Sunday, January 25, 2009

Uno Chicago Grill Gluten Free Pizza (and a big SCREW YOU to Uncle Bear's)

Yesterday we decided to try some of the gluten free options we had heard of at restaurants around town. Our two options were Uncle Bear's Bar & Grill or Uno Chicago Grill. I had heard from Michelle (over at Gluten Free Gluttony)that Uncle Bear's had gluten free hamburger buns so that was my first choice, since I had not heard of ANYWHERE else offering such a thing. So we hopped in the car and drove 30 minutes away to Uncle Bear's.

I have got to say, I have NEVER been more disappointed in a restaurant. I will probably never go back here. We asked them if they had a gluten free menu, and our server said no. She then told us that they were completely out of gluten free buns and crust (for pizza) that day. I was thinking, ok no biggie, I guess we should have called. She took our drink order and walked away. I browsed the menu looking for something that maybe I could eat. She came back, set down the drinks and we asked her what on the menu was gluten free. She said, "Nothing." We're like, "Nothing??" I asked her if any of their salad dressings were gluten free, she said no, not that she's aware of. So I asked if they had any corn tortillas for the fajitas, and she said no, only flour. She maintained that NOTHING was gluten free. Not a single thing. We told her that we'd have to go somewhere else. There's no way in hell I was going to risk eating something there if the server is straight up telling me that there is nothing they can offer me. Oh, but it doesn't end there.

SHE CHARGED US FOR THE DRINKS. 5 flipping dollars we had to pay for the drinks that had been set on our table, untouched by us. Not to mention, I asked for a Dr. Pepper, Brandon asked for an Ice Tea, and she brought out two Dr. Peppers. It was unbelievable. I felt the staff there was completely clueless as to what gluten actually is; they were unaccomodating, and very difficult to work with. You'd think when they started offering gluten free buns and pizza, they'd at least educate their staff to help customers who come in requesting it or AT LEAST put together a freaking gluten free menu! Sheesh.

So we moved on to our second option: Uno Chicago Grill. I have heard such great things from the blogging world about the new gluten free pizza offered at this restaurant. Just to be certain that we didn't run into the same problem, we called ahead and checked to be sure they had the pizza, which they did. The experience that we had at Uno was night and day to Uncle Bear's. They had a gluten free menu with lots of choices (NOTE: Their ranch dressing is NOT gluten free so don't get that as a dipper). The thin crust gluten free pizza is even on the "regular" menu! Nobody puts gluten free babies in the corner!
When the pizza arrived at our table, my mouth was watering. It looks and smelled SO good. It is a thin crust pizza, which we always loved to order pre-gluten free and I haven't had one since going gluten free. (My beloved Picazzo's doesn't have gluten free thin crust.) I think I devoured two slices before Brandon even tried his first slice. It was delightful. It tasted like pizza that you would have delivered to your house. Brandon said he liked it a little better than Picazzo's and I'd have to agree...slightly. Picazzo's is more of a fancy-schmancy gourmet pizza, this is just down and dirty, lounging around and watching movies pizza that I used to love so much.
I was two and a half slices in when Brandon starting pondering out loud about their kitchen practices. When our waiter came over he asked them how they handle cooking gluten free food in the kitchen -- separate cooking spaces, utensils, etc. The waiter told us that the cooks went through a several day training period teaching them about the importance of cross-contamination and how to avoid it. They have separate everything dedicated specifically to gluten free. The waiters also went through training, but obviously not as much as the cooks since they don't handle the making of the food directly. I can't tell you how good it was to hear all this, especially after the ordeal we just had at Uncle Bear's. So I continued to gorge myself on pizza, confident in this establishment.

And, I admit, I ate an astounding FOUR slices. That's practically unheard of for me.

I'd say, all in all, it went over pretty well. :)


Endless Possibilities said...

Funny, I was at Uncle Bears yesterday too and I was pissed too. I was at the Warner location for lunch with Jared, Jacob and Jared's fam. I asked about the gluten free stuff and they were out so I ordered a bun less burger. The waitress told us that the owners had sold that location only and in a little bit they wont be Uncle Bears anymore but something else. They may get rid of the GF options all together.

I am glad that the Pizza worked out so well! Woo hoo!! YUMMY! I want some :) We will need to get some soon!

Marlow said...

I MUST try Uno's stat!!

Gluten Free Steve said...

Uncle Bear's gets an F. I hope you didn't pay for the drinks - I wouldn't have.

Traci said...

OOOOhhh that pizza looks SO good! I want to go eat there right now! Thanks for sharing!

Karen said...

Wow! I'm going to try this Uno's g-free dish as soon as I can!