Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Uno Chicago Grill announces GF pizzas

As we approach Christmas in a few short weeks, No Gluten, No Problem just as rapidly approaches its five month anniversary. Since we went live in late July 2008, you - our readers - have come from all 50 states and from 39 countries. (Wow!) To that end, Kelli and I strive to bring you diverse content, from recipes to product reviews, from bakeries to restaurants, that will appeal to a wide cross-section of the gluten-free community. Though we're based in Colorado, we've blogged about bakeries like Mariposa in California, and Shabtai in New York. Similarly, we've blogged about restaurants like the Yankee Smokehouse in New Hampshire, and national chains such as P.F. Chang's China Bistro, to name a few.

However, I'm self-aware that we've been more Colorado-centric than usual lately, with restaurant reviews of places in Boulder, Breckenridge and Steamboat Springs in recent weeks. I'm happy to report that our blog is (virtually) headed on the road again, with upcoming stops in Oregon at the Arico Natural Foods Company, and in Connecticut at Aleia's gluten-free bakery. Keep an eye out for those posts in the near future!

We hit the road today, too, with a stop at the national chain, Uno Chicago Grill. Uno has been a very proactive restaurant in terms of addressing the dietary needs and restrictions of its customers. The nutrition section of the website is loaded with useful info, including a sub-section on gluten-free cuisine (click on "gluten-free" under dietary category to view the GF menu). The GF menu currently includes more than 30 items, ranging from entrees to salads to sides to dessert.

The big news, though, is that Uno recently became the nation's first casual dining restaurant chain to offer a gluten-free pizza (two pizzas, actually - plain cheese, and pepperoni). The move was announced in an article in QSR Magazine, which serves the quick service restaurant industry. (Thanks to my sister-in-law, Karla, for tipping us off to the news!) Uno spent more than a year researching and developing a recipe for the crust, which in the end used rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch and extra virgin olive oil, among other ingredients.

For now, Uno is field-testing the new pizzas in its New England region, so those of you in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, eat up and please report back to us or comment here with how you like the new GF pizzas! The rest of us can expect to find the GF pizzas at our local Uno Chicago Grill sometime in 2009. Happy dining...

- Pete


Travis Ingersoll said...

The only other big chain restaurant I know that goes out of its way to accommodate people with gluten sensitivities, is Maggiano's Little Italy. I'm so excited about UNO beginning to offer GF pizza options. I've always loved their pizza! Let's hope this trend continues!

H.Peter said...

That is pretty big news.
For you guys in the US at last.

A good GF Pizza goes a long way for any Celiac. My wife has been experimenting for the last few month and now sells the shells at her bakery.

Not being a Celiac, but her NUMERO UNO Taste eater, I give it a 7 out of 10. With my choice of toppings it went up to a 9....

Here are some images:

peterbronski said...

Travis... I haven't been to Maggiano' yet. I'll have to give it a try! Let's hope the trend continues indeed.

H.Peter... A good GF pizza does indeed go a long way. Lots of local pizza shops have started offering a GF option, and my wife, Kelli, has been very successful making a scratch crust here at home. How are your wife's pizza shells selling these days?

Cheers, Pete

Shirley said...

Wow, you've only been blogging since July! I had no idea. Your blog is so professional and seems established. :-) Congrats on your success thus far! I am planning on launching my own GF blog very soon (at the urging of my support group) so it's inspiring to see your success!

My group was thrilled to hear the Uno news a few months back. We've been encouraging anyone on travel or our relatives in these states to order GF pizzas, because as we understand it, this is a pilot program and continued expansion depends on demand and feedback. (I didn't see that wording specifically in the QSR article, but I guess "testing" indicates that.)

I have been enjoying using Uno's GF menu for quite some time. You do still have to be careful because the first time I ordered a GF meal from them, the server brought it out with bread sticks. There was no indication on the GF menu that the meal came with bread sticks and you had to order it without bread sticks. Luckily, the bread sticks were in a completely separate dish and I was able to eat the meal safely, but I did educate my server and speak to the manager. I took the "catch more flies with honey" approach ;-), and sincerely praised them for offering a GF menu, but asked them to improve the training of their staff. I've eaten since then successfully, but still state "no breadsticks, bread, etc." just in case. I've found their food to be delicious.

I make a flourless GF pizza that we love (as well as everyone in my support group). The crust is actually made of eggs, cream cheese, mozzarella, and parmesan. The crust is baked and then cooled and then topped like a regular pizza and baked. It's absolutely delicious and easy to make. It's a low-carb recipe that a friend gave me, but as you can imagine it's not low-calorie, so it's not a frequent treat for us. I can post the recipe if you'd like.

H.Peter said...

Victoria could sell many more than she is making. Problem being, she makes them by hand only. So it is time consuming compared to cofee cakes and other things.

She sells out every batch. No better comfort food for Celiacs I guess.