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I have watched Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill transform their 40+ locations into a gluten free haven for those of us who have Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. Starting with ‘gluten what’, to offering one meat and chips, to now all meats and even corn tortillas made fresh every day.

Corn tortillas are made fresh first, before wheat flour is pulled out. Most corn tortillas are made small and round, so they will use two for the burritos and often leave them open (making them not really burritos, but still good). Some locations are making large corn tortillas too. Maybe they all do, but when the large runs out, they substitute with small ones. If they run out, the will not have more until the next day. I have never seen them run out in our locations.

When you ask for gluten free options, the server will change their gloves and the same person will follow your meal through.

You will find all options available to you, as they have changed all their formulas to be gluten free. Smart. Smart.

Cross Contact is an issue in any eating establishment that uses both gluten and non-gluten ingredients. The only thing that has gluten at Costa Vida are the flour tortillas. We have found that tortillas do not leave as much traces of gluten as its bread counterpart. So luckily, to start off with, there are less chances of cross contact.

The rice is always put down first on the tortillas and if there was to be cross contact with gluten, that would be the first place I watch for it. Sometimes they will have extra rice in the back. We used to request they get that for us, or we would call as they open asking them to save rice and beans out for us, but we have gotten lazy and luckily, we haven’t gotten sick! It may be restaurant practice to not touch the spoons to the tortilla, but that is a hard one to monitor. But, we haven’t gotten sick and we always get sick if there is any gluten.

The first group of people touch the wheat tortillas and reach into the condiments on the first section so we don’t trust those condiments. BUT, the second set of condiments (the one to top the burritos) are put on with people that don’t normally touch the tortillas so those are much more safe. You can ask for condiments from the back and they have always been willing to get them for us.

Costa Vida Sweet Gluten Free Pork Burrito

Ok, the taste. YUM!!! To have their sweet port again is heaven! love, Love, LOVE that one! But their chicken, steak and beef are yummy too. Just love sweet things. We normally have the sweet pork burrito which sometimes ends up being more like an open faced burrito since they are using small tortillas, but still so very tasty and very filling.

And get this, YOU ARE NOT charged extra simply because it is gluten free. How is that for a nice break. For a community that is so used to being charged extra because either the ingredients or the time was more, it is nice to not see a difference. Let’s face it, we are ok with a little difference, but some places will charge $3-5 extra a plate, even though it is the same food. Seriously?  Daily specials are $5.99 which includes drink. Big burritos are 7 or 8. They have salads and enchiladas and such too. 

Costa Vida is a casual restaurant. You order your food. They make it while you follow it through and let them know what you would like. We always get away from there for 2 full dinners under $20.

Ok, so there you have it. I could put shorter posts, but today I feel like telling it all. Maybe shorter is better. What do you think?

Do you have a Costa Vida by you?


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