Last Updated September 2020! Did you know America’s most infamous menu item, the hamburger, was invented in Connecticut? At least that’s what they say. Beyond burgers, seafood and dairy are staples in this New England state, and they often combine them. Butter drenched hot lobster rolls, steamed cheeseburgers, and white clam pizzas are just a few of Connecticut most iconic dishes. And for dessert, ice cream, of course!
It isn’t always easy to find dairy-free eats in Connecticut, but it’s definitely possible. We’ve managed to create this guide to restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and ice cream shops that are friendly to dairy-free diners. It’s a collection based on research and reader recommendations (send yours!), that’s divided into local restaurants (first) and chains (second).
Local Connecticut Restaurants Recommended for Dairy-Free Eats
The dairy industry has been at the center of Connecticut’s food supply for decades, so most of their popular local foods contain dairy in some form. But that doesn’t mean dairy-fee diners won’t have anything to enjoy!
The following restaurants go above and beyond with dairy-free options and/or allergy-friendly service. We’ve listed these recommendations alphabetically by city, and then by the restaurant or shop name.
⭐️ = Restaurant is either dairy-free, has a dairy-free menu, has dairy-free labels on their menu(s), or lists top allergens with menu items. (At the time of our last review.)
- Sweet Claude’s Ice Cream – They love to churn out dairy-free flavors at this classic ice creamery. They use either a soy-based ice cream mix (Tofutti) or an almond-based ice cream mix (Silk Almond Milk), depending on the flavor.
- Catch a Healthy Habit ⭐️ – This plant-based smoothie shop and cafe offers a big selection of almond milk smoothies and smoothie bowls, including acai and dragon fruit bowls, with an array of topping options. They also have a smattering of savory eats (like burgers, salads, and sandwiches), and a healthy dessert menu.
- Dee’s One Smart Cookie – This sweet little bakery is 100% gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free. They are also dairy-free, except for the dairy cheese offered for some of their items. Most of their items are egg-free. Their daily menu includes a huge array of sweets and savories, from cinnamon rolls to gnocchi.
- By the Way Bakery ⭐️ – Everything at this old-fashioned bakery is hand-crafted, baked fresh, and just happens to be gluten-free and dairy-free. They are also certified kosher. They offer a daily selection of pastries and cakes, but they also take custom orders for birthdays, weddings, and other celebrations.
- Three Girls Vegan Creamery ⭐️ – This shop is Connecticut’s dairy-free answer to cheese. They make plant-based cheese alternatives that are naturally aged and fermented, including block cheeses, almond ricotta, cream cheese, cashew cheese wheels, and grated parmesan. They also make their own mock meats, and have a whole menu of veganized Italian favorites and desserts.
- 21 Oak ⭐️ – According to the owners, this plant-based restaurant is dairy-free, and serves seasonal dishes made from local ingredients. They have indoor and patio dining, where you can enjoy veggie burgers, salads, and a small global array of other entrees. They also offer take out and have a full juice bar.
- Divine Treasures ⭐️ – This chocolate shop is runs a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan facility! They have a big array of confections, and swirl nut milk soft serve in a varietie of flavors. They also offer baked goods, and whip up Italian dinners for take out – like lasagna, pizza, and calzones.
- Indigo Indian Bistro ⭐️ – One of the owners proudly contacted us to share that they are allergy-friendly. They clearly label which menu items are dairy-free, gluten-free, and/or vegan, and are happy to assist customers with special diet requests.
- ION Restaurant ⭐️ – They shortened their name, from It’s Only Natural to ION, but the cuisine behind this award-winning vegan restaurant remained the same. Their brunch, lunch, and dinner menus include creative Southern-style cuisine with a organic and plant-based innovation. They also have a full bar with unique cocktails, wines, and local beers and ciders.
- Claire’s Corner Copia ⭐️ – Claire’s menus are not only heart-healthy, vegetarian, and kosher, they’re also clearly labeled with gluten, dairy, and egg, to help diners with special diet needs. And the dairy-free options are abundant. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a big menu of sandwiches, salads, veggie burgers, Mexican cuisine, Italian food, and more. They also offer desserts, some of which are dairy-free and vegan, and custom cakes.
- Miya’s Sushi – This little restaurant is touted as “the first sustainable sushi restaurant in the world.” They serve a very creative split menu of plant-based and seafood sushi. The vegan items are all dairy free, and much of the seafood menu is, too. But like most American sushi restaurants, cream cheese and ice cream are on the menu.
- Ted’s Montana Grill – Founded by media mogul and rancher Ted Turner, this American chain serves a meat-heavy menu with lots of dairy-free options. See our Dairy-Free Guide for Ted’s Montana Grill for more details.
- Georgie’s Diner ⭐️ – Chrystal emailed to share this allergy-friendly restaurant. They are peanut-free and label all other top allergens right on the menu. Their staff is also well-educated on food allergies. Many of their menu items contain dairy, but they have a wonderful vegan breakfast menu, a good handful of dairy-free options, and can customize several items without dairy. And unlike classic diners, they source organic eggs and antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed chicken, and serve hand-pressed juices.
National Chains with Several Connecticut Locations
There are many more chains in this state, but these are the ones we recommend most for dairy-free options.
This Guide is Continuously Updated with Recommendations
We welcome you to recommend other dairy-free friendly restaurants. Leave a comment or contact us and tell us why you like a certain restaurant. Restaurant owners and employees are also invited to reach out and let us know how you welcome dairy-free customers.
Please kindly let us know in the comments if any of these restaurants close. We want to keep this list current for you, but aren’t always notified when a restaurant closes. Let us know and we will quickly update!
This Guide is for Informational Purposes Only
Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation.
There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.