A strip mall called East Commercial Plaza in Oakland Park is the new home of Weezie’s Gluten-Free Kitchen, having outgrown the original one a few blocks away.
The place is cheery, with bare-bones decor: a stained glass window, shelves with knickknacks, a chess set, a communal table in front and a small counter in back.
Cakes, tarts, pies and cheesecake slices greet you in a glass case when you enter. Weezie’s specializes in gluten-free waffles and pancakes for breakfast, and pizza, sandwiches, burgers and quiche for lunch (dinner twice a week will be added once the place gets its liquor license).
Chef-owner Louise “Weezie” Dutton grew up in Hollywood and put herself through school on the west coast of Florida, baking for a French bistro starting at 3 a.m., then going to psychology classes. She went to Bellingham, Washington, and became a stock-market day trader and had an art gallery.
When a friend in South Florida needed heart surgery, Dutton came home and started working for a mega yacht company, doing events. But she was always feeling sick. Dutton discovered she has gluten intolerance, so she changed her diet and now feels fine.
She met her husband, Chris, online through a mutual love of motorcycle riding. Chris works the front of the house while Dutton cooks and bakes using a flour blend of brown and white rice flour with tapioca starch, potato starch, salt and yeast, which took a year to develop. The quiche crust and cakes have eggs and butter added.
The duo started selling at farmers markets, where they sold out fast so they saw a demand and opened the first place. The new one opened last summer.
Start the day with a pumpkin doughnut, a cinnamon roll or a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, sausage, sautéed vegetables and cheese. Sandwiches include apple chicken salad with apricot, celery and pecans in light mayo on the basic bread; tuna salad made with wild, pole-caught Atlantic tuna; and a Reuben on mock rye.
Burgers are made with grass-fed beef on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, pickle and tortilla chips, and all can be made with ground turkey. The Love Is Blue burger adds blue cheese, while the Sweet Love burger is topped with caramelized onions. The French onion pizza uses those same low-and-slow-cooked onions with mozzarella, provolone and gruyere that tastes like the soup.
There’s a Cuban quesadilla with smoked pork, ham, Swiss and pickles. Quiche includes broccoli and cheddar; mushroom and spinach; and Lorraine sold whole and by the slice.
Weezie’s has carrot cake and German chocolate cake, but the must-try is the banoffe (banana and toffee tart) with whipped cream and caramel. Whether you are on a gluten-free diet or not, this is good food made with love, not wheat.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami-based food writer.