I had the pleasure of visiting Biaggi's Italian Restaurant this week for lunch. I've heard from numerous readers about Biaggi's and all the great experiences folks have had there. Until now, I've just never had the opportunity to get to that part of Cary. Biaggi's is a 22 restaurant chain which began in Bloomington, IL in the late 90s. The Cary location is the only one in NC. The chain strives to make the majority of menu items fresh onsite each day.
As always, I did a little research online at Biaggis.com and was pleased to find their rather extensive Gluten Free menu. This GF menu features a big list of appetizers, salads, pasta dishes and entrees. I was really impressed as the menu seemed really well thought out to provide GF diners with a vast selection. I got a little concerned though about all the grilled items on the menu. Usually, when I see grilled on a GF menu it makes my red flag alert go up as the potential for cross-contact can be extensive on a shared grill. I decided to proceed to the restaurant to inquire further - I could always get another non-grilled item on the list.
Upon entering the restaurant, I spoke with the person at the hostess station. I informed her I was Gluten Free and she gave me the Gluten Free menu mentioned above. I inquired about the grilled options and how that could usually cause some concern. She informed me that Biaggi's entire grill is Gluten Free. No Gluten containing ingredients ever touch the grill and this major change allows for Biaggi's to offer much more GF options on their menu. I also asked her about the pasta choices. I asked if their pasta was either a different color or shape than all the other wheat pastas as to help everyone involved (including me) verify the pasta actually was GF. She went to the back and asked the chef about this and returned with the GF pasta now should be green (spinach). She told me to make sure if I ordered pasta it was indeed spaghetti shaped and green.
Upon ordering, I mentioned to the waiter that I would be ordering off the Gluten Free menu. He said to just relax because they serve multiple GF customers on a daily basis and have a full understanding of the ingredients and cross-contact issues in the kitchen. I felt pretty darn comfortable - one of the most comfortable times eating out since May 2008. I was actually able to sit and talk with the people I was out to lunch with and just relax and wait for my food like everyone else. My extreme urge to ask the waiter 101 questions, to speak directly with the chef, to inspect the kitchen personally was pretty much gone.
I placed my order - Chicken Piemontese. How can you not order this "Grilled chicken breast stuffed with imported Italian ham and smoked provolone and Gouda cheeses. Topped with a lemon-basil butter sauce and served with sautéed asparagus and roasted herb potatoes." YUM. I was actually torn between this and several other menu items. This is the first time I can claim that this has happened since going GF.
The food itself was excellent. I really enjoyed my entire meal, felt totally normal while eating and completely cleaned my plate. I sorta had the thought in the back of my head that this was really too good to be true. The next part is the true barometer. I usually wait about 24 hours and see if any symptoms occur. For me, it's headaches and flare ups of my DH. It's been a few days and I'm extremely happy to report that neither of these side effects have occurred. I'm pretty excited to add Biaggi's to my list of restaurants that really do understand what Gluten Free means - both ingredients and cross-contact.
Information Biaggi's Italian Restaurant Preston Walk 1060 Darrington Drive Cary, NC 27513
Web site - Biaggis.com Phone - 919.468.7229 Hours - Mon - Thurs 1130am - 930pm, Fri - Sat 1130am - 1030pm, Sun 1130am - 9pm