Gluten-free is a big deal, it's in demand as more people become aware of the benefits of going gluten-free. The number of restaurants putting GF items on their menu is ever-growing and you're seeing a lot more GF products in the grocery stores.
I did a Best Pizza in the Wichita Metro Challenge a few years back, but it wasn't gluten-free. So using those same judging criteria and updating my Best Pizza in the Wichita Metro List (sadly, some of the restaurants noted in that Challenge have since gone out of business), here's the latest Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: Who makes the best gluten-free pizza in the Wichita Metro?
Cranking out a good GF pizza crust isn't easy. And finding out who makes the best one around is THE focus of this challenge.
On a Friday Night Date Night, I visited the Wichita Brewing Company with Jennifer. She had never eaten at WBC before, and based on my past experience, I talked up the pizza a bit.
I had high hopes for the WBC gluten-free pizza based on the pizza I enjoyed when visiting WBC during the Bachelor on the Cheap Best in the Wichita Metro Pizza Challenge a few years back. They finished at #11, just one spot shy of being a Top 10 Pizza Joint in that Challenge, here's the summary of that review:
Wichita Brewing Company ⭐⭐⭐⭐ My pizza was set in front of me in what seemed like just a matter of minutes and it was DELICIOUS! It was a concert of high-quality meats, set on a superb, thin, nicely seasoned crispy crust and what put it all over the top was that sauce! This was no typical red sauce and all the notes were spot on. This joint was ranked #10 until the last days of the challenge, getting bumped off the list by Marchello's, the 18th pizza joint sampled.
Jennifer and I are both fans of pepperoni and mushroom, so in placing our order we went with two pizzas, a traditional pepperoni and mushroom pizza, and for the purpose of a direct side-by-side comparison, a pepperoni and mushroom pizza on the WBC gluten-free crust.
The WBC gluten-free crust features roasted cauliflower, and combined with a wood-burning oven bake, I was looking forward to it. Kudos to Jennifer, she suggested the two pizza orders in a side-by-side comparison. Bonus: Leftover to take home!
As we waited for our pizzas, we enjoyed a few selections from the beer menu. We both had fun sampling a flight of 4 beers, WuShock Wheat, Tallgrass Raspberry Jam, Oztoberfest, Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat Oatmeal Cream Stout, along with a 16-ounce draft of Red Ale - American Amber. They were all enjoyable, with the exception of the Tallgrass Raspberry Jam, which neither of us cared to finish, it's got a vinegar-like finish. Of the lot, our favorite was the Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat Oatmeal Cream Stout, a really nice dark beer.
After enjoying some beer sampling, the pizzas arrived. According to the WBC website, all the pizzas are 12-inch pies. Not so with the gluten-free crust, it's a noticeably smaller pizza and is served up on a standard plate, rather than the WBC traditional wire rack and pizza dish. The GF crust costs an additional $4, and you get less pie.
In taking that first bite of the GF crust, it was noticeably under-baked. The outer edge was nicely done, but the rest of the GF crust needed more time in the oven, an indication that whoever was managing the oven on this night, didn't have a proper temperature. The traditional pepperoni and mushroom pizza suffered from the same fate and I think it got even less time in the oven than the GF pie, another under-baked crust. Both pizzas lacked that thin & crispy bite and that nice light char that you expect in a wood-fired oven bake. What we got was a bit 'doughy.' In the side-by-side comparison, the traditional pie was superior to the GF pie, but that's not saying much, neither pie had a generous portion of toppings, and neither pie had a good cheese pull (perhaps our pizzas sat a bit before being delivered to the table?). The pizza sauce also came off as a bit sweet, rather than a savory compliment to the crust, cheese, and toppings.
So after hyping up WBC pizza a bit before dining, Jennifer and I both came away with a disappointing pizza experience, doubly disappointing because the wood-burning oven bake notes just weren't there. The pizza on this occasion was flat-out not as good as what I've enjoyed in the past. And as far as that bonus of leftover pizza to take home I mentioned earlier? Jennifer and I were like,
Mike: "You can take the pizza home."
Jennifer: "No, you can take the pizza."
Mike: "Take the pizza, I insist"
Jennifer: "No, really, you can have the pizza."
The Wichita Brewing Company gluten-free pizza scored 44 out of a possible 63 points, earning 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars, the lowest score so far in this challenge. It's not a bad gluten-free crust, but it was under-baked and doesn't measure up to a traditional crust. There are better GF crusts and pizza prep out there. The WBC pizza sampled on this occasion is NOT worthy of a repeat buy, I'll take a pass on the GF version, and the traditional one. WBC pizza has gone downhill in my book.
Located at 535 N. Woodlawn St., Wichita, KS. 67208, the service was friendly, but not as attentive as it could have been. It was a steady busy Friday night, but not a slamming busy night and there was plenty of staff to handle the crowd.
$pend Wisely My Friends...