You'd think that from my past few posts that I eat a lot of pizza. I don't usually, it just so happens that we've had occasion to eat pizza lately. Usually if I'm going to have pizza, I prefer to make it at home with Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free pizza crust mix. I mix it in my bread machine and then refrigerate it over night and bake it up the next day. It turns out perfectly every time. Honest.
Well, there's a new pizza place in town, Boston's Restaurant and Sports Bar. Well, it's more than pizza, but they serve gluten free pizza served on the French Meadow gluten free pizza crust. Our gluten free support group is looking to have a pizza party sometime in January or February, and I thought I would check the place out.
Prior to going, I called their location and spoke with Hannah. She was very good about explaining the steps they take to prevent cross-contamination. They have dedicated pans to cook their pizza and they use dedicated utensils. They thoroughly wash their hands prior to prepping the pizza, plus put on new gloves. They also prepare the pizza in the freezer so that there is no extra free -floating flour in the air. I was pretty impressed and I felt to be a good chairperson, I needed to try this place out before suggesting (or not suggesting) this to my members. As of this posting it has been open just shy of one month.
When we arrived we were promptly greeted. The parking lot was very full, but this establishment has both a restaurant side and a bar side, plus outdoor seating. We did not have to wait long to be seated. We noticed that they had a very young and energetic staff. We were promptly greeted by Heather, our waitress, and she went to fill our drink orders while we perused the menu. I had already made a point of telling her that I was dining gluten free, and she went to double check which of the pizzas were not gluten free. (I noticed later that it was printed on the menu.)
We were fine in picking out our pizza that we wanted to share, but we also wanted to share a salad with our meal. At first our waitress did not think that they served any salad dressings that were gluten free. But I do want to commend her on this- she didn't know the exact answer, but she refused to assume and made sure to ASK the people in the back, plus sent a manager in my direction to answer any other questions I may have. A sincere round of applause for not being too proud to ask a question to insure my safety!
The training manager, Michelle, promptly came to answer my questions. As it turns out, they have a whole guide that they give to people when they have food allergies. (I failed to say anything when we walked in the door, or I'm sure the hostess would have given it to me.) I explained my concerns to Michelle (who is from their corporate office in Dallas, btw!) and she helped me look over the salad dressings.
I had a quick moment of panic as I looked at the salad we had just ordered and it said that it had wheat in it! Michelle assuaged my concerns stating that the allergens are listed for the complete dish as listed in the menu. The wheat is listed only because it comes with a side of pita bread, which we didn't order.
So after we our options were discussed, we put in our order for a Tuscan pizza and Mediterranean salad. Both have feta cheese and sundried tomatoes. I LOVE feta cheese!
It didn't take to long to get our order, and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. I had a chance to talk to Michelle again and we had a great conversation about their desire to expand their gluten free offerings, and I offered the names of some companies that they may want to add (like Udi's!) I gave her my business card and told her to feel free to get in touch with me if she had any questions. Plus later I had a chance to talk to another member of the upper management in Dallas, Kevin, and was again THOROUGHLY impressed with their dedication to customer service. They are taking extra care to provide additional staff training at this location because they want to make sure they offer the best and safest dining experience for those with and without food allergies.
I do feel that I need to state that I had a stomach ache later that night after leaving the restaurant. For full disclosure, I started to get a massive headache before going to the restaurant, and I've been taking a lot of ibuprofen lately for my sprained ankle, so I can't say for certain whether the stomach ache was related to what I ate or not. (Totally guessing it has nothing to do with the pizza, because the same stomach pains reoccurred days after eating there. Once I stopped taking so much ibuprofen, the pain stopped.) I'm willing to give it another try at a later date, mainly because their processes to prevent cross contamination are INCREDIBLY thorough.
So kudos to Boston's for making a great effort to try to help those dining gluten free. If you live in the greater Flint area, our next support group meeting is September 15th, 2013 in Clio, MI. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Labels: restaurant review