Once the platform was live, I was happy to see many restaurants I have eaten out at have partnered with Order Up. As much as I wanted to order from these tried-and-true restaurants, my adventurous side took over and sought out a restaurant I haven't been to before.
After considering the limited number of restaurants with gluten-free options, my best bet appeared to be 7 West Bistro, a restaurant that showcases the best of Mediterranean and American culinary specialties.
7 West's gluten-free menu is pretty lengthy and expansive as gluten-free menus go (find that here). Ever the diligent dairy-free diner, I inquired via email which of the gluten-free items were also dairy-free and was told that these are safe:
- Appetizers: octopus, chipotle citrus BBQ riblets, taramosalata, grilled rack of lamb chops (without tzatziki)
- Salads: any of them without cheese
- Entrees: any of the entrees without cheese/tzatziki; side options: potatoes, steamed broccoli, and rice pilaf
Here's where Order Up Towson comes in. Shortly before noon on a Friday, to beat the lunchtime rush, I placed my order via the website, and was able to get an email confirmation, as well as track my order's progress in real time. That's right: I was able to see when the restaurant received my order, who my driver would be, and that driver's progress to the restaurant and then to my dorm.Immediately after placing my order, a woman from 7 West called me to let me know that my original order (chicken souvlakia with stewed green beans and roasted potatoes) would have to be modified because the stewed green beans are no longer 100% gluten-free. I'm glad this was caught before the order proceeded, but was disconcerted that they are presented as a gluten-free option. Hopefully this will be corrected in the future so that others don't risk a reaction if the kitchen is too busy to follow up. I switched my veggie to steamed broccoli instead.
From order-to-delivery, my wait was a few minutes over an hour, not bad for a delivery service considering that it allowed for the restaurant to cook the meal, transfer it to the the driver, and make it's way to me.
As soon as I made it back to my room, I opened the piping hot styrofoam container and was pleased to find a sizable amount of food waiting for me. After a week of fending for myself with a mix of frozen meals and dorm cooking, getting real food for a change that I didn't have to cook was a revelation. The broccoli was fresh and perfectly steamed. The potato wedges were well seasoned with herbs and also roasted to perfection where the edges were brown and leathery. While the two sides were great, the real showstopper of the meal was the chicken kebabs. Tender, seasoned, and roasted, the meat was succulent and simply delicious.
If you haven't guessed, I gave 7 West Bistro two thumbs up- way up. I was blown away by my order, and will definitely be exploring more of their gluten-free menu via Order Up and will make a point of making it to the restaurant when it gets warmer. The price-to-portion ratio was great, and I the lunch perfectly satisfied my collegiate appetite. Order Up also impressed me with their smooth, efficient delivery process. I will definitely be utilizing their services for the the remainder of my college career. For a student with a restrictive diet, they are an invaluable resource that expands my dining options.
Cuisine: Salads, appetizers, entrees
Ideal For: Lunch, Dinner
Price: See menu prices at this link