Some people need to keep a strictly gluten-free diet because of medical conditions, such as coeliacs and others avoid gluten because it has made them feel better, whether it’s GI issues or reducing symptoms of eczema or asthma. Whatever your need for seeking out GF options, it’s great that most cafes, restaurants, and supermarkets offer something to meet your requirements. We sought out some of the Illawarra folk championing gluten free food in Wollongong and providing more glorious food options for those so often left out.

When is Gluten Free really Gluten Free?

For a coeliac, or someone with severe intolerance, food that simply doesn’t contain gluten as an ingredient isn’t enough, and if it’s been prepared alongside or come into contact with gluten-containing foods, it could still send them home feeling pretty unwell. These businesses are going above and beyond to cater to the GF community, so there’s a coeliac-safe space for local foodies.

GF Eats: Creating a GF Community in the Illawarra

GF Eats is now established as Wollongong’s favourite gluten-free destination. The Bellambi store’s retail section features a range of gluten-free products that puts the big supermarkets to shame. Their bakery and takeaway section is something of an ethereal experience for those who cannot or choose not to partake in gluten. If you need any kind of inspiration to get yourself to their Rothery Road establishment, please check out their Facebook page for some visual delights.

gluten free food wollongong

Image courtesy of GF Eats

Megan started GF Eats as a market stall at the Kiama Farmers Market just under 6 years ago.

“It was on this windy Wednesday afternoon that we learned the power of good tent pegs & got our first insight into how all-embracing our gluten-free community is. We lost our marquee & about half of our food to a wind gust, moments before the market started. Between fits of laughter and a few tears, some fellow stall holders and our first few customers jumped to our rescue –  we’re still not sure if it was sympathy or a genuine desire to get their hands on coeliac-safe food but anything that we could salvage that day was sold in a flash so we returned the following week, with a new marquee and some bitumen breaking tent pegs.”

After a few weeks, they found their groove and were very lucky to secure an ocean-view position at the Farm’s Market at Killalea for the monthly Sunday market. After countless rookie mistakes, 5 marquees, and 10 months of market life they noticed a business for sale sign in a shop window. Five years ago this August, the signage went up, and as they opened the door for the first time, they soon discovered a whole new raft of rookie errors presented themselves.

“Our business has seen many changes over the years but we have always stayed true to our core reason for doing what we do, to offer real coeliac safe choices to our gluten-free community. While it is great to be able to get a gluten-free salad at a cafe or a steak at a pub (often after a lengthy Spanish inquisition), we focus on foods that are not naturally gluten-free and make a gluten-free version.” 

GF food wollongong

Image courtesy of GF Eats

The Illawarra’s first specifically GF Store

Brownie cookies, vanilla slice, beer battered fish, cheesecakes, Portugese tarts, crumbed calamari, burgers, donuts, mac & cheese are just a few of the delights on offer.

“When we say gluten free we mean gluten free. 100 percent coeliac safe, no “may contains”, no shared equipment. This can present many challenges in sourcing ingredients and testing recipes, but when you nail a test bake or stock that we have spent weeks and sometimes months working to source finally arrives, it is well worth all the effort.”

Over the time spent in their current location, the business has continued to evolve.

“One of our biggest changes over the years was moving from dine-in to takeaway only. While we loved offering dine-in, moving to takeaway was driven by COVID-19. Staying as takeaway only has allowed us the room to offer a greater freezer retail range, more sweet options, and a larger hot food menu. While we would love to get the dine-in vibe back one day we would need a much bigger shop to make that happen. The area out the back of our shop where customers once sat down to eat is now walk-in cool rooms and freezers, the kitchen bench space we once plated up meals on is now wall-to-wall mixers and food prep equipment, and even with a tiny team our postage stamp sized kitchen leads to human gridlock most days.”

Megan credits much of the business’s success to her tight-knit team, most of whom have been with her through most of the GF Eats journey.

“We are super grateful that a large part of our team has been with us since very early days. This has made it easier to pivot when needed and roll with the punches that have hit small businesses over the last few years.”

The team is always planning things in the background, be it new menu items, test-baking sweet treats, sampling new items for the retail freezers, and always trying to increase the choices available for the GF Eaters out there. They have recently expanded into providing ready-made dinners for pickup. The menu varies from week to week, so it’s sure to feature one of your faves. I had a tough time trying to decide between honey prawns with fried rice and crispy noodles, or beef brisket with potato bake, broccolini, and gravy!

gluten free food in wollongong

Meeting Growing demand for GF Options in the Illawarra:

Unfortunately, the business can only grow so much in its current location. Megan laments,

“We have been saying it for a while, we need a bigger boat.” 

GF Eats has quite the cult following, which is a testament to the awesome range of coeliac-friendly goods they have created and sourced.

“While we have a lot of local customers we also have customers who day trip and even plan local holidays to visit us, from Sydney, Canberra, Orange, Goulburn, the Southern Highlands, Newcastle and even Melbourne & Perth.”

 “We would love to eventually be able to spread our gluten-free wings a little wider and make good gluten-free food more accessible for those who need it.”

Here at The List Illawarra, we think this is only a matter of gluten-free time!

Gluten Free Family Dining at Wollongong Bistro

The new kid on the gluten-free block is The Bistro on Beaton. Head Chef Cory and Head baker Caleb have joined forces with Wollongong Tennis Club to create Wollongong’s first entirely gluten free bistro dining destination. Opening in October 2022, the business is top of the list for many families and individuals with coeliac disease or other gluten intolerances. 

It took a bit of convincing in the beginning to get the tennis club to get on board with the idea of the kitchen and menu being entirely gluten-free. The successful combination of the food being so good, and the overwhelming popularity they’ve experienced so far are enough to win the club and the members over. Anyone who is not on a gluten-free diet cannot tell that they are eating GF, and the venue is so popular that you need to book in advance to make sure you don’t miss out on a table.

gluten free dining wollongong

Image courtesy of The Bistro on Beaton

The BOB team takes great pride in their pasta dishes in particular, which are proving to be a crowd favourite. The Bistro on Beaton’s menu features all your bistro faves including Schnittys, Parmys, and more. They also have vegetarian and vegan options available if required. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly dinner out for the family, kids eat for free on Tuesday nights. 

Cory is particularly passionate about serving up safe food for his coeliac and gluten-free customers, despite not suffering from the disease himself. After getting to know many customers over the years and educating himself, he now offers his services as a consultant to other commercial kitchens to ensure their food safety practices are up to scratch.

Always looking for a new challenge, the BOB team is just about to launch a new branch of the business, Beaton Foods. They have spent months developing their own gluten-free breads which will be for sale through their new website soon. Wholesale pasta and bread will also be available for other cafes and restaurants to source.

If you’re keen to experience gluten-free dining at its best, The BOB is the place to be. Even stocking GF beers and slushies, their goal is to provide a dining experience where Coeliacs can feel completely normal. With an exclusively gluten-free kitchen, you can order anything on the menu that you feel like, without the usual Spanish Inquisition. How bloody liberating! As they say in the classics “Pasta la vista”. 


Of course, there are a number of local legends who are making the effort to include truly GF options in their offerings. We’d like to give a special shout-out to:

  • OMG Decadent Donuts
    These gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, vegan (possibly made of unicorn breath?) donuts have to be tried to be believed. You can read more about OMG Donuts in this article.
  • Sans Gluten
    Located in Shellharbour City Centre, you’ll be amazed at what this gluten-free and dairy-free bakery can produce. From homestyle banana bread to lavish multi-tiered celebration cakes, these guys have your next special occasion covered.
  • South Sailor
    This Thirroul establishment has some excellent GF options available and does its best to accommodate specific dietary requirements.
  • Balinese Spice Magic
    Jules and her team at BSM have loads of gluten free options. Delicious, Indonesian cuisine in the heart of Wollongong’s CBD, made with love!