Red Bicycle Gives Brunch a Gluten-Free Kick

The Germantown crepe and coffee shop serves up heavenly allergen-free options all day and late into the evening.

Even for the most dedicated gluten-free eaters, living in a city that is nationally ranked for its culinary scene brings great temptation. Fortunately, Campus Dining is incredibly accommodating toward student’s dietary restrictions and has many delicious options.

But what happens when friends want to venture off campus?
Are you, the token gluten-free member of the group, doomed be the killjoy who discards every restaurant they suggest?
Is it easier to just stay behind and avoid the issue?

The exterior of Red Bicycle.

This weekend, forgo waffles at Commons and instead try out Red Bicycle Coffee and Crepes. After a short thirteen minute car ride, you’ll arrive at a trendy block of Germantown. Red Bicycle offers crepes from dawn (7:30 a.m.) until after dusk (9:00 p.m.). Most importantly, any and all of the 20+ varieties of crepes can be made gluten-free.

When arriving at Red Bicycle, you’ll be greeted with a cozy space packed with charming, rustic decor. At 11:00 a.m. on a typical Sunday morning, the cafe will be packed with college students, young couples, and families. The restaurant is set up casually; you order and pay at the counter, and then seat yourself. Let it be known: seating is always in high demand.

A large variety of hot and cold beverages are offered

Red Bicycle offers a wide variety of coffee drinks, any of which can be made with almond or soy milk for those with a dairy intolerance. In addition to coffee, they offer iced tea, hot chocolate, chai, and seasonal drinks. Drinks are prepared immediately upon ordering and arrive hot and steaming. While waiting for your food to arrive, it’s easy to relax as you sip your drink and listen to the upbeat indie soundtrack, which features songs from Walk the Moon and Peter Bjorn and John.

Red Bicycle’s extensive menu offers sweet crepes (which can be made à la mode for an extra dollar and change), savory crepes, breakfast tacos, and sandwiches. Any of the predesigned savory crepes can be made into a salad. Customers also have the option to build their own crepe or scramble by selecting from a variety of meats and veggies. All menu items can be made gluten-free with the exception of the sandwiches, as they do not offer gluten-free bread. Side items include bagels, hash browns, fruit, and oatmeal.

Left: Gluten-free crepe
Right: Regular crepe

The “basic” crepe comes doused in melted butter and cinnamon. The gluten-free version is admittedly less golden and paler in color than the standard crepe. Digging in, the dough is a bit tough and hard to cut with a plastic fork, while the non-gluten free crepes are soft and easily pierced. The first bite is a warm indulgence of salty butter and sweet dough. Someone with a gluten allergy is probably accustomed to imitation baked goods being overwhelmingly dry, dense, and overall poor substitutes for the real thing. However, prepare to be impressed with how tasty and delicious these crepes are.

Red Bicycle Menu

Several gluten-loving friends sampled the gluten-free crepe to see how it rated on a new palate. They commented that it was heavier and a bit tough, as compared to their fluffier and softer pastries. While the crepe is certainly enjoyable, a bolder flavor crepe distracts from the dough’s texture. The maple bacon crepe in particular is a highly tempting option.

Red Bicycle has very reasonable prices (ranging from $4.50 to $9.75 per crepe) especially considering the huge portions. At the end of the meal, you will leave the shop with a full stomach and a satisfied soul. If you are gluten-free and  looking for a place that both you and your friends will enjoy, Red Bicycle Coffee and Crepes is your new go-to gluten-free spot.

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