Thursday, March 8, 2012

Restaurant Review: Healthy at the Garden (Gluten Free Concession at Madison Square Garden, NYC, NY)

For the past couple of years, my brothers and I have made an annual pilgrimage to the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden (4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001).  Each year I either eat before hand, bring a hamburger bun, or eat something bunless.  This year started out no differently with a couple of burger patties on an Udi’s bun while waiting to meet up to drive into the city Tuesday night.  But while we were there I decided to check and see (with all the construction the Garden is doing) if there were now any GF options (after all, how exciting is watching Rutgers lose by 20?)

New Concession at Madison Square Garden (MSG)
where most foods are Gluten Free!
I was pleasantly surprised to find some news articles announcing that there would be a gluten free concession when the renovations were complete.  It seemed to me that they may be done already so for Wednesday night’s games I at a late lunch and brought along a snack bar just in case.  (Both in case they weren’t done and in case there weren’t any DF options.)

At the half of the SHU / Louisville game, I headed down to the 6th Floor concourse and began my search.  I found the gluten free options at a concession named: Healthy at the Garden (when entering the concourse from Tower A turn left and it is the first concession on your right side).  They offer both GF and non-GF items.  The Gluten Free items include Jumbo Hot Dogs, Chips and Salsa, Pizza (contains dairy), Kozy Shack Puddings (contain dairy), jello, fruit cups, Kind Bars, fruit, chips, chipins (popcorn chips, some contain dairy) and five different Bare Naked Bakery baked goods (sadly all five contained dairy).

Bare Naked Bakery Gluten Free Baked Goods (contain dairy)
at Madison Square Garden
A quick check with the staff revealed that the Bare Naked Bakery hot dog buns are dairy free (although they do contain both eggs and mayo).  For those not familiar with Bare Naked Bakery, they are a dedicated Bakery / Cafe on Long Island (2572 Merrick Rd, Bellmore, NY 11710).  They don’t produce mass market shelf stable baked goods (a la Udi’s) but rather produce homemade quality items.  They have a large and diverse menu quite a bit of which is also dairy free (DF items are marked in their cafe on the menu)

Bare Naked Bakery Gluten Free Dairy Free Hot Dog Bun
at Madison Square Garden in NYC
The hot dog was much larger than those at the Prudential Center and the bun was bigger still (See photo at right).  The bun held together quite well and tasted well . . . homemade.  I’m even confident in saying it tasted better than the gluten containing buns they were serving at other concessions!  [The hot dogs are beef, a fact I forgot to check until after I had eaten it.]

Since the Gluten Free Cart at the Prudential Center is my ‘home’ gluten free concession, I can’t help but make some comparisons.  First, all of the Gilbert’s goodies at the PruCenter are dairy free, it would be nice if at least one of the desserts offered here was.  Second, the only condiments available at the Garden are yellow mustard and ketchup out of communal pumps (compared to individual brown mustard packets and sauerkraut at the GF Cart (plus communal relish, etc if you want to risk cc). 

Gluten Free Menu at Madison Square Garden
And finally, the GF Cart at the Prudential Center charges the same amount as the other concessions while the Garden charges $1.50 more for a hot dog (that Bare Naked bun makes it worth it).  On the up side, the Garden does offer more options overall (especially if you can have dairy).  [Note: a large slice of GF pizza is $7 while an 8” gluten containing pizza is $7.50.]

In the end, it is always awesome to have more GF/DF options especially when a captive audience.  I’ll definitely be returning for more hot dogs as the week goes on – and drown my sorrows over Seton Hall’s untimely exit from the tournament in Bare Naked Bakery goodness!


  1. This is great news. I will definitely keep this in mind for the next time I am there. Thanks!

  2. Good to know this option, at least the food must be good! Great post!


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