It was bound to happen. With gluten free diets being necessary for some and growing in popularity for others, it was only a matter of time before someone opened a completely gluten free restaurant in Louisville. That day came last week when The Silly Axe Cafe opened its doors at 2216 Dundee Rd, which was most recently home to Diorio’s Pizza.  The store features a deli counter and a grab and go section that features pre-made items people can take home or heat up in the available microwave. 

Chef Angela Pike said she had some gluten related health scares and decided to dedicate her career to helping the gluten free population. Beyond that, the facility is lactose free and nut free. If you’re scratching your head at the restaurant name, it is a witty spin on the disease name Celiacs, which is primarily a gluten intolerance.

Right now, she’s there every minute it is open, and 100 percent of her recipes are made from scratch. So she knows every thing that goes in. So if there are any questions, she or her educated staff are happy to answer them and do what they can to accommodate other sensitivities. They do use soy and lactose free dairy in the restaurant, but customers can ask for items to be made specially.

“We had a customer with a dairy allergy that would vomit if there was even any slight cross contamination, but they wanted a ham sandwich,” said Chef Pike. “I let them know we have dairy in the facility, but they were okay with my offer to get fresh meat out and cut it on a completely clean cutting board instead of the meat and cheese slicer.” 

The menu presents a variety of options for various diets: meat, vegan and vegetarian options for “build-your-own” sandwiches and quesadillas that change daily like bacon chicken ranch with house ranch or roasted sweet potato and poblano with smoked paprika aioli (yum!). They have about five house sandwiches to choose from, but she hopes for that to grow to 10. A sandwich special last week boasted a meatball hoagie with melted gouda and giardinera.

Wait – breads without gluten? Yes. The hoagie is made by local allergen free bakery Annie Mays Sweet Cafe, and Chef Pike orders rye, whole grain, and Hawaiian sandwich breads from Canyon House bakery in Colorado. 

Soups change every day  and also feature vegan or meat like vegan coconut curried butternut squash and Kentucky Burgoo with house smoked lamb, brisket and chicken. Other delicacies have included baba ghanoush with house smoked eggplants and smoked wings with BBQ ranch dipping sauce. Side items like potato wedges or desserts like banana pudding are also available.

The grab and go counter also features chicken wings plus items like stuffed peppers, Italian meatballs in marinara or bahn mi meatballs, chicken wings, and breakfast burritos. Many items are while they last and some are available by the pound. She smoked 40 pounds of wings Saturday morning and they ran out that afternoon. 

There are even options for the popular Keto diet like pizza stuffed peppers (pizza toppas in green or red bell peppers) in the grab and go counter. If you want a Keto friendly sandwich, they will do a hollowed out cucumber hoagie or a lettuce wrap.

The cafe will also be scheduling pop-up dinners that have a flat rate ticket price, and each will have a different themes and menu. For example, they recently hosted a gluten free fried chicken dinner. Fifteen minutes before it began, there was a line down the block. Future themes might be Cinco De Mayo or a four course meal – all considering the dietary restrictions.  The best way to find out about these pop up dinners are on their social media for now until their web site and email list are available.

Limited hours are Monday (grab and go only) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday from 11 am to 7 p.m.; and Friday/Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Expanded hours are on the way soon.