Fireside is gluten-free heaven

Scott Watrous holding up some of the gluten free bread options they offer at Fireside.

Fireside Café is a beloved place on campus by (many) students who enjoy the break from Huden every once and a while. 

But students with gluten sensitivity or allergies rely on Fireside even more due to the many options available, including different bread options. 

“Fireside has way better options for gluten-free bread than Huden does. It offers way more than Huden for gluten-free students in general,” Castleton student Karsen Dunican said. 

Students say Huden is a hard place to trust for completely gluten-free items. Even though it does have a small nook for gluten-free products, there is never much to pick from. Huden mainly offers sandwich bread, wrap bread, gluten-free waffles and granola bars in the gluten-free corner. 

Fireside, on the other hand, has gluten-free meals from frozen dinners to right off the stove. 

“My staff takes gluten-free needs seriously,” Manager Jim Stuart said. 

Fireside makes sure that students who require gluten-free meals have a place where they know they can go. From gluten-free bagels for bacon, egg, and cheeses, to gluten-free wraps, the variety is just better, students say. It even offers gluten-free chicken tenders, gluten-free brownies, and an assortment of gluten-free snacks. 

It even has vegan items now. 

“I trust that at Fireside there is less cross-contamination than Huden. I rely on Fireside, especially in season, since they have more options for me to eat and it’s important as an athlete for me to be eating enough food,” Castleton Hockey player Ellie Schliebs said. 

Unfortunately, Fireside isn’t as unlimited as Huden with the meal point system. With the normal meal plan, you get 125 Fireside points, which easily is gone within a month for many of these students who rely on their gluten-free meals. Students do have the option to change their meal plan to get more points, but that limits how many times they can go to the main dining hall. 

“I personally find Fireside better than Huden in the gluten-free aspect because you can’t order specific things from Huden like you can at Fireside. If they don’t have a gluten-free option for a meal they decide to put out, then does that mean that you don’t get to eat there for the day? Overall, both options are not the best because the size of the gluten-free things compared to gluten products is significantly smaller, which sucks,” Castleton student Erin Forkin said. 

Students say Fireside isn’t without problems though, with gluten-free meals running out at times and small portion sizes. And with the small number of points most students get from the plan, it makes it difficult to keep going to Fireside all year – especially if you don’t have money when you run out of points. 

Even though many students are grateful for Fireside and its options for their allergies, many wish they would simply have access to mainly Fireside meals rather than getting disappointed at Huden when meals aren’t completely gluten-free. 

But some students said they also feel Huden is improving. 

“I feel like Fireside has a lot of good options for gluten-free people. They are careful of cross-contamination, are very understanding, and patient. I prefer Fireside but I also think that Huden has been making a better effort for catering people with celiac too,” said student Jack Taylor. 

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