Although many restaurants in Louisville offer gluten-free options, they still may not be an option for some with celiac disease.
“I can’t even go to a pizza restaurant and sit down because there is so much flour in the air,” said the personal chef Angela Pike, who was diagnosed with celiac disease about a year ago.
The autoimmune disease can lay dormant in the body and start to show symptoms at any time. Breathing in flour particles in the air, she said, can leave her sick.
The diagnosis made working as a personal chef difficult. People without celiac disease naturally don’t think twice about touching a piece of bread and then touching the refrigerator door handle and other surfaces, not in the way one would with raw meat.
“Right now, I have to wipe down every surface” at customers’ homes to ensure there’s no accidental cross-contact with gluten, Pike said.
The diagnosis also is leading Pike to open a completely gluten-free and allergen-free restaurant.
“We plan on working with all allergies,” she said. “We don’t want to leave anyone out.”
The restaurant named The Silly Axe Cafe — a play on celiac — will ironically open in a former pizzeria, DiOrio’s Pizza and Pub, at 2216 Dundee Road in Douglass Loop. Pike hopes to open in early April.
Pike isn’t sure how many seats the restaurant will have, though it will have a dozen at the bar and tables spread throughout. She has already hired two full-time employees and plans to add one more full-time and two part-time workers.
The Silly Axe Cafe will be a deli with different specialty sandwiches with house-made toppings and sauces, daily soup offerings and two daily quesadillas. The restaurant will order its bread and baked good from gluten-free bakery Annie May’s Sweet Cafe.
The menu items won’t include gluten, nuts or lactose and will have some vegan and vegetarian options.
The Silly Axe Cafe will have a liquor license and taps serving ciders, a gluten-free beer from local brewery Apocalypse Brew Works, Kombucha and house-made, lactose-free chocolate milk.
While the restaurant will offer regular lunch service, the evenings will be a mix of pop-up dinners, cooking classes and regular dinner service, Pike told Insider. People will also be able to rent the space for events and parties.
Customers will come to The Silly Axe Cafe, Pike said, because they are interested in gluten-free and allergen-free options, but “they are going to come back just because it’s good.”