Now many of you who follow me regularly know that I am not a huge fan of chain restaurants. This is due largely to the fact that it is highly challenging to find gluten-free options that are outside of the traditional gluten-free standbys (read salads, simply grilled items, etc.). Living in New York City affords me a wealth of gluten-free or friendly restaurants so I never really have a reason to pop into a chain…that is until now.
I knew that UNOs Chicago Grill had gluten-free pizza and a dedicated gluten-free menu but just never got around to trying it. There really aren’t any locations that close to me and to make an extra trip just didn’t seem worth the trouble. I mean this is N.Y.C. and there are some killer gluten-free pizza options around.
One afternoon my in-laws were in from Bermuda and we decided to hit the South Street Seaport Museum. There are quite a few decent restaurants in the vicinity however my shellfish allergy makes dining in a seaport a bit of a challenge. So, when I saw an UNOs I immediately knew where we would be dining for lunch. I have to admit, I went in with really no expectations and was just hoping I would not end up getting sick. But from the moment I walked in, I knew things were going to be fine. When I asked the hostess for a gluten-free menu she didn’t even flinch and actually grabbed them for the entire party. Alas, I was the lone Celiac in this bunch but it was nice that there was no disconnect from my request and clearly gluten-free was something they had been trained on.
When we were seated, I started to peruse the gluten-free menu – which by the way offered a very nice selection of options from starters to pizza to main courses to dessert. Everything was totally transparent and there was even gluten-free beer! Now this location is clearly extremely busy (and huge) so I was still a tiny bit apprehensive. Our server could not have been nicer and again, when I pointed out my allergies, made it seem like it was completely normal – very nice indeed. I opted for a GF Redbridge Beer and a personal pepperoni pizza. It actually felt amazing to utter those seemingly simple words pizza and a beer. Oh, and I through in a side order of their Skinless Baked which is essentially a mashed loaded potato.
When the food arrived, not only was I pleasantly surprised but so was the rest of my party (who were eating off the regular menu). The pizza was actually very good and to be honest I didn’t think it would be as good as it was. The mashed potatoes were decadent – full of cheese and other naughty bits. Others in our gourp had everything from burgers to salads and everyone was really surprised at how good the food was.
I have since been to one of UNOs Westchester County (New York) locations and had a similar experience. So when I feel like a quick pizza and a beer, I know I can always pop-into an UNOs location and dine without worry because this chain actually treats Celiacs very, very well. And the food tastes good to boot.