I had heard rumblings for awhile about the gluten-free pizza at Pudgy's Pizza, but I had never made the trip to 168th & Harrison. (It isn't exactly in my neck of the woods.) But then I saw the spot on KETV about the place and I determined that I was long overdue for a visit......so I made the trip last night. Pudgy's is an unpretentious pizzeria in a strip mall on 168th & Harrison. This pizzeria emphasizes great food and a friendly atmosphere. First, I must mention that the owner, Phil Cerra is adorable and makes everyone in his place feel warm and welcome. He greets customers as if they are already a friend and he does so with a charming gusto. His enthusiasm is genuinely infectious. I must also admit that I admire Phil's tenacity in recognizing the fact that there is a need in Omaha for quality gluten-free offerings in restaurants here. A customer came in one day and asked about gluten-free pizza......and not only did Phil start offering it, he made a point of learning about celiac disease and the complications of cross-contamination. Now this would be an opportune time to suggest that more restaurant owners in Omaha take a page from Phil's book..............I'm just saying..........celiac numbers are growing at a very fast pace, and we are a group of consumers who will spend our money where we feel we are being given a fair shake and a variety of choices.
But let's get to the actual pizza. Phil offers Chicago style pizza, thin crust pizza and gluten-free pizza. My daughter ordered a small Chicago style pizza and it looked audaciously delicious. I think you could have served a small family that pizza but of course you can also take the leftovers home with you. My daughter concurred that the pizza was indeed as good and fulfilling as it looked! Now for my gluten-free pizza. I happen to be a big fan of thin crust pizza and as luck would have it the gluten-free pizza is a thin crust pizza. I ordered the 12" "the works" pizza and it did not disappoint. The crust was crisp and chewy, but not the least bit tough. (I must mention that these crusts are not frozen as in other pizzerias, these crusts are freshly made!) I am a bit of a crust snob when it comes to pizza, and this thoroughly satisfied me. It tasted like "regular" pizza! The toppings were just right and the sauce did not overpower the pie. In short, it was a gastronomical experience that I have not had since my diagnosis! They also offer gluten-free breadsticks, gluten-free cheese bread and gluten-free beer. Now think about that concept for a moment.........you can go to a pizzeria with friends and or family and enjoy pizza and beer with them at the same restaurant!! What a concept! This experience had me smiling from ear to ear and I know I will be back there soon to sample more of Phil's delightful menu.........no matter that he is not in my neighborhood........I will make the trip and you should as well as soon as you can get there! One more thing.........Phil jokingly told me that his wife hates it when celiac people eat his pizza and then want to hug him..........but alas, I could not resist, once my dinner was over and I had my take-out box well in hand, I found Phil and gave him a huge hug of thanks and appreciation..........my apologies to your wife Phil.......... but what a guy and what a pizza!!