This piece is a follow-up to the gluten-free pizza roundup that appeared on the blog yesterday and in the print edition today.
Last month while my family was on vacation, a friend stopped by our home each day to care for both our pets and our garden. When we returned home, I opened the refrigerator to find the squash and zucchini she’d harvested in our absence. What I saw was a shocking sight — one that I realized, to my shame, my friend had seen while at our house. Pizza boxes were wedged in awkward positions jockeying for space in our full-to-bursting refrigerator. They were the remains of the many, many gluten-free pizzas I’d tasted while researching Atlanta’s offerings (and ones I’d neglected to toss before heading off for sandy shores).
While I was only able to include four gluten-free pizzas in my original roundup, I thought I would share some of the others I sampled.
This fast-casual pizza cousin to Moe’s Southwest Grill offers a tasty gluten-free pizza ($2 upcharge). Here, the crispy 10-inch crust with a toasty richness is made from a mixture of potato, rice and tapioca flours. Employees prepare the pizzas in front of you, donning new gloves and gathering special pans and utensils. They do, however, pull from the same topping stock as they would for traditional pizzas.
Locations in Toco Hills, Cumberland and Woodstock with four additional Atlanta-area locations in development (Buckhead, Kennesaw, Alpharetta, Dunwoody).
Your Pie, located in Roswell, serves a 10-inch gluten-free pizza ($2 upcharge). The crusts here, made of rice flour, tapioca flour and potato
starch, have little flavor. They are thin, like most gluten-free crusts, but the area under the toppings becomes soggy and gummy in the cooking process. The rim has a nice crispiness and a faint olive oil flavor. No matter what I thought of the crusts here, my seven-year-old loved Your Pie and has been begging to go back ever since. Now, whether that’s for the love of the pizza or the gelato that comes with kids’ meals, I can’t be sure.
Your Pie’s website states that there could be trace amounts of flour in the toppings since they “work in a flour environment.” The manager of the Roswell location says that they make gluten-free pizzas in a separate area with new gloves and separate toppings.
Your Pie in Roswell is one of nine Georgia locations, but the only one in the metro area. 625 W. Crossville Road, Roswell. 770-993-7944.
5 Seasons offers a gluten-free crust for its handful of pizzas on the menu. It’s also one of the few places in Atlanta that prepares its own gluten-free crust from scratch. Most places cite fear of cross-contamination when working with wet doughs as the reason for purchasing pre-made gluten-free crusts. At 5 Seasons, there is no upcharge for these 10-11-inch hand-rolled crusts, the restaurant just asks for an additional five-to-ten minutes to prepare it to order.
The crust here is quite different than the traditional cracker-style gluten free crust in hue, color and texture. The dough is made is made from rice flour, buckwheat and molasses, giving it an almost purple tint akin to blue corn tortilla chips. In fact, the texture is somewhat gritty (though not in an unpleasant way), similar to a cornmeal batter.
It seems that 5 Seasons takes 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.
Locations in West Midtown, Sandy Springs and Alpharetta.
According to the owner of the Alpharetta location of Z Pizza, another fast-casual pizza joint, gluten-free pizza orders make up about 60% of
this pizzeria’s business. Z Pizza is also the only place I came across that serves two sizes of gluten-free pizzas (10-inch $2 upcharge, 14-inch $3 upcharge). The crusts are made from a standard mixture of rice and tapioca flour. I found them to be slightly more chewy than crispy, a touch gummy and decidedly sweet.
To avoid cross contamination, Z Pizza uses fresh gloves, separate cooking pans and designated cutters. Yet, they do pull from the same topping containers when dressing the pizzas.
Locations in Alpharetta and Johns Creek.
Daniel Bridges, managing partner at Buckhead Pizza Co., says that many of the restaurant’s guests praise it for having “the best gluten-free pizza in Atlanta.” Buckhead Pizza Co. outsources the gluten-free crust making to a small bakery in Chicago, which prepares them according to the pizza company’s own rice-flour-based recipe.
In the store, the slightly buttery and crispy gluten-free pizzas ($2 upcharge) are prepared by employees trained to wash their hands and arms up to their elbows, change their gloves and use a separate stock of toppings stored in closed containers. The restaurant also repurposes the gluten-free dough (as does Blue Moon Pizza) to create gluten-free bread to accompany appetizer dips and spreads.
Locations in Buckhead, Cobb Galleria, Buford and Cumming.
The 11-inch gluten-free pizzas ($2 upcharge) at Little Azio come in their own tin trays. These trays and designated cutters are used to prevent
cross contamination. Yet, the pizzas are assembled with the same toppings as the traditional pies. The crusts have very little flavor and are undercooked and doughy beneath the toppings while the edges have a nice crunch. I confess I peeled off the toppings, which were very fresh, and pinched off the crispy rim, leaving most of the pale bread behind.
Locations in Norcross, Vinings, East Atlanta, Midtown and Berkeley Heights.
Did I miss any delicious gluten-free pizza spots? I’ve heard Vingenzo’s and DaVinci’s have gluten-free pizzas, but I didn’t get to them. Anyone tried those?
–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog