name of it) and the worker there was rude and claimed they had NEVER had such a thing and that it didn’t exist — and tried to sell me the local brew, which of course is not GF. Ugh. So I lived without a beer on a very hot sticky night. The food choices were also not great — OK, but not great. Their GF “safe list” must be out of date because it claims that dill pickles contain gluten (I’m guessing from the vinegar) and nachos with salsa are also not on the GF list, probably also because of vinegar. I had philly cheese steak without the bun (the list stated without cheese but the stand manager let me read the ingredients on the bag of cheese and it was fine, so I got cheese) but with the grilled onions and peppers, which the list says are OK. (I also got the dill pickle!) I didn’t have any gluten-type reactions, so I was happy enough with that. It was food, I was hungry, I ate it and didn’t get sick. :)

We spent all day Friday at Kennywood. Kennywood ROCKS!!!! I love it because it is a national historic landmark and features many historic rides (not to mention my very favorite flip-you-upside-down ride, the Big Kahuna). But now I love it even more because THEY UNDERSTAND GF! I took a chance on the cheese sauce on bacon cheddar fries from The Potato Patch stand — they were awesome and I had no reactions (yay!). Then I was at Guest Services for something else, so I requested a list of gluten free foods in the park. Mike from park operations came to talk to us and brought a GF list. The cheddar cheese sauce served throughout the park is guaranteed gluten free. Mike said that they had looked at sourcing cheese sauce from another supplier this year due to cost, but the other supplier could not guarantee gluten free cheese so they stayed with the cheese they had. WOOHOO!!! The list of safe items includes all items at the Potato Patch (though personally I would read the ingredients on some of the optional powdered seasonings), beef tacos and all nachos at the taco stand, bunless hot dogs in several locations, potato chips throughout the park, all salads except popcorn chicken salad at two locations, icees, etc. As of this season, you are still allowed to bring coolers of your own food into the park, there is a picnic area for guests (Mike indicated that there is some discussion of changing this policy). The absolute highlight of my day was the ice cream we got at the pagoda ice cream stand just before leaving. I took my own GF cone which is the same size as their small cone, and the server was happy to put the ice cream (which is on the GF list) in my cone. It has been at least 7 or 8 years since I had soft serve in a cone. I cried. I took a picture of myself on my phone with the ice cream cone. All together, a fabulous day.

If you are anywhere within a decent drive of Pittsburgh, I urge you to visit Kennywood. There are discount admission coupons available from various sources, but even the regular admission of $33.99 for adults is reasonable as amusement parks go (kids and seniors are less). We got $10.00 off coupons from a Cleveland Indians game day booklet, so we paid less than $50 for two adults to get in. The food prices are also reasonable and the souvenir drink cup ($5.99) can be refilled for 99 cents throughout the park so we just shared one and kept refilling. We also brought in our own bottled water. Locker rental is $1.00 per use. You can bring your own hot dog buns and ice cream cones, and eat JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.

I get the Cleveland Indians game day booklets regularly because we go to quite a few games, so if anyone wants a coupon for Kennywood, e-mail me off list and I can send you one (first come first serve so if I run out you may be waiting a week or two until I get more).


This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 10:15 am and is filed under FOOD. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “PNC Park and Kennywood GF options”

  1. Reinaldo Parlor Says:

    Baseball is the most exciting sport on the planet. I’m excited about the new season. Should be the best yet.

  2. Gluten Free Steve Says:

    Thanks for the great reviews on Kennywood. I grew up in Pgh and went there every year, and am hoping to get back this year. I’ve not been to Kennywood in at least 15 years and can’t wait to have Potato Patch fries. Those were the best!