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Gluten-free fast casual eatery KarmaFarm opens in Buckhead

A new Buckhead restaurant is looking to cater to the growing number of people eating gluten-free.

KarmaFarm, which opened last week at 54 Pharr Road, is fast casual eatery certified gluten-free by the Gluten Free Food Service Division (GFFS) of the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) of North America according to McCall Wilder, who owns the restaurant with her husband Scott. The restaurant’s opening was first reported by What Now Atlanta.

Last week’s opening was several years in the making. Wilder developed an auto-immune disease, prompting her to drop gluten from her diet. Scott is a vegan and the couple’s son has a nut allergy, which got the Wilders to thinking that a restaurant didn’t exist in Atlanta that had several options for the whole family -- and thus the seed for KarmaFarm was planted.

“We wanted to get real food on the plate for those of us who have dairy, nut and gluten issues,” she said. 

McCall began researching gluten-free vendors and developed a “gluten-intolerance bible” of products that were either already certified gluten-free or that she vetted to make sure the products were produced in a totally gluten-free and nut-free environment and included only gluten-free ingredients, down to the coffee and tea served in the restaurant. In addition, Wilder uses organic and seasonal produce sourced as much as possible from local farms.

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“We have to set up our own set of standards,” Wilder said.

Sweets from (KarmaFarm) (KarmaFarm)

The restaurant employs a baker who has developed several gluten and nut-free recipes including a birthday cake and an arepa made with yucca flour, and many dishes are made using Wilder family recipes. 

KarmaFarm operates as a “meat and three” or “protein and three” with a counter-service line with various options, as well as an extensive selection of carry-out items. Everything is priced individually and ranges from $2.50-$7.50.

The menu -- which changes often depending on what’s in season -- features a variety of salads and soups including avocado truffle salad and curry turmeric chickpea salad; proteins including sustainable Norwegian Steelhead trout filet and braised Springer Mountain herbed chicken breast; sides including ginger cabbage and corn and red pepper sautee; arepas; desserts and drinks.

Wilder said she’s already had many repeat customers, including those who don’t normally eat a gluten-free diet. 

She said that while it’s a lot of work to keep on top of making sure the restaurant is completely gluten-free, it’s worth it when customers 

“You can see people’s smiles while they’re eating,” she said. “It’s work, but we also know we’ve made a difference. If you’re gluten-free, we’re making it safe for you. You can have some fun and don’t have to worry.” 

KarmaFarm adjoins bakery and cafe Karma Daisy, which the couple opened earlier this year in the former Cookie Studio space. For every meal purchased at KarmaFarm, the restaurant donates a meal to a child in need through organizations including No Child Hungry, and for every meal purchased at Karma Daisy, a meal is donated to a pet in need. 

The restaurant is currently open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday -Saturday, but will extend its hours until 9 p.m. after Jan. 3. 

54 Pharr Road NW, Atlanta. 404-812-0477, eatkarmafarm.com/

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