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Gluten-free pizzas around town

Review by Jenny Turknett

Review by Jenny Turknett

Pizza. It’s one of the items people switching to a gluten-free diet seem to miss most. Yet, it doesn’t have to be. Not anymore.

A host of local pizzerias now serve pizzas prepared on gluten-free crusts. Just recently, Domino’s Pizza also added a gluten-free pizza option to its menu, the first large-scale pizza chain to do so. The availability of these products signals a recognition of the needs of the expanding gluten-free community, whether it be those with gluten intolerance (celiac disease), sensitivity or those avoiding it out of general health concerns.

Not all gluten-free pizzas are appropriate, however, for everyone avoiding gluten. Individuals with celiac disease or high levels of sensitivity can only eat the crusts prepared in an environment free of gluten. Some restaurants go to great lengths to avoid cross contamination and are appropriate for those with celiac disease while some are better suited for those with lower levels of gluten sensitivity.

I sampled a number of gluten-free pizzas across the metro area. Here are a few to try:

BBQ Chicken- house cheese, seasoned chicken, green onions, cayenne-candied bacon and smokey BBQ sauce. (all photos by Becky Stein))

Blue Moon BBQ Chicken- house cheese, seasoned chicken, green onions, cayenne-candied bacon and smokey BBQ sauce. (photo by Becky Stein))

Blue Moon Pizza

Blue Moon Pizza co-owner Mandy Slater says the pizzeria began carrying gluten-free crusts two years ago after a regular customer educated them about gluten sensitivity. That customer frequently dined at Blue Moon and enjoyed the pizza so much that she ate it knowing that it would make her sick. Slater says that’s when she began researching gluten-free crusts that would complement the look, taste and texture of the restaurant’s traditional pizzas.

The 10 -inch gluten-free crusts ($3 upcharge) here are of the thin and crispy, cracker-like variety. Unlike the crusts on many such pizzas, the bread doesn’t become gummy underneath the toppings. My favorite part of this crust is the generous sprinkle of kosher salt and cracked black pepper on the rim. Try the classic pizza with Italian sausage, pepperoni, tri-colored peppers, red onion and mushrooms.

Blue Moon goes to great lengths to avoid cross contamination, making its pizza safe for those with celiac disease. Employees are trained to change gloves, shake off aprons and prepare the gluten-free pizzas on special trays. They go to the walk-in cooler to pull toppings from uncontaminated containers and use designated utensils. Slater says they take strict precautions with each gluten-free order. “We treat everyone like we are going to kill them with one grain of gluten,” she said.

Locations in Buckhead, Marietta, Sandy Springs and Smyrna.

Blue Moon Pizza- Classic on gluten free crust- house made pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni, italian sausage, red onions, mushrooms and bell peppers.

Blue Moon Classic on gluten free crust- house made pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni, italian sausage, red onions, mushrooms and bell peppers. (photo by Becky Stein)

Firestone Wood Fired Pizza and Grill

Woodstock has a little gem of a pizza place in Firestone. The 10 -inch gluten-free crusts (no upcharge) here are among the best I’ve tasted in Atlanta. Most gluten-free crusts have an ultra thin and crispy texture, a sturdy vehicle for toppings. Yet the bread is my favorite part of pizza (not the toppings), so I crave a gluten-free crust that satisfies my bread lust. Firestone’s got it.

While thin, the gluten-free crust at Firestone, made with rice flour, is soft and chewy with spots of char similar to a Neapolitan pizza crust. The pizzas cook in wood-burning ovens imported from Tuscany. They are prepared using designated cutting boards and metal trays, but the same toppings are used for both traditional and gluten-free pizzas.

My favorite here is the figs pizza, a sweet and salty concoction with sweet black mission figs, melty blue cheese, salty shavings of country ham and fresh arugula with a bite.

120 Chambers St., Woodstock. 678-837-6836.

Firestone's Fig pizza on gluten-free crust - dried black mission figs, country ham, arugula & blue cheese

Firestone's Fig pizza on gluten-free crust - dried black mission figs, country ham, arugula & blue cheese (photo by Becky Stein)

Mellow Mushroom

Mellow Mushroom’s gluten-free pizza crusts may be one of those love-it-or-hate-it items. The texture of these crusts are reminiscent of corn bread, with a cakelike consistency. The company spent over a year developing the recipe, which contains a combination of bean flour, rice flour, tapioca flour and starch.

Mellow Mushroom’s 12 -inch gluten-free crusts (no upcharge) are deemed safe for those with celiac disease. Neither the standard dough nor the gluten-free crusts are made in the stores, and all employees receive training on avoiding cross contamination. Cooks don new gloves and aprons before preparing gluten-free orders, which cook on a special screen and never touch the pizza stone.

Multiple locations across the metro Atlanta area.

Mellow Mushroom's crust

Mellow Mushroom's gluten-free crusts are reminiscent of cornbread, with a cake-like consistency.

Belly’s Pizza

Located in Roswell, Belly’s Pizza is a neighborhood spot that has offered gluten-free pizzas in addition to traditional ones for more than five years. The crunchy crusts of these 10 -inch pies ($10, plus $1.50 per topping) have that slightly sweet nuttiness common to gluten-free dough. Precautions such as new gloves, separate cooking surfaces and separate toppings are employed to avoid cross contamination. A number of the restaurant’s specialty pizzas can be made on the gluten-free crusts, but I’d recommend keeping it simple. Go for a classic pizza here to satisfy a need to nosh.

550 W. Crossville Road, Roswell. 770-594-8118.

Belly's Pizza

The crunchy crusts at Belly's Pizza have that slightly sweet nuttiness common to gluten-free dough.

Look for a follow-up to this piece tomorrow on the blog with information about some of the other gluten-free pizzas I sampled while writing this roundup.

30 comments Add your comment

Becky Boyd

June 14th, 2012
9:18 am

Belly’s has the best gluten-free pizzas on the planet. As you said the dough has a sweet nuttiness and doesn’t taste like cardboard, like some gluten-free pizzas do. I always get the Feta, Bacon, Spinach gluten-free combo. It is delicious!

A

June 14th, 2012
11:16 am

Mellow Mushroom is so overrated. Some of the worst pizza I’ve ever had. Did you try Z Pizza’s gluten-free crust?

Jenny Turknett

June 14th, 2012
1:05 pm

A, I did try Z Pizza. Look for it in the follow-up piece here on the blog tomorrow!

Gern Blanski

June 14th, 2012
3:07 pm

Jenny – did you go up the road from Belly and try Your Pie? In addition to Roswell, they have other locations around the SE and they have been very sensitive to the needs of those with celiac.

Jenny Turknett

June 14th, 2012
3:23 pm

Good question, Gern. Yes, I tried Your Pie, as well. Look for it tomorrow, too!

Daisy

June 14th, 2012
4:46 pm

Thanks, this is good information. I have had nothing but great experiences with Blue Moon and Mellow Mushroom, and I am very sensitive to gluten. I am not as fond of Mellow Mushroom’s crust (as you mention, it’s a bit different), but it is a good option to have when dining out with a group. Firestone’s crust sounds great, but I would have to ask a few questions before ordering since they use the same toppings for all pizzas.

Chrono

June 14th, 2012
4:47 pm

Have only had MM’s on this list, and it is passable. I hope Maddio’s is on your list of remaining places to try. I really like their gluten-free crust, and the staff is well-educated about it.

A

June 14th, 2012
4:55 pm

I hear an Uncle Maddio’s is opening on Windward Pkwy.

gfree chef

June 14th, 2012
5:29 pm

does anyone know if any of these crusts are CORN -FREE

Susan

June 14th, 2012
5:35 pm

Partner’s Pizza in Fayetteville is wonderful. They also sell other baked goods that are amazing too.

Barbara

June 14th, 2012
6:33 pm

We’re looking forward to seeing even more choices of gluten free pizza crust. We’ve only tried Seasons 5 at The Prado, which is really tasty and not prepared where the other pizzas are made.

Juli

June 14th, 2012
7:01 pm

A few more for folks in the NE suburbs – Pepperoni’s Pizza, Pepperoni’s Tavern, Z Pizza, Alessio’s, & 5 Seasons Brewery, and Verrazanno’s all have gf pizza.

Arthur

June 14th, 2012
7:27 pm

I gave up on mellow mushroom and all that. I started looking for recipes on http://www.whatglutenfree.com and making stuff myself. I don’t try to buy gluten free in kroger anymore, because they got only like 3 items :)

When it comes to gluten free – I shop at Publix. They got Gluten Free crust , so I just add toppings and it’s the best

ABC

June 14th, 2012
7:42 pm

Mellow Mushroom is really terrible. I don’t see how they stay in business with so many other really good pizzerias around Atlanta.

Jenny Turknett

June 14th, 2012
7:58 pm

A – yes, it looks like there are four additional locations planned in the metro area. Chrono, yes, Uncle Maddio’s is on the list for tomorrow, too!

KJ

June 14th, 2012
8:31 pm

Johnny’s Pizza also has a good gluten free pizza. Although, Blue Moon is the best I have had!

bb

June 14th, 2012
10:19 pm

Are there any pizza places that also offer cheese substitutes if you’re also lactose intolerant? Thanks

Jenny Turknett

June 15th, 2012
4:07 am

bb – yes. Blue Moon and Your Pie in Roswell offer dairy-free cheese. Other spots may, as well.

[...] piece is a follow-up to the gluten-free pizza roundup that appeared on the blog yesterday and in the print edition [...]

La

June 15th, 2012
6:17 am

@gfree chef- I’m a gluten-corn-soy-free vegan due to severe allergies, and I know zpizza is free from corn. I went onto the websites for a lot of the others mentioned in this article and in the comments before mine and many of them contain zantham gum which is most commonly derived from corn and gives people like me problems.

concerned mom

June 15th, 2012
8:13 am

Thank you SO much for this article! Yesterday was the day our 11 year old had to undergo a biopsy of his small intestine to confirm what the blood tests showed: celiac disease. This has turned our world upside down as all of a sudden, Smashburger is no longer an option. It means eating pizza in our favorite pizzeria (Tommy’s Taste of NY) is off limits. So many no’s to his list of treats is leaving us with huge holes to fill in order to be sure he doesn’t end up back at the children’s hospital where he spent three days recently. So many in our community suffer from celiac disease and we are keenly aware of the fact that this is a great time to be diagnosed, with all the offerings from commercial companies as well as small enterprises and certain restaurants. These were not on the table (no pun intended) 10 years ago. Very grateful for these types of articles! :-)

T

June 15th, 2012
8:35 am

Thanks for the great article. I hope to see more articles for gluten intolerants/celiac disease sufferers in the future.

Victoria

June 15th, 2012
9:25 am

What about Uncle Maddio’s pizza? They have several Atlanta locations, have not only gluten-free but vegan options, they source as many of their ingredients locally as possible, as well as get toppings delivered fresh every day.

For the price and convenience I think it’s some of the best pizza in Atlanta.

Jenny Turknett

June 15th, 2012
12:07 pm

Victoria, Uncle Maddio’s is included in today’s follow-up post.

[...] piece is a follow-up to the gluten-free pizza roundup that appeared on the blog yesterday and in the print edition [...]

[...] Gluten-free pizzas around town [...]

Paula @CeliacCorner

June 16th, 2012
12:13 pm

Careful readers … Domino’s pizza is unsafe for celiacs/gluten-intolerant due to the high risk of cross-contamination. Thanks for providing some other great choices for gluten-free pizza in the Atlanta area (though be certain to inquire about cross-contamination issues at every establishment)

concerned mom

June 16th, 2012
9:43 pm

I had read that about Domino’s – so disappointing! Thanks for alerting all about this.

Johnny

June 17th, 2012
12:30 am

Off we went to find Firestone Pizza using our GPS, which led us to 120 Chambers Drive not 120 Chambers Street in Woodstock. Turned out to be stroke of luck as we found a local place called Gondolier instead. It might be what we’ve been seeking for 4 years to replace our beloved PTC Partner’s. Yes, people in Waleska and the Canton area are willing to drive long distances to find a quality pizza place. There are none here. As for Firestone, if my Garman can’t find you, I sure can’t.

atlanticrealtyncobx

June 21st, 2012
8:43 am

different varieties of pizzas.. love them all thanks for posting