Jimmy John’s Gluten-Free Freaky Fresh? Answer Revealed!

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photo of outside of jimmy john's restaurant

JIMMY JOHN'S GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS

Jimmy John's tagline is "Freaky Fresh - Freaky Fast". Jimmy John's certainly was freaky fast in responding to my question on if they offer gluten-free menu options. Read on for my chat with Christine at Jimmy John's.

DOES JIMMY JOHN'S HAVE A GLUTEN-FREE ROLL?

Jimmy John's does NOT have a gluten-free roll or bun for their sandwiches. All Jimmy John's bread contains gluten. 

However, Christine advised that they offer the Unwich - a lettuce wrapped sandwich (hoagie or sub depending on what part of the country you're located). The Unwich is fully customizable.

WHAT'S GLUTEN-FREE AT JIMMY JOHN'S?

At the time of this post, the following items are gluten-free per Jimmy John's Allergen Information:

Sandwich: Unwich (Lettuce Wrap)

Lunch meats: Ham, Turkey, Roast Beef, Salami, Capicola, Bacon 

Note: I did ask if they would disclose what brand of lunch meat they used, but they were not able to. Their website details "our meats are minimally processed (except for caramel color on roast beef) and contain no artificial ingredients".

Condiments: Avocado Spread, Kickin’ Ranch, Hellmann’s Mayo , Jimmy Mustard, Grey Poupon, Yellow Mustard, Oil & Vinegar, Oregano-Basil

Veggies: Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber, Onion, Sprouts, Jimmy Peppers, Pickles

Chips: Regular Jimmy Chips, Thinny Chips, Jalapeño Jimmy Chips

IMPORTANT - PROVOLONE CHEESE AND BARLEY

On the Jimmy John's allergen list, Cheese is marked as containing gluten with the notation "May contain <20ppm barley gluten." I've never heard of provolone containing gluten and asked for clarification from Christine. Her answer was:

"The FDA considers <20ppm to be gluten free. The culture product that creates the provolone can contain barley. But that's a trace amount."

I've reached out to Beyond Celiac, the National Celiac Association, and the Celiac Disease Foundation for additional information on provolone and will update this post as soon as I receive a response.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM GETTING GLUTENED

No matter where you go, always:

  1. Ask to speak with a manager and explain that your need for a gluten-free meal is due to medical reasons.
  2. Ask the manager to ensure the person preparing your order washes their hands and changes gloves before making your meal.
  3. Ask to see ingredient labels - there's no shame in that game. I once had an employee bring me a 10 pound container of nacho cheese so I could read the ingredients. It was gluten-free - I tried to run away with it - sadly mission was thwarted.
  4. Never ever feel embarrassed or high maintenance - you're advocating for the safety of your meal. Own it!
  5. Be prepared with a back up plan. I always have a protein bar or snack in the car.

GET THE DETAILS: Be sure to check out my other gluten-free fast food articles here.

What's your favorite gluten-free fast food restaurant? Is there a specific place you feel you're able to safely dine? Share with the Hold the Gluten community in the comments below!

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Maureen

Maureen

Maureen Stanley was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2005. Way back before gluten-free was “mainstream“. Maureen created Hold The Gluten blog and podcast in 2008 as a way to connect members of the gluten-free community across the world.

4 Comments

    1. Wow – 1984! I can’t even imagine what gluten-free bread tasted like then since it tasted like a cardboard box in 2005 🙁 I’m glad to hear that you’ve had no problem with the McDonald’s grilled chicken salads. I’ll definitely look into them! Thanks again Annie 🙂 ~Maureen

  1. Its so good to meet another true celiac! I am thrilled to see your level of research and enjoy reading your posts. I find them very helpful. Thank you.

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