Transfer Pizzeria & Café, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Restaurant: Transfer Pizzeria & Café, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Eating out can be tricky. When food allergies come into play, well…there is a lot of guess work that goes on. So, when I go out of town and have to find places to eat, I’m pretty strict about where I choose. Coming up to Milwaukee, I had a great Italian restaurant picked out that had gluten-free pizza and pasta options. And then my roommate pointed out it was sort of a big, heap, fancy kind of a place that would require dressing up…and really, what runner wants to strap on a pair of heels the night before the race just to carb up? Not me.
So…dining the night before the Rock ‘n Sole Quarter Marathon was up in the air to the very evening before we left. And that’s when my roomie, using my favorite Web site/app available ever (Find Me Gluten Free), discovered the place we ended up dining. It was a great little pizzeria/café called Transfer Pizzeria & Café on W. Mitchell St. in Milwaukee. Let me tell you…this was one epic find.
On the outside, it doesn’t look like much. In fact, we almost missed it when we drove past. Thank goodness for the neon sign above the front door. We parked and made our way over to the restaurant, where we were greeted very warmly and shown to a table near the window. The inside was nothing like I imagined. Very bohemian. Very rustic. With a café/bar in the center, the kitchen behind it, and a dining area all around, with booths and tables. It isn’t a large space, but it was very nice.
We were handed menus and told our waiter, Mischa, would be with us shortly. And he was. Wearing an epic Dark Side of the Moon t-shirt, featuring the Death Star with the prism lights from the Pink Floyd cover art. Yeah…we had to comment on how much we loved his shirt. Anyway, we informed him that I am medically gluten-free and he said, “Ah, medically…you mean not one of these fad diets?” It made me laugh. And he was very helpful in telling me that all the toppings for their pizza are gluten-free. He went to fetch Cathy some Diet Coke while I stuck with water for hydration purposes.
Gluten-Free note on the menu at Transfer Pizzeria & Café in Milwaukee, Wisonsin. Vasyl is the chef who hand makes the rice flour crust.
Left with the menu, we quickly glanced over the veggie pizza options and settled on a few to pick from. When he returned he asked if we had any questions and then volunteered to share some of his favorites and suggestions. Oddly enough, he was a big fan of the ones we had been eyeing. And with that recommendation, we placed our order.
Now…something rare happened at Transfer that doesn’t happen very often when I go out to eat…specifically at a pizza/pasta joint. First of all…I was not limited to a salad. YES!! Second of all…I was not just left to pizza. No, my friends. This went beyond what any other restaurant has done for the gluten-free pizza. At Transfer, I could have appetizers…and…wait for it…dessert!
So, already I was doing a happy dance of foodie joy. And we went ahead and placed an order to split the Gluten-Free Bruschetta as an appetizer (which was only a $2.00 upcharge). Then, we would split a small Gluten-Free Da Vinci Pizza (small pizza only, with a $2.00 upcharge). He went to put the order in and we happily discussed our upcoming meal and how much we already loved the atmosphere of the place.
Transfer Pizzeria & Café’s Gluten-Free Bruschetta
The Gluten-Free Bruschetta ($8.00) arrived in short order. Mischa kindly explained to us that all gluten-free products were brought out on red plates…completely dedicated to gluten-free foods. Sweet! On the plate was 10 halves of gluten-free toast that had been rubbed with garlic cloves. In a bowl, large chunks of tomato, fresh basil, and olive oil were ready for us to dish it up onto our toast. And that’s what we did.
The tomatoes were incredibly ripe and full of flavor. The large chunks were not unwieldy, but rather very refreshing, without taking away from the flavor provided by the fresh basil and the taste of the amazing olive oil. Yeah…it was good. I think we might have hoovered the appetizer. But, honestly, it’s been ages since I’ve been able to eat the bread at a restaurant. The bread had a nice toast to it, without being too hard. It was still soft and chewy, but held up the tomato chunks without a problem. I was in love…with an appetizer. Who knew tomatoes, basil, olive oil and gluten-free bread could be the most amazing thing ever? Well, when you usually have to watch everyone eat the bread…it makes a hell of a difference.
The gluten-free pizza was up next. It was tough to decide between the different varieties of veggie pizzas being offered. But I think we made a fantastic choice. The Gluten-Free Da Vinci Pizza ($14.00) consists of a gluten-free crust topped with tomato sauce and pesto sauce. It is then topped off with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, and shaved asiago cheese. I was quite excited about the pizza toppings. Cathy was a little nervous about the pesto…but her trepidation was soon put to rest once the pizza arrived.
It looked amazing. Honestly. This pizza really looked amazing. I mean, you can’t go wrong with cheese and tomatoes, right? Heck, no!! And the thin gluten-free crust was browned to a crunchy perfection. It’s made at the restaurant too. Not something that is pre-packaged. The chef makes a homemade gluten-free crust from rice flour. There is a special oven specifically for gluten-free. And utensils to take it in and out of the oven that are dedicated as gluten-free.
And how did it taste?
Transfer Pizzeria & Café’s Gluten-Free Da Vinci Pizza
AMAZING! The blend of tomato sauce and basil pesto was fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. They married together so well. The chunks of tomato were, again, fresh. Not slices…chunks. Love that. They were so ripe and packed with flavor. I absolutely loved it. The blend of three different cheeses (mozzarella, feta, and asiago) was fantastic. I love cheese as much as the next person…and this was…so amazing. SO AMAZING! Creamy. Sweet. Just melt-in-your-mouth fantastic. This might just be the best gluten-free pizza…or pizza in general…I have ever eaten. EVER!!
Oh…I was so full on pizza and bruschetta…but gluten-free dessert was mentioned. Yes. Dessert. And we’re not talking about just a bowl of ice cream. Nope. I actually got to have dessert. For real. I was told their gluten-free options were a brownie or a cupcake. I am definitely a brownie girl. And, let me tell you, I was brought an amazing Gluten-Free Brownie ($5.00). Rich. Decadent. Drizzled with chocolate. Amazing. I took one bite and I was sold. It was so rich. It was like biting into dream. Seriously. This brownie was soft and just…so good! Good isn’t even the word that best describes it. It was sinfully decadently delicious. Yeah…I was one happy gluten-free girl.
Stuffed to the max, I walked out of Transfer Pizzeria & Café with a three-course meal under my belt. That never happens anywhere these days. Not only was I full, but I was impressed. The atmosphere, the food, the people…I felt right at home there. And I was taken very good care of. Everything was safely prepared and kept high standards. I felt good to go into a restaurant where the staff was so knowledgeable about gluten-free items, made sure safety precautions were taken with the food, and served up something amazing with each dish that came out.
Color me impressed. No…color me jealous that this place is located in Milwaukee and not where I live.
Gluten-free is no problem at Transfer Pizzeria & Café. They not only know how to safely prepare food, they even host a gluten-free night, every Monday, called “Defeat the Wheat” where they offer no upcharge on gluten-free items on the menu and give a 2 for 1 special on bottles of Lakefront Brewery New Grist gluten-free beer. Gotta love that.
And I do. I’m in love with this restaurant. Well, I guess I found yet another reason to return to the Milwaukee area. And the sooner…the better!
Transfer Pizzeria & Café’s Gluten-Free Brownie