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
- olive oil
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.
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.
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!
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:
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,
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.