Three weary travelers stumble into a place called Wheat Penny looking for a gluten free meal.
Even after 11 hours on the road, the irony wasn’t lost on us either.
Why, you’re asking, were we even thinking we could get a gluten free meal at a place called Wheat Penny? Of course there’s a story.
Hubby and I, with our friend Joyce were at the end of our first day on the road, driving to Tampa, Florida from our home east of Toronto. The goal for day one of our three-day road trip was Dayton, Ohio.
A couple of hours before GPS’s estimated arrival time, I cracked open my Find Me Gluten Free app to see what Dayton had to offer. Dayton, Ohio it turns out is a hopping little city with what appeared on a single drive by to be an energetic downtown. The app had quite a few gluten free options so I scrolled past Wheat Penny a few times. Anything with the word wheat in it just makes me nervous. But after checking menus and reviews, I decided to give them a call. What did we do before mobile internet and cell phones?
The person on the phone sounded knowledgeable and assured me Wheat Penny could handle my gluten free needs. Their confidence gave me confidence, so the “where to eat” decision was made.
Parking was a bit of an issue, so Hubby dropped us ladies off at the door. He went to park the car, we got a seat at the bar. A nice cool glass of wine surrounded by friendly people in a bustling little Italian restaurant was exactly what we needed.
The décor is Italy meets middle America. Warm and cozy with lots of barn board and terra cotta with photos ranging from the Italian countryside to Freddie Mercury on stage.
The menu is mostly pizza and pasta with a quite few naturally gluten free entrees like the Crispy Brick Chicken Thighs (my choice) or you can have a grilled branzino or a pork chop. The Prime Dry Aged Ribeye looked amazing, but I was after something a bit lighter.
They offer a gluten free pizza crust, and the creative pizza choices take the Italian traditions and give them an interesting twist. The sauces are thickened with gluten free flour, and they offer a house made cashew ricotta and vegan cheese if you’re so inclined. Even the shoestring onions are dredged in gluten free flour.
On the pasta side of the menu, they have a house made gluten free rigatoni. The menu says it’s non-vegan so I’m guessing that means eggs. The eggplant parmesan is naturally gluten free and can be made with the cashew ricotta and dairy free mozzarella.
The service was great. Our server was helpful and understood completely when I explained that I have celiac. I asked her to double check that the gravy served with the brick chicken thighs was gluten free and it was.
My gluten free Crispy Brick Chicken Thigh meal was simple yet delicious and satisfying. I chose cauliflower mash and grilled broccolini for my sides. The best way I can describe it is home cooking. The chicken skin was crispy and delicious. The veggies were perfectly done, and the lightly thickened gravy elevated all the natural flavors of the food.
I wish I could report on my companions’ meals, but I was so
exhausted that I only remember my own.
They did say they enjoyed the food and that it was a good choice.
Do I recommend Wheat Penny Oven and Bar in Dayton Ohio for gluten free dining? Yes! I would definitely go there again and may make it a destination for the road home.