There are a number of local pizza places offering gluten-free pizza these days, but who manufacturers their crust, how do they make it, and is it free of cross contamination? These questions prompted me to write an article that answers just those questions.
In my opinion, the way to separate out the multitude of pizza places offering gluten-free pizza is by their safe handling procedures, or lack thereof. A number of pizza places use the same ingredients in the same area to prepare pizzas, which is a problem because it leaves them open to cross contact with gloved hands that have put ingredients on wheat-based pizzas and sauce ladles that have touched wheat-based pizzas and then gone back into the pot.
I have covered all of the places that I know of who are offering gluten-free pizza, with the exception of Cameli’s Gourmet Pizza Joint, Da Vinci’s Pizzeria and Pizzeria Venti, who I have heard offer gluten-free pizza. I was unable to get in touch with them after several attempts, so I will sure to update the article with more details as they become available.
Gluten-free pizzas prepared using shared ingredients:
- Domino’s – we don’t know who’s crust they use as they won’t disclose the company name. I can tell you they use shared ingredients in a share environment and they tell you it isn’t safe for celiacs, or anyone else who wants to avoid cross contact with gluten.
- Johnny’s NY Style Pizza – is serving Rich’s 10.5″ gluten-free crusts and the crust is GFCO certified, comes in its own pan, is cooked in this pan and then cut with a dedicated cutter. The pizzas are not prepared with separate ingredients or in a separate preparation area. They make their wheat-based crusts onsite and use flour when rolling them out, so there is a high possibility of gluten in the facility.
- Osteria 832 Pizza and Pasta – uses Domata’s gluten-free crust to make their gluten-free pizzas. They prepare them on the same surface and bake it in the same oven where we prepare their gluten pizzas, so they do not guarantee that the pizza will be gluten free. They do use corn meal to dust the work service and oven peels instead of flour. They also offer rice pasta as an alternative to our wheat pastas and it is cooked in separate pans and utensils from pastas containing gluten.
- Pepperoni’s – uses Venice Bakery’s vegan/gluten-free crust and they are cooked on dedicated pans in their conveyor pizza oven. Staff changes gloves and uses dedicated utensils when preparing.
- Uncle Maddio’s – offers Venice Bakery’s pre-made vegan/gluten-free crust. They use dedicated pans and a cutter, but they use the same ingredients to prepare all of their pizzas.
- zpizza – uses Venice Bakery’s vegan/gluten-free crust to prepare their gluten-free pizzas. They have completed the NFCA’s Gluten Free Restaurant Awareness Training Program, which means they have verified their gluten-free ingredients and they have been trained on how to properly prevent cross contamination.
Gluten-free pizzas prepared with dedicated ingredients:
- 5 Season’s Brewing Company – make homemade 11″ gluten-free pizza crust using yeast, organic buckwheat flour, rice flour, corn flour, corn meal, honey, and molasses. According to Jenny Turknett, they take great care to avoid cross contamination. When a gluten-free pizza is ordered, employees clear the butcher station, where no flour is used, to use as the prep space. The person working the salad station, who does not work with flour, prepares the pizza. And, finally, it is cooked at the saute station, again to reduce the likelihood of cross contamination. There is no up charge for this gluten-free pizza.
- Belly’s Pizza – offer 10″ pies ($10, plus $1.50 per topping) made using Venice Bakery’s crust. Precautions they take to avoid cross contamination are: new gloves, separate cooking surfaces and separate toppings.
- Blue Moon Pizza – offers gluten-free pizzas on a 10″ gluten-free crust. What I like about this place is they take cross contamination very seriously, so pizzas are prepared in the walk-in cooler using separate toppings and utensils. Employees are trained to change gloves, shake off aprons and prepare the gluten-free pizzas on special trays. The Buckhead location stocks Daiya cheese, but feel free to bring in your favorite dairy/lactose/casein free cheese and they will gladly use it to make your pizza. There is a three dollar up charge.
- Buckhead Pizza Company – offers gluten-free pizza on Domata’s gluten-free crust. According to Sean Kelly, the owner, their pizza is prepared with special attention to prevent cross contamination. The crusts come in their own aluminum baking pan and they are prepared in a dedicated area using specially labeled utensils and ingredients. There is a two dollar up charge.
- Chuck E. Cheese’s – is offering Conte’s Pasta gluten-free pre-made pizzas that are GFCO certified. The pizza arrives at Chuck E. Cheese’s kitchens frozen and in a sealed bag. The pizza is designed to be cooked in the sealed bag, so it goes from freezer to oven and to table all while remaining sealed. The pizza is then delivered to the table with a disposable pizza cutter, which says gluten free, ready to be cut and served. This pizza is still being test marketed in Minnesota, so it is not available locally just yet.
- Firestone Wood Fired Pizza & Grill – uses a gluten-free crust called Smart Flower Foods, which is dairy and soy free as well. They prepare the pie on a separate surface from other pizzas so not to cross contaminate and they use separate utensils and ingredients during preparation. There is no up charge.
- Mellow Mushroom – is using a 12″ custom crust made by Still Riding Pizza. According to Charles Perkins, GM of the Dunwoody Mellow Mushroom, they have a separate area where they keep the gluten-free ingredients (all items are prepped as gluten free) and utensils. They change gloves and aprons before they prepare the pizzas. They are cooked in a separate area of the oven that has been swept clean and kept apart from other pies. When pulling the pizza out of the oven, they have a dedicated peel (used to pull the pizzas out of the oven) just for the gluten-free pies, and then it is taken back to the area in the kitchen that is kept free and clear of all contaminants to be cut with a dedicated pizza cutter. There is no up charge.
- Vingenzo’s – makes homemade 12″ gluten-free pizza crusts and pasta using potato flour, rice flour, and cornstarch. The crust is prepared with separate ingredients, in a dedicated area, using separate ingredients, and is baked in a separate oven using dedicated pans and utensils. There is a one dollar up charge.
- Your Pie – uses French Meadow Bakery’s crust (contains eggs, and soy), dedicated ingredients, and a separate area to prepare the gluten-free pizzas. They also offer Daiya cheese for those who are lactose intolerant. Make sure to tell them you want it made in a dedicated area, so they will make it right alongside the wheat-based pizzas. There is a two dollar up charge.
I wish some of these restaurants would go that extra mile and establish safe handling procedures to make gluten-free pizza safe for those who need it the most. Maybe this article will prompt them to reach out to national organizations that offer gluten-free restaurant protocol training.
Remember, nine times out of 10 the person with the food restrictions is the one who chooses where to go out to eat. We bring a lot of people with us who just might come back again, and again, and again.
Where is your favorite place in Atlanta to enjoy a gluten-free pizza?