Gluten-free restaurant Wheatless moves to new location

Customers dine at the new location of Wheatless Bar & Grill on Campbell Lane in Bowling Green on April 5. Wheatless prides itself on being the city’s only gluten-free restaurant. With the opening of the new location, “We are able to accommodate an even broader spectrum of customers and offer a lunch and dinner menu,” said Wheatless employee Vedran Kusturica, 26, of Bowling Green.” We are also able to have a full to go pantry with more selection.” Gabriel Scarlett/HERALD

Abbey Tanner

Wheatless, Bowling Green’s first gluten-free restaurant, relocated across the street from its previous location on March 10. Although it did not move far, there have been several changes made at the new location.

Wheatless is now located at 801 Campbell Lane. The restaurant offers a full dinner menu, including gluten-free pastas, prime ribs, salmon and steaks. Another new feature is a full-service bar that serves gluten-free alcohol.

Originally Wheatless was located in Buckhead Square, but it is now located on the south side of Campbell Lane. At its previous location, the restaurant’s rental agreement prevented it from legally serving alcohol.

Co-owner Michael Cowles started Wheatless in October of 2014 with his friend Vedran Kusturica. The two met while working at ALDI. Cowles has several friends with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that makes a person allergic to gluten and wheat, or gluten intolerance.

Kusturica said he and Cowles were approached a few months ago by their landlord with the opportunity of moving to another location. They both agreed the move was vital to Wheatless taking the next step in its restaurant operation.

The owners had three days to move the operation to another location and be up and running on the fourth day.

“The next step would be to develop our dinner, bring in alcohol and broaden our spectrum of customers,” Kusturica said.

Prior to moving, Wheatless mainly offered breakfast and lunch options. Now it can appeal to more people with a broader menu.

“We added two to three different types of steak. We added pot roast, fish and other items like that,” Kusturica said.

Kusturica went to WKU and graduated in 2012 with a degree in hospitality management. He also has a background in nutrition and autoimmune diseases.

“I’m one of the few people that can actually say I’m doing something that I went to school for and that makes me really happy,” Kusturica said. “When it came right down to the restaurant business, the education that I got helped us out a lot.”

Even during the past few weeks, Kusturica and Cowles have seen a marked improvement in numbers and customer satisfaction.

“It has just been blown out of the water,” Kusturica said. “We are so happy. The people that are coming in are so excited with our new menu.”

Kusturica said people with food allergies struggle to go out to eat with friends who don’t share the same allergy. However, Wheatless now offers more for everyone.

Regular customers Tammy Zuccarell of Bowling Green and her 10-year-old son Jimmy Zuccarell said Wheatless has offered a new convenience for their family.

Jimmy has gluten intolerance, so with the new menu options, his mother is able to buy him a meal without fear of him getting sick.

“I don’t have to hurt or worry,” Jimmy Zuccarell said of Wheatless.

Gary Wallace, a chef at Wheatless, said the restaurant business has been a journey. He has been with Wheatless since the beginning and is Cowles’ father-in-law.

“All that was, was just four walls and a floor,” Wallace said of the new location. He said Cowles made all the tables and signs and decorated everything himself.

Wallace said attendance numbers in the past few weeks have increased by a third of what they were formerly. He said that with Wheatless being the first restaurant of its kind in Bowling Green, it serves many returning customers.

“We definitely started this on a shoestring budget, and to go from that to what we are now in one and a half years is the most remarkable thing we’ve done,” Wallace said.