Restaurant: Monical’s Pizza, Fishers, Indiana
Okay…granted, Monical’s Pizza is actually a chain. A very small chain consisting of over 60 restaurants that are mainly in the Wisconsin/Illinois/Indiana region. But…I had never heard of them and they aren’t in my area. Thus…this chain will be getting a blog.
This past weekend, I was up in Indianapolis to attend the Gluten-Free Living Now Expo. It was a great event with lots of vendors, samples, information, and way too much gluten-free goodness for my wallet to handle. I showed up hungry and took bits and bites here and there. But when all was said and done, and I had covered much every inch of the expo space…I was now ready for lunch.
The original plan had been to go to Uno’s and try their gluten-free pizza. However, aside from already being in Carmel, Indiana, and the other place we wanted to go was where we were, driving South for pizza just seemed…ridiculous. Only because we’d have to drive North again to hit up our ice cream place (aka: the other place). So, after some searching on Find Me Gluten-Free, my roommate found a place called Monical’s Pizza. And…the gluten-free option on their menu is a simple 10″ pizza.
We drove from the expo to the Monical’s Pizza in Fishers, Indiana and were promptly seated with fun activity place mats and the menu. Obviously as I am completely gluten-free…pizza was on our mind. My roommate and I had gone back and forth on what we wanted on the pizza. Originally we thought onions and mushrooms. But upon sitting down, she said the Margherita Pizza sounded good. I told her just to pick one, as I just wanted gluten-free pizza. So, when our waitress returned with the water we ordered as our drink, Cathy took the initiative and ordered Monical’s Gluten-Free Margherita Pizza.
With our order in, we sat around and talked. I actually did some of the activities on the menu. And a little bit later…our pizza was arriving. I did love that it actually took some time to arrive. When I order, I don’t want my food to immediately show up on my table. I don’t want to even think about my food being prepared ahead of time. I want my food made when I order it and fresh when it hits my table.
The thin-crust gluten-free pizza arrived and it looked really amazing. The Margerhita Pizza was a nice version of a white pizza here. The crust was brushed with olive oil and then topped with mozzarella cheese, tomato slices, minced garlic, and Parmesan. It is actually one of my favorite pizzas out there. While this one looked really good, and for the most part tasted very good…I found the gluten-free crust to be a huge disappointment.
Call my a cynic if you will, but since the inception of this blog as a gluten-free blog…pizza has been one of my passions. And while at first the simple, pre-packaged, not made at the pizzeria crusts wowed me, they don’t anymore. I have had one too many amazing gluten-free pizza crusts. Some, like those at the Mellow Mushroom, exceed every pizza crust I have ever had while eating out. Why? Because it feels, tastes, and looks like a real pizza. None of this cracker-thin-crust stuff.
But, at Monical’s Pizza, the thin crust is the standard. It wasn’t bad. The crust didn’t lose its crispness. Nor was it tasteless or grow soggy with the toppings. In fact…the crust wasn’t bad. Not at all. It just wasn’t something that blew me away. And trust me…when it comes to gluten-free pizza, the crust needs to shine. It is what sets it apart. It is the very foundation of the gluten-free pizza. A meh crust will yield a meh pizza which in turn yields a meh response from the gluten-free customer.
Monical’s delivers a solid, good gluten-free crust. It reminded me a lot of Puccini’s Smiling Teeth. Which is…good. Just not great. I love that the option is there…and I am very glad I can go into someplace like this and have the staff take proper care with my food preparation so as I won’t become ill from eating there…but…I love being able to rave about my food.
The toppings on this pizza were executed perfectly. Honestly. The cheese, tomato, garlic, olive oil combination is one of my all-time favorites and I found their toppings to be really good. But the gluten-free crust needs some work. Again, it wasn’t that it was bad, it’s just that I have had better. Much better.
Would I go back to Monical’s for pizza? Sure. I mean, the gluten-free option is there and the pizza was good. Honestly. I just have grown to expect more from gluten-free pizza. This is what happens when you start to get spoiled by restaurants who really know how to safely prepare a gluten-free crust in-house. I’ve had many slices of gluten-free pizza and this one…was rather forgettable when all was said and done, and the pizza completely consumed.
All-in-all…a very good pizza…a lack-luster crust. But…let’s not bite the hand that feeds us, right? I appreciate the gluten-free option and wish more places would take the care and time to offer such things on their menus.