The worst thing that can happen to celiacs when we go out to dinner is to find out our food has been contaminated with gluten. The second-worst is to find out that the restaurant doesn't have its gluten-free specialty available.
Last night, I went to the new BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse, which I've been touting as another venue we can go to for gluten-free pizza and beer. I had been there once before the first week it was open and they didn't have Redbridge beer. Disappointing, but I can handle that. I've had that same experience at Mellow Mushroom, which offers Bard's beer but has been out on several ocassions. I can eat pizza without beer when necessary.
But last night was ridiculous. BJ's was out of gluten-free pizza crusts, so they had no pizza available!
I was informed of this by the manager about 10 minutes or so after I ordered. He was very nice about it and said I could order any other entree on the house. But BJ's gluten-free menu is pretty limited without pizza. Beyond salads, it's basically a choice between steak and salmon. So I got a free steak.
That's fine, but it doesn't make up for not having pizza available. If I really, really had my heart set on pizza last night (I didn't, but often times I do), I would have been furious. And I should point out they apologized for not informing me they were out of gluten-free crusts when I placed my order. So I got the impression that if I was told there was no gluten-free pizza when I ordered, I wouldn't have received a free substitute. It would have been a completely awful experience.
I generally won't go to a restaurant if I don't know in advance what gluten-free menu options are available. I'm not smart enough about food to have discussions with the chef on how to prepare a certain item gluten free. So I choose my restaurants carefully.
The bottom line is, if you really want to go out for gluten-free pizza and beer, BJ's is not the place to go.