Thursday, August 4, 2016

I found it: gluten-free deep dish pizza

For six years, I've been craving deep dish pizza. Pizza places have a hard enough time making decent thin-crust gluten-free pies, so I understand why even the best deep dish Chicago-style restaurants can't make deep dish gluten free.

But I learned of one Chicago restaurant that does make deep dish gluten-free pizza, and I was determined to get there and try it.

And boy, was I glad I did. It was fantastic.

The restaurant is the easy to remember Chicago's Pizza, which actually has three locations on the Northside.

I went there late in the afternoon on my way to a night game at Wrigley Field, which turned out to be fortuitous timing because they offer a "Baby" stuffed pizza from 11 to 4, and I got there a little before 4. I was ready to order a regular small pizza which I would have been unlikely to finish but I was able to order the Baby pizza.

But first things first. When the hostess sat me, she asked if I was gluten free (what, is written on my forehead?) and then said something about bread, which I took to mean she would have brought out bread if I wasn't.

Then to my big surprise after I had ordered my pizza, she came back with a small plate with a hot slice of gluten-free bread on it! I wasn't expecting that at all, and it was very good.

As I waited for my pizza, I enjoyed Prairie Path beer on draft, which is a gluten removed beer. I know the jury is still out on whether these beers are completely safe but I feel comfortable ordering them in a restaurant. There is also the issue I've dealt with before about making sure a beer coming out of the tap is in fact the gluten-free one and the wait staff doesn't make a mistake, but the Chicago's Pizza staff seemed so attuned to gluten-free needs that I didn't worry. I get the impression they get a lot of gluten-free customers, which is why the hostess asked me if I was gluten free.

Then my stuffed gluten-free sausage pizza came. It was wonderful. I would have a hard time imagining people eating regular stuffed pizza could tell the difference. It was that good.

Stuffed gluten-free pizza and then drinking gluten-free beer at a Cubs game (they sell Redbridge) there). What could be a better evening?

I should also mention on my second night in Chicago, I decided to give Pizzeria Uno a shot. If you're not familiar with it, this is the original Chicago restaurant which spawned the nationwide Uno Pizzeria & Grill chain.

I visited the Orlando Uno's restaurant a while back and thought its gluten-free pizza was pretty awful, which was a major disappointment. But the original Pizzeria Uno  is different than the chain so I figured I'd give it a shot.

I knew there wouldn't be deep dish gluten-free pizza available but all the other iconic Chicago deep dish places do offer a thin-crust gluten-free pizza. But when I walked in and asked the hostess, she said no, they don't have gluten-free pizza. I couldn't believe it.

So, Uno's in all its forms is now permanently off my list.

But it doesn't matter. I have a new favorite place: Chicago's Pizza. I can't wait to get back for more.

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