Good news! A colleague recently shared with me that The Loop now carries Gluten-Free pizza crusts, so I visited in January 2015 to try them out. This is a re-post of an earlier review, now with GF pizzas added.
Where: The Loop Pizza Grill, The Shops at Eastgate, 1800 East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, not far from the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There is also a location near Duke University in Durham. Visit their website for other locations in NC, Georgia, and Florida.
GF Menu: Yes. Ask to see the Gluten Free menu when you place your order.
What I ate: One of the Loop’s new Salad Specials, topped with Cajun-style Fish Fillet. On another visit (January 2015), I ordered a Gluten-Free pizza with half Mediterranean and half Sausage & Goat Cheese toppings.
How to order it: When ordering a salad, speak to the server about your GF salad dressing options and ask them to leave off the croutons.
If you plan to add a meat topping to your salad, check the GF Menu to confirm that the seasonings used on the meats are indeed gluten-free. According to the Loop’s Allergen menu from April 2010, the Cajun-style mix used on the fish was gluten-free.
The Loop carries Udi’s Gluten-Free Thin & Crispy pizza crusts. When ordering a pizza, be sure to ask whether the toppings are gluten-free.
When I asked whether the pizzas were prepared on their own pans, the manager assured me they were. He went on to explain that the kitchen staff members at The Loop have participated in a gluten-free training program. While these pizzas are not cooked in designated ovens (separate from the regular pizzas), they do have their own pans, and precautions are made to avoid cross-contamination of ingredients. This is similar to the preparation of gluten-free pizzas offered at Brixx Wood Fired Pizza.
What it looks like:
Get excited. “Over a salad?”, you may ask. Yes! This particular salad deserves a shout-out. A warm Cajun-style white fish fillet topped a bed of cool romaine greens with goat cheese, cranberries, mandarin oranges, red onions, and walnuts. The crisp greens, fruits, and nuts emerged with their own distinct flavors through the impossibly light vinaigrette.
This tasty GF pizza was half Mediterranean (feta, spinach, kalamata olives, artichoke, and fresh basil) and half Sausage & Goat Cheese with sun-dried tomatoes.
It arrived on a designated GF metal pan.
This crust was crispy, and almost cracker-like, with a hint of rice-y sweetness to it, therefore combining it with salty ingredients like feta and kalamata olives is recommended.
Green Note: The Loop provides an easy-going dining experience set in an upscale, but not fancy, environment. They use washable plates, cups, and utensils, and there are very few disposable items. Also, the Loop had a sign posted that encourages their customers to “Buy Local.”