Memorable meals shared with friends and family are a key part of any trip. But when your group has different dietary preferences and restrictions, it can be tricky to find restaurants that offer something for everyone. Luckily, La Crosse has enticing options for vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free diners—and omnivores, too!
Important note: Restaurants may change their menus and food preparation practices, so be sure to ask for details and let the restaurant know if you or someone in your group has food allergies or restrictions. And look closely—some restaurants with “gluten-free” items list possible gluten contamination on their menus.
Choices for Gluten-Avoidant Guests
For delicious Asian dishes, Hmong’s Golden Egg Rolls serves many gluten-free options perfect for sharing with family and friends. Among them are Hmong Style Sausage with Sticky Rice, Tom Yum Kong soup with straw mushrooms, shrimp, and quail eggs, plus the famous namesake Egg Rolls. There are plenty of tasty options for vegetarians here, too, and most dishes can be customized to guests’ choice of spice level. And don’t forget the bubble tea!
Also in downtown La Crosse is Buzzard Billy’s, offering authentic New Orleans and American Cuisine with a large menu of traditionally prepared Cajun Creole dishes, Po’boy sandwiches and fried specialties. Along with the standard menu, Buzzard Billy’s also offers a substantial Gluten Intolerant Menu section with options such as Jambalaya prepared with gluten-free noodles, Blackened Walleye and Chicken Penne Alfredeaux. After your meal, check out the Starlite Lounge on the second floor—a 1950s-style cocktail lounge where you can often find live music to enjoy with your group.
Food and Fun in One
Sometimes you just feel like hanging with your crew in one place that provides the food and the entertainment. Located inside the City Square building, J’s Café is Black woman-owned and describes itself as a “safe space created for peacefully existing while enjoying quality food and drink made with intention.” In addition to a beverage menu of coffee and tea (with no extra charge for alternative milks!), J’s Café has a small but tasty food menu with vegetarian options such as an Acai Bowl with a variety of fruits and oat milk, Breakfast Sandwiches and Avocado Toast. Relax with a book from their collection or challenge a friend to a board game. Check J’s Café’s social media to see what’s happening—maybe an open mic/karaoke night, sing-along fundraiser, or a creative afternoon event.
Grounded Patio Café serves breakfast all day and offers a “Build Your Own Egg Sandwich” that allows for easy customization with gluten free and vegetarian options. Veggie lunch and dinner choices include an Apple Walnut Salad with mixed greens and cranberries, a Veggie Hummus wrap with spinach, tomato, carrots, onion, and avocado and a Caprese Panini. Stop in once a month for the café’s Artist Reception, where you and your friends can meet the artists whose work is on the café’s gallery wall!
A Special Occasion Splurge
The cozy and intimate Lovechild Restaurant is a gorgeous spot to gather and celebrate an anniversary, birthday or the end of a fantastic friends’ trip. Offering “uncomplicated food with intriguing ingredients and big flavors” with an emphasis on locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients, Lovechild offers a variety of upscale menus, including vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free. The options change with the season but may include pasta, salads, meat-focused dishes and seafood, plus decadent desserts. The specialty cocktails menu includes a section of no-proof cocktails and alcohol-free beer, too!
Still hungry? Discover more allergy-friendly dining options in Madison!