Gluten-free pizza photo courtesy of Domino’s Pizza

More restaurants are coming forward and offering gluten-free pizza!  It sounds great, until I call and ask for more information about it.  Let’s just say they aren’t telling me what I want to hear.

Wednesday night I called two places near my home to inquire about their gluten-free pizza I heard they now had on the menu:  Broadway Pizza and Chanticlear Pizza in Blaine, MN.  Both phone calls were met with disappointment.

When I called, I asked for folks knowledgeable with the preparation of the gluten-free pizza.  When I began asking my questions, I was told in both cases, they have a gluten-free crust, but they use the same sauce and the same ingredients. This is a HUGE NO NO if you are making gluten-free pizza for a truly gluten-free customer.  I was so bummed about their uneducated answers that I didn’t go any further (like do they use the same pizza cutter?  cutting board?)  Broadway told me their prep area was also the same.  I didn’t ask that question to Chanticlear.

I explained to both companies that anyone who needs to eat gluten free (like my daughter with celiac disease) shouldn’t be eating their pizza.  The rep from Broadway pizza basically told me “Yep, you’re right, your daughter shouldn’t eat the pizza.”  At least the Chanticlear rep threw me a bone saying “I’m sorry”.  I got the feeling they were completely uneducated about how to do gluten-free right.

What is wrong with this picture?  This is the same issue that happened last year (although much more highly-publicized) to Domino’s Pizza.  They developed a so-called “gluten-free” pizza.  But have this disclaimer on their website, “Domino’s® DOES NOT recommend this pizza for customers with celiac disease”.

Wednesday night I saw a hash tag from Gluten Free Mike on Twitter that read #iamnotafad.   He tweeted “My burger tonight was sans bun and fries out of necessity because #iamnotafad. #celiacawareness #glutenfree #celiac”  I am feeling the same way about these pizza places.  And it’s not just these two.  This is happening all over the country.  People with celiac disease and gluten intolerances are NOT a fad. I wish more restaurants respected that.

An article published last summer on did a good job explaining to restaurants the footwork they need to do BEFORE launching into the gluten-free arena — including– UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE!   Plus, it recommends being prepared to answer common questions like “How do you prevent cross contamination?”  The Gluten Intolerance Group and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness both have programs to help teach restaurant employees how to work a safe gluten-free menu into your kitchen!  GIG has a Chef to Plate program going on this month so you can try food from educated restaurants and raise awareness at the same time!

I am only hoping that just by asking my questions and  expressing my concerns, the aforementioned restaurants will learn that they need to change their ways or soon a gluten-free customer will get VERY sick– that is if someone hasn’t done so already.

Gluten-Free pizza ordering tips:  

  • Ask about the prep area, is it separate from the rest of the food?  Yes, it should be!
  • Do they share utensils?  They shouldn’t be
  • Which ingredients are gluten free?  Some may not be gluten free to begin with…
  • Do they share ingredients like the sauce? Double dipping is not okay between gluten free and gluteny!
  • Do they use the same oven in which to bake the pizzas?  It is likely they do.  Find out any additional precautions they take in the oven and whether that is a risk you want to take.
  • Do they serve on a different tray or platter to alert the server which item is gluten free?

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6 Responses to “Some Restaurant Gluten-Free Pizza isn’t Quite Gluten Free”

  1. Pizza Luce is the exact opposite of these two pizza places! They went through the celiac training, all staff are knowledgeable, they use a separate kitchen space, pizza is cooked in it’s own container in the over and they are very careful with cross contamination! I’ve never gotten sick eating there! And the pizza is delish!

  2. Exactly Jessica. We try to go there when we are in the area of one. The North Metro doesn’t have one. But if anyone is ever in the Twin Cities, look up Pizza Luce. They GET IT!

  3. That’s a great hashtag; thanks for sharing. I’m sure I’ll be using that one. 🙂 And thanks for the tips on pizza ordering!

  4. Unfortunately I found that out the hard way

  5. In chanticlears defense, their in store menu states “our pizza is NOT made in a gluten free environment! A pizza made on our gluten free crust should be considered reduced gluten and should not be consumed bu those with celiac disease!

  6. Restaurants should not be able to advertise (or say) they have GF food if they aren’t following the basic steps to keep it uncontaminated. We should have standards like Kosher food (which also must be prepared in certain conditions). This is a serious issue for people with Celiac not a trend.

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