Good Food – Low Carb Cafe

Good Food – Low Carb Cafe offers low-carb and paleo-friendly fare such as hot zoodle bowls, lettuce tacos, homemade soups and organic chicken bone broth, salads, Asian meatballs, bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers, pasture-raised chicken wings, grain-free flatbread pizza, locally-roasted organic coffee, assorted cold drinks, and a weekend brunch menu.

In addition to the restaurant, they also do catering, as well as operate two food carts which are available for private parties. They try to source produce locally when possible, and there are always vegan/vegetarian options. Note: I haven’t been there yet to try it out, initial review stars are based on information from others, and are (as are all reviews) subject to updates.

Open Monday – Friday,  11am – 8pm
Saturday & Sunday (Brunch Menu Only) 9am – 3pm


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4674 Cottage Grove Rd
Madison, WI 53716

(608) 630-8400

 

Chipotle

Considering that it’s basically a burrito place, Chipotle gets major props for trying to do things right! To start with, the web site lists paleo options by name. They use mostly simple, natural ingredients that you would expect, many of them natural and organic. Most locations offer grass-fed beef. They enforce minimum standards for animals and prominently disclose any exceptions. They cook mostly with rice bran oil and sunflower oil – not perfectly paleo, but in my opinion much better than the soy and canola found elsewhere. They’re very close to completely eliminating GMO ingredients too.

You can design your own naked burrito bowl (or salad), and unlike some competitors most of the options contain only the ingredients you’d expect. Meat choices include steak, chicken, carnitas, and barbacoa. See menu on web site for more details. Catering available. Some locations deliver.


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4628 E Washington Ave, Madison
(608) 242-7334
658 State St, Madison
(608) 250-4613
4000 University Ave, Madison
(608) 233-4305
8422 Old Sauk Rd, Middleton
(608) 826-0919

 

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Qdoba

Most menu items are based around corn or wheat tortillas and/or rice. You can order meat and veggie items as a bowl or a naked tortilla, but be aware that there are a lot of unexpected ingredients. For example, all the meats contain various combinations of cornstarch, corn syrup, whey, and/or soybean oil. The fajita vegetables contain soy oil. Therefore, essentially nothing is pure paleo, but you could check ingredient lists for personally acceptable cheats here.

Even most of the salsas contain cornstarch and/or gums. Pico de gallo is one clean exception. The guacamole should also be fine. Of course, there’s always a possibility of gluten cross-contamination.


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4718 E Towne Blvd, Madison
(608) 819-8910

548 State St, Madison
(608) 280-8720

2 N Park St, Madison
(608) 251-0238

101 W Broadway, Monona
(608) 286-1416

6650 Mineral Point Rd, Madison
(608) 827-7720

2741 University Ave, Madison
(608) 218-9670

5401 Caddis Bend, Madison
(608) 442-9400

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Nitty Gritty

They will do a naked or lettuce-wrapped burger on request. Choices include local grass-fed beef, and sometimes bison. Optional toppings include bacon, egg, and guacamole. Other sandwiches can be made gluten-free also. Steamed veggies available as a side. Most salads ok with omissions. Known as “the birthday bar.”


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223 N. Frances Street, Madison
608-251-2521

1021 N. Gammon Road, Middleton
608-833-6489

315 E. Linnerud Drive, Sun Prairie
608-837-4999

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Red Robin

This was one of the first places to actually offer lettuce-wrapped burgers right on the menu, and they do it well – using a cut stack of iceberg on each side so it’s easy to pick up and eat. (They also offer a gluten free bun choice.) Otherwise, not much to attract paleo customers unless you have wiggle room on gluten, which most do not. They do offer sweet potato fries, but they’re cooked in a shared fryer. Watch out for possible gluten in the grill seasoning. Salads would be another option.


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2440 East Springs Drive, Madison
608-301-0435

6522 Monona Drive, Monona
(608) 223-1390

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Chili’s

Chain offers full menu of appetizers, entrees, salads, burgers, sandwiches , etc. and full bar. Some dishes can be tweaked to paleo or close. For example, try a steak or grilled salmon and replace rice/potatoes with garden salad. Available sides and extras include steamed broccoli, seared shrimp, avocado slices, and bacon. Salads and bunless burgers too.


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4344 E. Towne Blvd, Madison
(608) 242-9300

7301 Mineral Point Road, Madison
(608) 833-8851

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Applebee’s

Best paleo options are the simple steaks.  I usually get the New York Strip with double broccoli instead of the usual sides.  Some other dishes are possibilities with minor adjustments.  This is, however, one of those places that can’t/won’t offer any assurances about gluten.  If not concerned about dairy or trace gluten, there are a number of interesting primal-friendly dishes with minimal junk in them.  Preparation of food is generally better than you’d expect.


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660 S. Whitney Way, Madison

(608) 271-5450

4710 E Towne Blvd
(608) 244-1470