I am not a huge chain restaurant visitor but sometimes when traveling I will check-out the occasional chain – particularly if it is one that is not available in my area. Enter Not You Average Joe’s. This chain has been around for more than twenty years and boasts twenty-five restaurants in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland. The offer a separate gluten-free menu so my interest was piqued and I decided to pay them a visit.
The staff were very well-versed when it came to addressing my food allergies and celiac disease. In fact, when any of the gluten-free items were brought to the table – it was by a manager who would confirm that they were gluten-free. It is nice that they put an extra level of security in place to prevent the wrong dish from making its way to the guest.
As soon as I mentioned that I was celiac an order of gluten-free bread was presented with its own dipping sauce since the rest of the table were not gluten-free. The bread was actually quite good – soft with a nice crisp crust. There was an extensive choice of gluten-free options but I was in the mood for the Harvest Mac-N-Cheese which was chock-full of smoked mozzarella and pepperjack cheeses with the interesting addition of roasted butternut squash and mushrooms, spinach and pulled chicken. It was topped with a dusting of gluten-free bread crumbs adding a nice bit of additional texture to the dish. I started with their GoodHouse salad which was a nice mix of greens, tomatoes and cucumbers with toasted sunflower seeds tossed-in for some additional flavor and crunch.
While I am a huge macaroni and cheese person, this dish was a bit unexpected. It was not the traditional baked version that is typically more solid but rather more like pasta that was tossed with the ingredients vs. baked. The dish itself was good but a bit on the bland side and I was not really a fan of the pulled chicken they used. It was by no means bad but I would opt for a different main course next time.
There are a couple of gluten-free dessert items and I of course landed on the flourless chocolate torte that was served with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and garnished with some fresh raspberries. This was actually very good and made for the perfect end to the meal.