Around Greenville: Restaurant Options for Special Diets

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You and your friends want to go out to eat, but this friend can’t eat gluten and that friend is lactose intolerant. Sound familiar? With many people on special diets now, it’s difficult to find one restaurant that suits everyone’s needs. Thankfully, many restaurants in Greenville have considered the myriad of diets of clientele.

Being on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet myself, I’ve found several locations where I can find food I can eat and still have happy taste buds. I’m sharing my favorites.

Many of these locations cannot prevent cross-contamination in their food, though they try their best. As I only have food intolerances and not Celiac disease or other allergies, this is not a problem for me, but it may be a problem for others.


Biscuit Head


If you’re from the South, biscuits and gravy is a breakfast staple. However, it’s not special-diet friendly. You can enjoy the Southern specialty again at Biscuit Head with their gluten-free and vegan biscuit and their sweet potato coconut gravy. If you’d rather jam or jelly on your cathead biscuit, they have options for that, too — dozens of them — on their jam bar.



Crepes, both sweet and savory, are the order of the day at Tandem. Every crepe on the menu can be made without gluten, and they are delicious. I recommend them all. For those who are dairy free, eating here is a bit challenging, though they do offer alternative milks for your coffee and tea.

Honorable Mentions

These are not locally owned locations, but IHOP, Eggs Up Grill and Another Broken Egg serve gluten-friendly pancakes, and they’re so yummy. While IHOP and Eggs Up Grill offer run-of-the-mill pancakes, Another Broken Egg has devoted a large section of its menu to gluten-friendly options, including four types of pancakes.

See Also: Around Greenville: Local Breakfast Nooks


Tropical Grille


I’ve become a regular at this restaurant. My rewards app says so. Not only can you get free food through their rewards program, but they have a large selection of gluten-free and dairy-free options. My favorites? The South of the Border bowl (minus sour cream and cheddar cheese) and the chicken veggie bowl with added rice. Every bowl comes with a pita, so if you’re on a gluten-free diet, request they remove it when you place your order.

Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery


The Swamp Rabbit Cafe is very special-diet friendly. Not only do they offer gluten-free bread for their sandwiches, but they also allow you to substitute vegan cheese for dairy cheese. And they have gluten-free, vegan donuts and desserts that taste much better than they sound, trust me.

BJU has two alumni who work at the Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery. Read their story.


Grill Marks


This restaurant is by far my favorite place to eat. Why? Because I don’t have to search for something to eat. Almost every item on the menu is gluten free. In fact, the restaurant labels the items that are not gluten free. Haystack onions, fried pickles, fried chicken, loaded fries — whatever I want, I can order as is (minus any dairy and with a gluten-free bun, of course). This is a gluten-free gastronomic oasis.

Nose Dive


Though it’s branded a “gastropub,” Nose Dive is my go-to for a night out. What first caught my attention was the fact that they offer gluten-free desserts, a seeming unicorn among restaurants. When I first visited, I had a mango cheesecake (I wasn’t eating dairy free then). Currently, they offer a gluten-free peaches and cream ice cream cake, but they always have gluten-free ice cream and dairy-free sorbet on the menu.

Many of Nose Dive’s entrees are also gluten free or can be made gluten free upon request, including their fried chicken and fish and chips. Though it’s not dairy free, the Nose Dive mac & cheese can also be made gluten free. Whatever you order, it’s all worth the slightly hefty price tag.

Honorable Mentions

Two fast-food chains have rescued road trips for those on special diets everywhere: Chick-fil-A and Culver’s. Both offer gluten-free buns, and Chick-fil-A also sells grilled nuggets. For how often I eat at these two restaurants, I should be a stockholder by now.


Clare’s Creamery


Missing ice cream cones? I was, too, until I visited Clare’s Creamery. The dairy-free ice cream is smooth and creamy, unlike typical dairy-alternative ice creams. The coconut, which they have daily, tastes more like vanilla, and the chocolate is a rich chocolate that is heavenly. And they have gluten-free sugar cones. My double coconut and chocolate cone was the first ice cream cone I’d had in years, and it made my day. Plus, BJU students get a 10% discount with their student ID.

Blueberry Frog


This frozen yogurt shop downtown always has two vegan (and therefore dairy-free) flavors — birthday cake and a rotating fruit flavor — and all flavors are gluten free. Charged by the ounce, this is also a budget-friendly option (and they give BJU students a 20% discount with ID).

See Also: Around Greenville: Local Ice Cream, FroYo and Gelato

The Bakery off Augusta

This bakery sells desserts that look and taste incredible. Though they are not dairy free, they might be worth cheating if you are able. Gluten-free cupcakes are available by special order only, but they usually have other gluten-free goodies — such as chocolate chewies — in the case.

Wildflower Cupcake and Dessert Bar


Wildflower Cupcake and Dessert Bar creates fancy cupcakes and desserts for a variety of special diets (including keto and sugar free in addition to gluten and dairy free). Their gluten-free cupcakes are moist and fluffy, not dense or dry like many others. Though they have a good selection to choose from, any of the frosting flavors (except cookie dough and cookies and cream) can be added to any gluten-free cupcake base, and they have dairy-free (vegan) frostings, too. As a bonus, when you buy five desserts, you get the sixth one free.

Honorable Mentions

Abbott’s Frozen Custard, owned by BJU alumnus Mark Hopper and his wife Amanda, offers dairy-free custard. Though not yet on a daily basis, they do have it often in cherry, pineapple and lemon flavors on rotation.

Snow cones are an easy special diet-friendly treat, and Pelican’s Snoballs are gluten free, dairy free, dye free and sugar free, but not taste free. As an added bonus, they sell a BJU-branded snoball called the “Bob Jones Bruin.” Pelican’s is open from the end of March through October.