Eating gluten-free isn’t about what you gain. It’s about what you leave behind. Maybe you could go without Fruit Loops, pancakes and pretzels, but sandwiches? Cake? Pizza?
A handful of companies are now attempting to replace those foods so many with celiac disease must forgo. Uno Chicago Grill (better known as Uno’s), a restaurant chain with over 200 locations nationwide, has made the best attempt yet to mimic one of America’s central gluten-containing staple foods with its gluten-free pizza.
Upon entering this Midwest-themed pizzeria, ask your waitress for a gluten-free menu. Colorful and comprehensive, this gluten-free menu shines with taste and variety, much like the gluten-free menu we found at Wildfire Grill. Steak, ribs, fish, chicken, salads, burgers (no bun), smoothies and of course, a delicious gluten-free pizza are all available for your enjoyment.
What most impressed us about Uno’s was its service. Upon ordering the gluten-free pizza, the manager came to speak with us about our constraints. He reassured us that he himself will cook our meal and that he has received training on how to properly handle gluten-free food to prevent cross-contamination. According to the DC Gluten-Free Examiner, French Meadow Bakery makes Uno’s gluten-free dough, which is based primarily on rice flour and is certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO).
For Uno’s to go that strenuous extra mile meant a great deal to us. Not only are they offering gluten-free items, they’re offering them as we would want. They cut no corners, from as far as we can tell, and it’s evident that they’re trying to be among the first major chains to capture the gluten-free market, which, as I wrote in a previous post about General Mills, is an excitable and active community. The news about any launches of gluten-free products spreads rapidly, with little marketing effort involved. It’s clear that Uno’s may be taking advantage of this phenomenon.
The pizza itself, which the manager carried out to us, didn’t quite match Uno’s traditional, gluten-containing pizza, but was excellent nonetheless. Many with celiac disease probably haven’t tasted pizza since being diagnosed, and Uno’s pizza offers an excellent substitute. Its crust was greasy, its cheese delicious. But it felt a bit too thin, and when inside my mouth, it melted apart, almost like ice cream, as gluten-free items so often do. But the thickness and richness of the cheese more than made up for it, and we strongly recommend Uno’s gluten-free pizza to anyone on the gluten-free diet.
For more pictures and information about our trip to Uno’s, check out our Flikr stream.
Have any of you tried Uno’s gluten-free pizza? Was it your first experience with pizza since being diagnosed with celiac disease? How did it taste? Let us know!