Traveling through airports are always interesting – you see people from all walks of life, people who make…interesting fashion choices, people who are having rough days, people in love, people who just want to get to their destination, etc. I personally love flying through airports just for the people watching aspect of the trip.
Having Celiac Disease, however, adds a whole new level of complexity to traveling. As hard as it is eating at a restaurant not in an airport, it’s hard to research where and what to eat in airports if you are not currently in them. And then, usually, it’s too late for us with Celiac Disease to eat, unless it is items like snack bars and bags of chips. Therefore, I’m hoping that this list of information for Salt Lake City airport is helpful for most travelers.
Salt Lake City (SLC) is a major hub airport for Delta and other airlines, and is the main airport needed to get to the northern Rocky Mountain states. I go through this airport a lot for business, so I’m quite familiar with its layout. However, my most recent business trip was the first one through SLC after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I had a little bit of time on my hands, so I decided to walk the entire airport to find something that I could eat. Not only was it a bit of a walk, but what I found wasn’t too refreshing.
SLC is currently going through a bit of reconstruction (could be already done), so a lot of the options that I knew about were gone. (See map to the above.) However, some kiosks and restaurants were still open. Most of the grab-and-go places had processed food, and most of that food was either wheat-filled or shared equipment/facilities with wheat ingredients. Some of the grab-and-go places had parfaits, but unlike those in the Oakland airport, the granola wasn’t separate from the yogurt and fruit. While mixing it all together is ultimately what people end up doing while eating, this will just have the granola get soggy, not to mention a major cross-contamination issue.
As for major restaurants in the airport, SLC’s largest is Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Cafe. This is traditional American diner, with burgers, french fries, and other American 1950′s style food. (Menu below.) I’m sure I could have made this menu work, but the cross-contamination concerns were too high. And the restaurant was packed, so even if I made a special request, I’m not 100% sure they would have been able to properly accommodate my needs. As depressing as this is starting to sound, there is a bright spot in this otherwise gluten-free wasteland.
Back in December, I stayed in Salt Lake City for a business trip. My team asked me to find a place where we could all eat – this was after I cut gluten out of my diet, and they wanted to be supportive. I was able to find the restaurant Squatters in SLC proper using Find Me Gluten Free. After talking to the waitress at the time, I was able to have the carnitas, which was delicious. Even though they don’t have a gluten-free menu to hand out, each server understands the need of the gluten-free diet, and which foods have gluten in them. I was told their kitchen staff is also knowledgeable. SLC is starting to become as gluten-friendly as other big cities.
So, I was quite delighted to see that there was a Squatters Pub in the SLC airport in Concourse C. I was also happy to see that they had carnitas on the menu as well. And that they knew about the needs for a gluten-free diet. And that the carnitas was just as delicious and gluten-free as in their main Salt Lake City location. (Picture of the carnitas below.)
I highly recommend going to Squatters anytime anyone is in the Salt Lake City area, no matter if it’s the airport or the city proper. It’s definitely worth a visit. That said, SLC airport is otherwise a gluten-free wasteland. Those with Celiac Disease and gluten-intolerance, be wary. Or go to Squatters.