Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Rockhill & Roll

When legendary Cherry Hill mainstay (and definitely-not-gluten-free) Big John's Steaks and Pizza closed its doors in 2012 after more than 30 years, local foodies were curious to see what would replace the once-popular shop. Nearly two years later, the answer is here.

Rockhill (1800 Rt. 70 E., 856-424-4455) is the concept of Andrew Welder, a Cherry Hill native whose family has long run a sandwich shop in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Welder had the Big John's building torn down and created a sleek, handsome structure in its place. He kept Big John's staples like pizza and cheesesteaks but modernized the menu, developing many celiac-friendly options.

A recent weekday lunch there saw a mostly full house, ranging from local business types to moms with young children. A friend and I started our meal with an appetizing order of seasoned buckwheat-breaded onion rings - yep, gluten-free onion rings. (Only gluten-free items go in the fryer, so all fried finger foods - which also include cheese bites, waffle fries, tots and wings - are fine.) We followed that up with a couple of nicely done burgers sandwiched on Udi's buns, plated with freshly fried potato chips.

Other gluten-free items include chili, salads (omit croutons from Caesar and farro from Super Salad), all veggies and grains except for farro, all burgers, cheesesteaks, hot sandwiches and hoagies. Gluten-free orders are prepared separately. Welder is holding off on offering gluten-free pizza until he can implement a protocol that eliminates the potential for cross contamination. Though the ice cream for milkshakes is gluten free, several mix-ins contain gluten and the kitchen doesn't maintain a dedicated spindle. (UPDATE 12/2/14: Rockhill tweeted that it now has a dedicated spindle for gluten-free shakes.)

Despite some quibbles - prices are on the high side for downscale food (though there's no upcharge for gluten-free bread) and for the moment all gluten-free sandwiches, even cheesesteaks, are served on burger buns - Rockhill is nonetheless worth a visit for its selection of hard-to-find gluten-free options.
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