Mini-Review: Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint- The Highlands, Louisville, Kentucky

Pizza.  Something I guarantee every food allergy “civilian” family takes for granted.  Taking the whole family out for a night of pie, or better yet, ordering in.  This is a totally foreign concept in our house!  Most of the time, we do one of the following things:

  • Go out to a pizza place and take along homemade gluten/egg/peanut/tree nut free pizza for our son.
  • On our way to a pizza place and stop by Annie May’s Sweet Cafe for a few slices of gluten/egg/peanut/tree nut free pizza for our son.  We love this option, but Annie May’s only does pizza on Saturdays, so while it’s an option and we love having it, it’s only one day a week.
  • Order pizza in and have homemade pizza for the boy.
  • Order pizza in AFTER the kids are in bed. :)
  • Make homemade pizza.

We’ve now added another option to our pizza predicament!  A few weeks ago I heard about Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint in the Highlands Neighborhood, Louisville, Kentucky and that they had a gluten-free crust.  I was immediately skeptical, though, because 99.9% of the times that I’ve looked at gluten free pizza, the crust has had one or more of our other offending allergens in it!

Until now!  Check out this list of ingredients: per comments on this location’s Facebook page

  • rice flour
  • tapioca flour
  • potato flour
  • water
  • olive oil
  • sugar
  • yeast
  • salt

Yeah.  I can’t argue with that too much!

On a whim, we decided to visit early on a Saturday night, which turned out to be a good time to go.  I didn’t go prepared with my whole arsenal of questions, but I thought I’d just give you an idea of how our visit turned out and then you can take that information and make phone calls or whatever and decide if this particular restaurant is a good option for your food allergy needs.

Is this MY gluten/egg/peanut/tree nut free pizza?!?!

Our son was able to enjoy a 9″ personal sized pepperoni pizza, which comes with 3 toppings, but he’s 4…he just wants the pepperoni!  The crust is super thin and nice and crispy on the edges.  The rest of the family tried their traditional crust (also available in whole wheat) with pepperoni and sausage.  Both pizzas were topped with Uncle Maddio’s own marinara and lots of mozzarella cheese.  You order your pizza just like you would order a sandwich at Subway, so you can see them making it before it goes into the oven.  They ring you up, give you a number and you seat yourself until they bring out your fresh, hot pizza, right to your table.

They also have salads available.  We tried the house salad with cheese and an Italian dressing that was pretty good.

House Salad with Cheddar Cheese and Italian Dressing

The gluten free crust was VERY good.  I am a huge fan of thin crust pizza, so I would probably get this next time and maybe order a smaller traditional crust for my daughter and husband to share.  I honestly don’t know that I would be able to tell that it was gluten free.  The regular crust was pretty good too, but I think the thinner crust got crispier, so I liked it better.

Was it the best pizza I’ve ever had?  No.  I’m a pizza snob from St. Louis and I have a special place in my heart for a cracker-thin pizza crust covered in gooey, creamy Provel cheese.  And they don’t have that anywhere but STL!

Was it a great place to go to take the WHOLE family AND get pizza for EVERYONE, all at once place?  YES!!!!  And we will definitely be back!  They have a ton of options for their pizzas and I love the idea of trying individual pizzas that everyone can get what THEY want!

Uncle Maddio's Gluten Free Pizza Crust with Pepperoni and Mozzarella

There are a few things you need to think about before heading to Uncle Maddio’s if you have food allergy concerns.  As I’ve said before, we are wheat free and we don’t have as many cross contamination issues as others, so please note the following (also, see UPDATE below from Aaron of Uncle Maddio’s):

  • The pizza crusts are pre-spread onto the pans and then covered in foil, so they are not just sitting out in the open.  I don’t know if the GF crusts are made in house or brought in from a more national level.
  • They offer 20 gluten free toppings, but all of the toppings are in containers, “Subway style”, so there is a risk of a piece of cheese falling into the olive container and vice versa.  The toppings are not segregated, except for the individual containers they are held in.
  • There are pesto sauces available for the pizzas, as well as what appeared to be almonds and walnuts in the salad making area.  We were OK with the pizzas, but chose not to allow our son to eat the salad because of this.  He didn’t really care…he just wanted pizza!
  • They offer Daiya cheese as an alternative to dairy cheese.
  • The workers wore gloves while they prepared the pizzas, but I did not see if they changed them for each order, mostly because I was wrestling my 2 year old at the time!  The guy that put our salad together did put on fresh gloves.
  • The spoon that is in the marinara is used to ladle AND spread the sauce on the pizzas, and it did not appear that there were different containers for regular and gluten free.

I listed all of these things not to point a huge finger, but to just let you know what I observed.  If you have questions about specific procedures or employee training, I would definitely make a call or go in and speak with a manager.  This just gives you an idea of whether or not this is a good place for you.  Those with moderate allergies to items served here should use caution and ask a ton of questions.  If you are looking at severe food allergies, have Celiac or are severely gluten intolerant, I would be hesitant to recommend Uncle Maddio’s to you.

That said, we had a great time and really enjoyed eating pizza as a family.  Uncle Maddio’s is definitely a place we are adding to our restaurant rotation!  My only other issue is that we need one on the Sunny Side of Louisville, in Southern Indiana!!!

UPDATE:  I was able to get a few of my questions answered by Aaron from Uncle Maddio’s.  Here’s what he had to say about some of the concerns I stated above:

Jessica,
Thanks for the write up on our store!  I’m glad you enjoyed your
visit and we look forward to seeing you back soon.  I wanted to
answer some of the concerns that you pointed out.  The gluten free crust is not made in house.  Gluten free needs to be made in a controlled enviornment.  When we make a gluten free pizza, we change our gloves.  We have a seperate container and laddle for the Tomato Basil sauce and when the pie comes out of the oven, we then use a seperate pizza peel, tongs, and cutter to handle the gluten free crust.   As for the regular glove use, we change them frequently but not on every pizza made.  Hopefully this will answer the concerns you pointed out for you and your readers!  Please feel free to contact me anytime at the email address provided should you have any further questions.  Thanks,

Aaron Simpson

UPDATE #2- As of 8/1/2012, Uncle Maddio’s is now offering a 6-inch gluten free crust with their kid’s meal.  You can read their press release here.

I was not paid to endorse or review Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint.  We paid for our own meal and these are simply my observations and experience with the restaurant.  Specific questions not addressed here should be directed to your local shop.

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10 Responses to Mini-Review: Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint- The Highlands, Louisville, Kentucky

  1. Mary Ellen says:

    Now I am craving some STL Stefanina’s pizza!!

  2. What a great, comprehensive review, Jessica! I’m sure anyone in your area will really appreciate it!

    Hugs,
    Shirley

  3. Aaron Simpson says:

    Jessica,
    Thanks for the write up on our store! I’m glad you enjoyed your visit and we look forward to seeing you back soon. I wanted to answer some of the concerns that you pointed out. The gluten free crust is not made in house. Gluten free needs to be made in a controlled enviornment. When we make a gluten free pizza, we change our gloves. We have a seperate container and laddle for the Tomato Basil sauce and when the pie comes out of the oven, we then use a seperate pizza peel, tongs, and cutter to handle the gluten free crust. As for the regular glove use, we change them frequently but not on every pizza made. Hopefully this will answer the concerns you pointed out for you and your readers! Please feel free to contact me anytime at the email address provided should you have any further questions. Thanks,

    Aaron Simpson

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks for the quick reply, Aaron! I will definitely insert your comments in the post. I can’t tell you how awesome it was to have everyone enjoy AND be so excited about something like pizza! Now if you could just bring one to New Albany or Clarksville…. :)

  4. Lori says:

    We recently went to Uncle Maddios as well. I called before we went (actually i called twice) and had gone through all the usual questions. I was pretty shocked that we could all eat there. When we ordered the girls were good enough to put on fresh gloves per my asking and they pulled ingredients from under the counter for me, I asked for that as well. I’m assuming the toppings are cut with separate utensils and on fresh cutting boards, but I’m not sure. We can not eat any of the sauces they have available but did not have any other problems when we ate. Even without sauce the kids loved it and it was so refreshing to actually be able to go out somewhere and eat. The fact that they had Daiya cheese totally blew me away. We will for sure be back. If there was a location in Hikes Point we’d probably go everyday :)

  5. Pingback: More Gluten Free Options From Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint | Allergic To Air

  6. Nicky says:

    I just found your blog and LOVE it. We ate at Uncle Maddio’s for the first time tonight and it was an AMAZING thing to be able to eat out with my family. We have: one FA child with dairy and egg allergies; another with dairy, soy, and wheat allergies; a daddy with a gluten allergy. Eating out is just not an option for us. It brought tears to my eyes to be eating out like a regular family!! The staff was super nice and very respectful with our needs. I cannot say enough good things about Uncle Maddio’s!! While the pizza was not the best I’ve ever tasted, it was indeed delicious! And talk about affordable-our family of five had pizza, one salad for all of is to share, sodas, and one beer-all for $55! Visit your Uncle Maddio’s today-we plan to make it our new Sunday night dinner place!!

  7. Fi says:

    IMOs FTW!!

    in other news..

    I ate at Uncle Maddio’s for the first time today, and I was impressed. However, it is impossible to track down nutrition information which I find highly suspect (and unfortunate) for a restaurant claiming to be a healthy alternative. I couldn’t even find a phone number for their corporate office to call and ask myself.

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