Good to Go

Gluten-free eatery finds local following

For two years, one business in the Katy area has paid special attention to those who suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Good to Go, which opened in 2011 and offers a full to-go menu of freshly made gluten-free food items, has seen its appeal grow to include people who are simply interested in healthy eating, said owner Tracy Bates.

"My family has always tried to stay away from gluten foods because the grains that are produced today are so genetically modified," she said. "More and more, people are realizing that they just feel better when they eat gluten-free."

Although other restaurants offer special gluten-free menus on top of their regular menus, Good to Go is the only facility in Katy that is dedicated to remaining 100 percent gluten-free. The distinction is critical to people with celiac disease, where the tiniest amount of gluten can make them severely ill, Bates said.

"It's really important for the celiacs that there is absolutely no cross-contamination between gluten and gluten-free foods," she said. "Kitchens that offer gluten-free menus can actually scare celiacs because it's so easy for cross-contamination to occur."

Good to Go's menu offers paninis, soups and stews, as well as entrees ranging from chicken pot pie to pan pizza. The menu changes with each season. The winter menu offers hearty dishes and comfort foods, such as meatloaf, while the spring menu—which comes out in late March—will feature more vegetarian and vegan dishes, Bates said.

The beverage menu is also health-focused, with freshly juiced vegetable drinks, such as the Mean Green—kale, celery, cucumber, apple, lemon and ginger. Bates' business partner and head pastry chef, Jonathan Neil, can whip up cakes and cupcakes for birthdays and other events.

In addition to not using gluten, Bates said she does not use any soy products in her food, with the exception of gluten-free tamari sauce. Good to Go is also in the process of converting to 100 percent organic ingredients, she said.

"It's not easy to find gluten-free organic ingredients in bulk, but we've located a trusted flour distributor and we hope to get a lot of our vegetables from Sprouts Farmers Market," she said. "We're getting rid of the last bit of flour from our last order and from here on out it's all organic."

When Bates opened Good to Go, she initially intended to run a catering business. However, the demand from customers who wanted to buy from the front end became so great that she adapted the shop into what it is today. Catering is still a large part of the business though.

Bates said her dream is to turn Good to Go into a restaurant where people can sit down and eat.

"We're taking baby steps," she said. "We're looking into putting in some tables, but we would have to build a restroom first. The financing would be coming out of my pocket, so right now we're taking things slow and steady."

However, Bates said she does not want to let her dreams of growing the business interfere with the overall mission to create quality food that tastes good while being good for you.

"We're really passionate about what we're doing here," she said. "We don't want to be some place that is just putting food out there. We want to do it right."

How to follow a gluten-free diet

A gluten-free diet eliminates any food that contains a group of proteins found in many grains and grain products. This includes wheat, rye, barley and bulgur.

Foods that are gluten-free include nuts, milk, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fruits, vegetables and most cheeses. Grains can be replaced with cereals made from alternative products, such as cream of rice. Gluten-free flour mixes can be found at many health food stores.

It is critical that, when preparing gluten-free foods, chefs do not cross-contaminate by using utensils that were previously used with gluten foods. Scrub all utensils and surfaces thoroughly before switching from gluten to gluten-free.

Good to Go, 23144 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Katy, 281-712-2222, www.goodtogokaty.com

  • Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m.–8 p.m.
  • Closed Sat.–Sun.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.