Open since last year, the store might seem too much to hope for: a place where one who has embraced the gluten free lifestyle can roam freely about, tossing items into one's cart from any aisle whatsoever.
No more need to beeline past the bread aisle, the pizza aisle, the bakery section, the pancake mixes, the cereals. Every every single item is a possibility!
Even so, you may find yourself, as I did, still veering away from certain sections -- for instance, the cookie aisle -- through sheer force of habit.
The frozen food section is even more fun to amble through: waffles, ice creams, breads -- it's all there. And no label reading is required, unless one has other food allergies/intolerances/sensitivities besides gluten.My boyfriend loves egg rolls, and this is the first time I had ever encountered a brand that we could both eat (the manufacturer advertises its frozen gluten free egg rolls as "the world's first.")
In Joe's aisles, I also discovered Kind granola. If you've ever been in a Starbuck's, you may recognize Kind Bars as a gluten free alternative to the muffins and bakery items that are off-limits to gluten free diners.
The staff at Gluten Free Joe's is authentic and friendly. One staff member has developed and sells organic gluten free baking mixes. And then there's Joe, himself, who is a great guy!
The store is clean and pleasant: the floor is stained in a warm harvest-orange color. Two comfy chairs beckon in a sitting area featuring shelves of resource books.
"I am very grateful for the Tacoma community," says Tacoma store General Manager Marc Sevier.
Gluten Free Joe's first location -- in Tumwater, Washington -- is nearly five years old. GF Joe's Tacoma -- which features over 2500 products -- is located at 5811 South Sprague Court (make sure to use "Court" -- not "Street" if you are mapping the address, said Sevier). The closest cross-streets are Tacoma Mall Blvd. and South 58th Street in Tacoma. Call first and get directions.
On March 16, 2013, GF Joe's will be at the Family Expo at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall, from 9-5pm.
Photo is unrelated to Gluten Free Joe's; it's just a nice image from Creative Commons.