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Gluten-free fryers ‘a big win’ at the Hop Hog in Greenville

Hop Hog Gluten Free Fryer pic 1.jpg
Hop Hog Gluten Free Fryer pic 2.jpg
Posted at 8:00 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 20:44:27-04

GREENVILLE, Mich. — The Hop Hog Backyard Brewpub had a rough first year and almost didn’t make it, said General Manager David Harvey. All the shutdowns and restrictions made it hard to stay afloat.

He said, “It was scary times.”

However, during spring break in late March they were busy, he said. One of their most popular items, not found on the menu, may have helped: their gluten-free fryers.

“Initially we went to one gluten-friendly fryer and it was kind of difficult to execute just from an operational perspective,” Harvey said during an interview with FOX 17 on April 4. “So, I said, 'Let’s just do two. Let’s make life easier.'”

So, they did. The Hop Hog has been using two gluten-free fryers, and they're located in their own area in the kitchen to prevent any cross contamination.

“We have tater tots. Our french fries are gluten-free as well. Our Brussels sprouts, we fry those. And then sweet potatoes fries,” Harvey said. “So, our core four biggest sides that we sell all became gluten friendly.”

There’s signs posted above the fryers to remind the cooks and staff about what foods to fry in them. And, they have other foods on the menu that are naturally gluten-free: chicken, brisket, pulled pork, etc.

“Again, a big win for anyone that really doesn’t have the opportunity to eat out at much as they might like,” he said. 

They thought about purchasing and installing gluten-free fryers months ago, he said. In mid-March, they posted about it on social media to get the public’s take.

Since then, the post has gone viral.

“The response has been amazing honestly,” Harvey said. “We just put out a simple post on Facebook and something like 27,000 people viewed it and I couldn’t even tell you how many comments, and I responded to just about every single comment that I could.”

A gluten intolerance or celiac disease can cause extreme gut and stomach problems. According to the National Institute of Health, an estimated two million people in the U.S. have the disease and many aren’t diagnosed.

So, having the fryers at Hop Hog gives their patrons who suffer from these illnesses the option to dine safely, he said.

“A lot of people don’t have the opportunity to go out and eat anymore because they discover that they have Celiac or just gluten intolerance as well,” Harvey said. “So, it’s been nice to provide people an opportunity and that’s what we do and love anyway. We love giving people the opportunity to enjoy something special.”

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