Cornell unveils a 100% gluten-free eatery with grand reopening Thursday

This week, 14850 Dining is checking out Cornell University’s newly certified gluten-free dining room at Risley Hall. Cornell is hosting a grand reopening at Risley Dining this Thursday night.

The serving line at Risley Dining Room. Photo provided.

According to Cornell Dining, they’ve been systematically removing gluten from the menu for two years — with rice noodles in the stir-fry, gluten-free biscuits and brownies, and now the eatery is certified 100% gluten-free, peanut free, and tree-nut free.

It’s just the second college eatery in the U.S. that’s certified gluten-free, with the first at Kent State, and it provides a safe place to eat for celiac disease sufferers and others who can’t have even a trace of wheat, plus an allergy-safe environment for those who can’t be exposed to peanuts.

“Instead of replacing the ubiquitous college dining staples of pizza, pasta and sandwiches with gluten-free versions,” says Jennifer Iscol, president of the Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California, “Risley Dining Room chef Kevin Grant quietly removed gluten, nuts and peanuts over a two-year period and instead provides innovative, restaurant-quality dishes so satisfying that most diners have been unaware that several top allergens are off the menu and plants and whole foods are playing a bigger role.”

“As a parent of two teens, one with celiac disease, and having been through four years of college visits and research, I am impressed by this unique, comprehensive, and valuable approach to accommodation,” Iscol said in a statement. “It will be helpful for countless families, like mine, who are daunted by the prospect of keeping kids with medical dietary restrictions safe and well fed at college,” she adds.

There are other spots in town with gluten-free offerings. Ciao has gluten free pasta dishes, Sal’s Pizzeria has gluten-free pizza crust, and Agava has a whole gluten-free menu that includes gluten-free beer. There are gluten-free hamburger rolls at Bandwagon, gluten-free sandwich breads at Ithaca Bakery.

But if you’re sensitive enough that you want to be sure there was no gluten anywhere near your food when it was being prepared, visit Risley Dining Room for lunch and dinner weekdays on Cornell’s north campus, and check out their grand reopening this Thursday from 5-7, with a door price of $15.30, including tax. (Students can use a meal swipe or pay $13.88 in Big Red Bucks, and staff or faculty can pay $13.75 via  MealChoice.)

The reopening dinner on Thursday features dishes prepared in conjunction with Cornell hotel school alum Chef Amy Fothergill, aka Amy the Family Chef. She’ll be on hand signing copies of her Warm Kitchen cookbook. Students, faculty, and Ithaca community members are welcome, and you can see upcoming menus at

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