I have been on a mission to find some fast food gluten-free and allergen friendly french fries for my gluten-free kid (GFK). So, we hit up Old School Burgers here in Colorado.
I looked this place up because of my love for In-N-Out Burgers in California. In-N-Out is the first place we hit when we land in Southern California each summer to visit family and friends. In-N-Out serves fresh, quality food that is made to order. They only fry french fries in vegetable oil and they are amazing and free of all allergens for the GFK. I had heard that Old School Burgers based here in Colorado was the closest thing to In-N-Out in the state. So, I researched the OSB menu and was initially pleased with what I saw as far as fries were concerned. I then followed up with an email to customer service and they said this:
“Our fries are simply a potato hand-cut and fried in trans fat vegetable oil. We don’t fry chicken or other stuff except that we offer onion rings on Mondays only and then we dedicate one fryer only for them and do not mix that fryer with fries.”
That sounded good enough to me so the five of us jumped in the car and headed over to the Englewood location of OSB. Upon entering, the place wasn’t exactly like In-N-Out. It didn’t feel as crisp and clean but it didn’t feel dirty either. We asked the proper questions upon ordering but I was getting some different answers on the oil issues. The young guy who was cooking for us told us they change the oil each Sunday, then fry onion rings on Mondays only. He then went on to say they skim the leftover onion ring bits out and the rest settles down into the bottom of the oil. Uh-oh, this would make the oil cross-contaminated for Celiacs and I wouldn’t feel comfortable feeding the GFK fries from contaminated oil. But, since it was Sunday and the oil had been changed that morning, we were able to order some fries for him. And let me tell you, these fries were fresh, hot and tasty. My son was in heaven. So much so that in the end he ate four adult sized orders of these tasty treats.
Since the GFK is also a vegan, he wasn’t able to try the burgers but the rest of the family did and they were pretty good too. You can order the burgers “naked” without a bun and use a lettuce wrap instead if you are on a gluten-free diet. I would also avoid the secret sauce being that it is made up of about a dozen different ingredients and could very well contain gluten.
Anyway, confronted with the possibility of contaminated oil, I wrote to Joe Cohen, president of OSB. He responded by saying:
“After we cook onion rings (in the far right fryer only of each store) we completely filter the oil and remove any sediment or particles in the fryer. By the time we are finished, the oil is clean. To be on the even safer side, you could also ask that your fries be cooked in one of the other fryers. Each fryer is self-contained so only the far right one has the oil from the onions. The other fryers only have oil that fries potatoes.”
This helped put my mind at ease enough to try OSB fries again but I will continue to badger them with questions until I like the answers. Management and staff have to get real on how they’ll cook fries from now on. Food allergy training wouldn’t hurt either.
Bottom line, if you haven’t found fresh and tasty fries since going gluten-free this place might be the answer. We will most likely be regular customers there this summer and OSB has been tentatively added to our gluten-free friendly restaurant list. OSB has three Colorado locations, one in Englewood and two in Aurora.