Urban Coalhouse Pizza | Hoboken

Urban Coalhouse of Hoboken cooks up a modern take on the traditional pizza pie. It is one of my favorite spots in town and I have been a very frequent customer. Most of the restaurant has garage doors for walls that open up  to the outside which is great in the summer. Thanks to the large bar area and many TVs, that sports bar vibe is dominant while still offering a nice full service sit down dining. It is as good a date spot as it is a place to watch Sunday Football. Great mix.

They offer a few gluten free items on the menu, including pizza, wings and many sides. Wings are NEVER gluten free at other restaurants so this is a huge plus. Urban Coalhouse is usually very careful with gluten allergies, but not always. They have a separate prep area with a separate pizza cutter. Even though the gf pizzas have their own trays, all food items are cooked in a common coal burning oven so cross contamination can happen. What level of safety you have eating here typically comes down to how good your server handled everything. I’ve had a mix of good and bad servers here.

Food (8.9)

I typically order the gluten free wings and the cauliflower pizza which is pictured below. I mean seriously, how could anyone not order wings at a restaurant when they are gluten free (and not fried)? I just can’t stay away from them here and order them almost every time I dine in or order out. The cauliflower pizza is also fantastic. Mozzarella that isn’t overwhelming but adds the perfect amount of cheesiness paired with crispy coal fired cauliflower and a spicy green olive oil. It is truly mouthwatering.

Service (4.8)

Urban Coalhouse doesn’t train their servers well regarding allergies, in my experience. Some of the servers are good and understand immediately how careful the cooks need to be with food. Those servers will do everything to help. But some of them just brush it off and don’t put any care into communicating with the kitchen and overseeing the prep. It is a shame because the kitchen is setup to handle cross contamination as best as it can while still having a common oven. But without a good server to relay the importance of being careful or even overseeing the food prep themselves, the chance for cross contamination is much higher then it should be.

In my twenty plus visits to Urban Coalhouse in Hoboken; I’ve been glutened maybe twice and have gotten the wrong gluten filled pizza on a few other occasions. Again, this is a shame because the kitchen is setup to take on your special order but there NEEDS to be communication between your server and kitchen cooks along with server oversight. If there isn’t, the kitchen might forget to use the dedicated gf pizza cutter or not keep your pizza separate. They may even accidentally serve your wings with bread if the kitchen doesn’t know you have an allergy.

You may be asking yourself why I even bother giving this place a chance if it is such a hit or miss gluten free experience? My answer is that it is nearby and the food is really good. Sometimes I’m with a big group of people and can’t dictate where we eat. Being social and convenient while gluten free is never easy but sometimes I must bite the bullet.

Menu (8.0)

The menu is decent in terms of gluten free offerings. Especially for a pizza place. The fact that they offer gluten free wings is a massive plus. They don’t deep fry their wings like most places (which is why these gems are so hard to come by) but instead they roast them in their coal fired oven on its’ own plate. Love this! They also offer a gluten free pizza crust which is some pre-frozen crust. Honestly, it is one of the better ones I’ve had, especially when paired with Urban’s delicious ingredients. There are a few sides and appetizers too that can be done gluten free. See the menu for yourself below.

Did I Get Sick (YES and NO)

As I mentioned above, it depends on the server you get. The kitchen is setup to handle gluten allergies in a way that minimizes cross contamination, despite using a shared oven. I’ve had many many more positive and safe experiences here then I have had bad sickening experiences. That proves it isn’t just luck of the draw, especially since the common denominator for me getting sick here has been bad/non-communicative service. Eat here with caution but don’t avoid entirely. Just make sure you aggressively communicate your allergy severity with the server and question the cooking practices so everyone is on the same page. When you get your food, make sure you question them again. If you have a Nima device, definitely bring it for extra assurances.

This may seem like a hassle and stop you from coming here, which is totally understandable especially if you don’t live nearby. But for me, it is too convenient of a restaurant to rule out all the time so these are the steps I must take that typically works for me. Some servers are great and you don’t need to be as assertive or paranoid.

Overall (7.0)

A 7.0 seems high for a place that I’ve gotten sick at twice and wrong orders a few other times. I must admit, if I only came here once, didn’t live a block away and had a bad experience then I would have given this place closer to a 5. I have had a safe and positive experience many many more times though. So admittedly, with my vast experience here, there is some bias in this review. I hope you understand my dilemma though. My friends love this place, it is nearby, and the kitchen is setup to handle gluten free allergies so sometimes it is the best option for me and my friends to dine somewhere in town. The food is outstanding here after all but your experience and safety just heavily depends on the server you get.