Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Restaurant Review: Wahoo's Fish Taco


Driving around Colorado's Front Range, it always seemed that Kelli, Marin and I were bumping into a Wahoo's Fish Taco. With a dozen locations here in the state, it's no wonder why. (Wahoo's in total has more than 50 locations in California, Colorado, Texas and Hawaii. Why those four non-contiguous states in particular? I haven't a clue...) Finally, we decided to stop in for lunch.

The restaurant chain has an interesting back story: It was founded in 1988 by three brothers who grew up in Brazil. Their parents owned a Chinese restaurant in Sao Paolo, and in the mid 1970s, the family moved to Orange County, California. The brothers, all three of them passionate surfers, often traveled south to Baja California, Mexico to surf...and to enjoy charbroiled fish with salsa and tortillas. These myriad influences ultimately became Wahoo's Fish Taco.

Of course, our main focus was the food. We dined at the location in Broomfield (after Kelli had first scouted the place and eaten lunch there with Marin previously). I was immediately impressed with the staff's knowledge of gluten-free issues, and they were able to easily guide me to the gluten-free menu items. I opted for the Wahoo Bowl - it consisted of charbroiled Wahoo fish, served with rice, salsa, and at our request, a side of fresh corn tortillas. Holy Moly the food was delicious. The fish was cooked to perfection...charbroiled on the outside, deliciously moist on the inside. The meal was deeply satisfying.

Curious if my experience was unique to one Colorado location or representative of a corporate-wide level of GF awareness, I contacted the headquarters office. They responded promptly via email ("Yes indeed we have options for our gluten free friends!") and attached an Excel spreadsheet highlighting the GF menu items. It did contain one error (it listed GF menu items that were cooked in a fryer shared with gluten-containing menu items), but the spreadsheet readily acknowledged this with a red asterisk and a clear explanation. Otherwise, the menu offered a wide range of tasty meals, including Bowl #8 - the Wahoo Bowl.

In short, I'll definitely return...both for the tasty food, and for the very positive GF dining experience I had while eating at Wahoo's.

- Pete

9 comments:

kalen said...

They're great, not just with gluten issues, but other food allergies as well. Cashiers have gone back to the kitchen to ask questions for me. It's nice to know there is "safe" fast food out there. Huge fan of Wahoo's.

Gluten Free Steve said...

This is good to know, as I gave up on Wahoo's a few years back when they weren't as knowledgeable about gluten free. I used to eat there often pre-celiac diagnosis, and tried a few times after but could never get a good answer on if things were gf/safe. I wish companies would publish this info on their website, to help us consumers and drive traffic to their stores. Good to know there are options at Wahoo's. Thanks for the review, Pete!

Kelly said...

This is great! Thanks! See you guys soon :-)

kelly said...

My husband and I are huge fans of Wahoo's! We have been gluten-free for years and it has always been easy to dine here. Lots of choices.

peterbronski said...

Hi Kalen... Glad to hear that Wahoo's is good with other food allergen issues as well!

Hey Steve... Yeah, I'd give Wahoo's another try if I were you (at least the Broomfield location). And very much agreed - it would be great if they posted the GF info on the main website. It's not quite the same to have to email corporate and receive a spreadsheet attachment.

Hey Kelly! Looking forward to seeing you soon (and munching on some coconut ice cream!).

Hi other Kelly... Glad to hear you've had such good experiences with Wahoo's! I'm feeling a craving for another Wahoo Bowl...

Cheers, Pete

Renee said...

Yum - I tried Wahoo's a long time ago, possibly pre-diagnosis and loved it! I will have to seek one out when I come up that way in March for a ski trip... Thanks for the info!

peterbronski said...

Hi Renee... If you need other restaurant recommendations when you're up skiing in the High Country, let me know!

Cheers, Pete

Suze said...

I ate at the one on Oahu recently. They were very nice and tried to make me a fish bowl of some kind, but it was very, very salty. Don't think I'll be eating there again soon.

Angela@mamarosemary.com said...

So excited to find your site. Thanks for this super helpful review! I know I will be back to visit!