A review in the San Antonio Express News contained an ad for BJ's Restaurant which included a box with a note featuring their gluten-free pizza. Today, my wife Sue and I went to the restaurant to try the pizza. Since there are BJ's Restaurants in numerous states, I was concerned that the ad might have been generic and that BJ's at the Rim might not yet have the gluten-free choices.
When I asked the waiter about the availability of the pizza, he asked if I would like to see a gluten-free menu. The gluten-free menu is included with their list of menu items showing a rather complete list of food allergens. The gluten-free menu is relatively limited compared to their general menu; however, it offers sufficient choices to afford some variety for repeated visits. Among the items offered are their delicious Tomato Bisque Soup, a selection of salads, stuffed giant baked potatoes, pizza, and steak.
When the waiter learned that I would be ordering from the gluten-free menu, he said that the manager would be out to talk about my meal. Shortly thereafter, a Senior Manager came to our table and assured me that the pizza which I ordered would be prepared in an area away from the other food preparation area and that the cook would change to a clean apron and clean gloves in order to assure that there was no cross contamination. When the pizza was prepared, he personally brought it to the table rather than the waiter.
In driving by BJ's I had noticed that they were very busy from the first day they opened. It is a very popular restaurant. I told the manager that I realized that people with gluten intolerance were a relatively small percentage of the population, it took a lot of extra effort by restaurants to accommodate our needs, and I appreciated those efforts very much. He assured me that BJ's was eager to make sure that our needs were met and that our dining experience was a pleasant one. For a high-volume restaurant to go to these extra efforts indicates to me their eagerness to accommodate the needs of their gluten-intolerant customers.
This review was written by an Alamo Celiac member in July, 2010.