This post is sponsored by Moe’s Southwest Grill; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I admit it, for several years, I’ve been reluctant to dine at Moe’s Southwest Grill. Before a diagnosis of celiac disease, Moe’s was an easy dining option for my family on those busy nights when mealtime was rushed.
It was nice to be able to pop into a local Moe’s, hear that friendly “Welcome to Moe’s” greeting and have plenty of options for everyone. It was a family dining experience I could feel good about, knowing Moe’s serves fresh food that’s prepared daily.
But what kind of dining experience can someone on a gluten-free diet have at Moe’s?
You might be as surprised as I was to learn how customizable all that fresh food at Moe’s is!
With a magazine deadline bearing down on me, dozens of errands to check off my list before the end of the week and appointments galore, the opportunity to check out a Moe’s near me was welcome!
Starting my day at 5:30 a.m. to write, dashing off so my daughter could shoot a commercial and running around town for essentials like manicures and pet food, I was hot, tired and not ready to cook. Let’s go to Moe’s!
I decided to step inside as a “typical customer” (i.e., not mentioning anything about this review) to get a good read on how anyone asking for gluten-free options would be treated.
Note: Moe’s details their gluten-free ingredients on their website, but you know just like I do that when you must be gluten-free, online information is great to review but it is best to speak to a manager at the restaurant where you will be dining.
Welcome to Moe’s!
After the shout-out friendly greeting, Welcome to Moe’s!, as soon as I stepped inside, I asked what options are available to me if I need a gluten-free meal.
Of course, there’s a menu board right up front, but for special diets, always ask about your options before ordering. (Note: any pricing, special offers or items shown on the menu board pictured here are subject to change.)
Immediately, the man behind the counter told me they could definitely serve me but he would get a manager to help me customize my meal.
Impressed from the Start
The manager came right out, was super friendly and took time to talk to me about my needs. I told her I have celiac disease and she knew what I was talking about. She told me they have a couple of regular customers at that location with celiac, so she knew exactly how to handle my order.
She said her standard protocol for anyone with special dietary needs like celiac disease or a food allergy is for the manager to handle the meal. While the staff is fully informed about special diets and allergies, managers prefer to accept the responsibility that goes along with the situation.
Diners are asked if they have a food allergy or a food intolerance. That’s important for them to know, so always be sure to communicate your specific needs.
Gloves are always changed when preparing a special diets meal. In the case of celiac disease or a food allergy, steps are taken to prevent any cross-contamination since Moe’s does use flour tortillas.
Cross-contamination “hot spots” to be aware of:
The manager pointed out to me the following points to consider when it comes to cross-contamination from gluten:
- Chips and crispy taco shells are gluten-free; however, they are fried in a shared fryer where flour tortillas are fried.
- Shredded cheese on the fresh ingredients bar can become contaminated with gluten due to contact with gloves touching flour tortillas (for example, when employees are making a burrito).
- There is always a risk of cross-contamination in any situation where gluten ingredients are involved, at any restaurant.
Minimizing cross-contamination at Moe’s
The manager preparing my food said she uses fresh ingredients when a customer has celiac disease or a true food allergy just to be on the safe side. For example, if someone with celiac disease wants shredded cheese on their food, they use a fresh bin of cheese from the back that has never been used.
I genuinely appreciate the extra care anyone in a restaurant takes to prepare my food safely. I always keep in mind this is not something they have to do, but something they are kind enough to do for me and I make sure to let them know how grateful I am!
So, what can you eat at Moe’s if you’re gluten-free?
Just about everything! (Remember chips and crunchy taco shells are fried in a shared fryer, like I pointed out above.)
All proteins offered at Moe’s are gluten-free, as are both pinto and black beans and both types of rice (Southwestern and Cilantro). I was surprised to learn Moe’s uses grass-fed sirloin for their steak!
The fresh toppings are gluten-free, and none of the gluten-free items at Moe’s contain tree nuts or peanuts.
I recommend reviewing Moe’s allergen guide before dining if you have multiple allergies like I do. It’s easy to read and super helpful! This is a great way to prepare for going into the restaurant and speaking with a Moe’s employee about your special diet.
Moe’s Southwest Grill Fresh & Friendly for Everyone!
Look at all these options!
To show you just how many options gluten-free diners have at Moe’s, I ordered several bowls plus tacos. Because the crispy taco shells are fried in a shared fryer with flour tortillas, I didn’t have those for my tacos. Instead, the manager opened a new pack of corn tortillas for me since those are gluten-free. So that means soft corn tortilla tacos for those of us who can’t have gluten.
I mixed and matched proteins and beans to create custom bowls. Steak with pinto beans and cilantro rice piled high with the good stuff! The steak is so tender and grilled perfectly! Even though the crisp tortilla chips were off limits due to cross-contamination from the shared fryer, that didn’t stop my crew from enjoying Moe’s gluten-free queso and guacamole. The bowls and tacos got a nice topping of both!
The chicken is all skinless breast meat and lightly seasoned. There’s a spicy chicken option, too, which I plan to try soon! This was my bowl. I added lots of jalapenos and scorpion pepper salsa – hot!!
This ground beef bowl is loaded with black beans, Southwestern rice, cheese, pico de gallo, lettuce, sour cream and black olives.
The crispy pork carnitas was such a hit someone ate it before I could get a photo! How could this happen?! ;-)
Note: Certified organic tofu is available and makes an excellent vegetarian option.
Tacos can be made with any of Moe’s proteins, but my family wanted ground beef for a traditional taco experience. I don’t eat dairy, but the rest of the family does and they love Moe’s queso! Instead of dipping chips in it, they enjoy it drizzled (or poured!) over their tacos.
Don’t forget to stop by the fresh salsa bar, too!
There are options for everyone with mild, in between and hot! Give me the Scorpion Pepper every time!!
Way to Go Moe’s!
While I love cooking food at home for my family, on days when the schedule is crunched, it’s too hot to cook or when we’re traveling, it’s so nice to know I can pop into a Moe’s, everyone can find something they love and I can get a delicious gluten-free meal. Thanks, Moe’s!
Find a Moe’s Southwest Grill near you!
Now it’s time to visit a restaurant in your area and see what I mean! There are over 600 locations to choose from!
I also love the Moe’s app. Just scan in when you purchase food there, or scan your receipt barcode and you earn rewards points. There’s also a delicious offer just for singing up!
Take Out & Catering
In addition to a spacious dining room, Moe’s offers take-out and catering. I love the way they pack up the take-out!
Check your teeth for cilantro!
Have you tried Moe’s Southwest Grill? Tell me in the comments below! (Love those “check your teeth” signs in the bathroom!)