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Is Eating Pizza At A Restaurant Safe?

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I'm going to visit family in Chicago and they told me they want to go out for pizza. They've suggested 3 places that offer gluten free pizza (in addition to the regular pizza they make). They've asked me to select the one I'm most comfortable. So I contacted the 3 restaurants to find out their pizza making practices and 2 emailed me back. One seemed extremely knowledgeable and even mentioned if I happened to be a very sensitive celiac that I might not want to eat there as while they have a separate place they prepare the pizza and separate equipment they also do regular crusts and they could not guarantee that there would be no cross contamination (I guess as flour gets in the air). So now I'm wondering if that isn't really true of any place that makes gluten free pizza and also regular pizza. I don't know if I'm especially sensitive or not. Do you think it is safe? Should I try it? I appreciate the input!

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I've had good luck with places that separate toppings, have a separate preparation area, and keep separate pizza boards for their gluten-free pizza. I'm sensitive enough to react to deep fryer CC but not ultra sensitive.

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Hadn't thought to ask about separate toppings. Just asked about a separate preparation area and dedicated equipment.

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Luckily, I haven't been cc'd yet with gluten-free pizzas that I've eaten at four different restaurants in California. I can't vouch for all such restaurants, but I've been lucky so far.

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I've had issues with the two places I've tried, but I want to try them again once I'm more consistently clean to make sure that it wasn't something else I was reacting to. I think it really depends on your level of sensitivity and the particular restaurant's practices.

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Where in Chicago did they suggest? I am from the area and eat at Barraco's and Palermo's all the time without any issues. Like Skylark, I am not ultra sensitive, but cannot eat things from fryers because of cc. I've had no problems with Aurelio's, but I don't care for their type of pizza. It's a more fluffy crust and in my experience fluffy + gluten-free never works! The other two both serve a thin crust.

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Where in Chicago did they suggest? I am from the area and eat at Barraco's and Palermo's all the time without any issues. Like Skylark, I am not ultra sensitive, but cannot eat things from fryers because of cc. I've had no problems with Aurelio's, but I don't care for their type of pizza. It's a more fluffy crust and in my experience fluffy + gluten-free never works! The other two both serve a thin crust.

They suggested Pie Hole, Lou Malnati's, and Rocco Ranalli's. Any feedback on these places would be great. Thanks.

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They suggested Pie Hole, Lou Malnati's, and Rocco Ranalli's. Any feedback on these places would be great. Thanks.

The only one I know of that you listed is Lou Malnati's. I have not had their gluten free version...only the non gluten-free before I went on the diet. I am a Giradono's Fan personally but sadly Giradono's does not currently have gluten-free pizza. :(. In Chicago you are either a Giradono's or Lou's fan...never both :P Lou Malnati's is a higher class of restaurant as far as pizza places go so they may have knowledgeable chefs there who may cut down on cc, but that would just be a guess. My fav gluten-free is Barroco's though. Sorry I couldn't help more. In Chicago we have soooo many pizza places that no one could possibly know them all! There literally thousands of them!

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I had no trouble eating gluten-free pizza at Mellow Mushroom and Z-Pizza before I had to cut out dairy. Mellow Mushroom has a separate room and separate topping station only for gluten-free pizzas. Z-Pizza change their gloves, switch prep areas (it's open so I can watch them make the pizza) and makes the gluten-free pizza on foil.

If you want to find gluten-free restaurants check out the website glutenfreeregistry.com Not all gluten-free restaurants are on there but many are that have gluten-free menus. People can also write reviews so you can get an idea of how safe it is or if the food is any good.

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Sorry, double post.

Also try googling the restaurant name and gluten-free reviews to see if anyone has blogged about it.

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We get the Garlic Jim's pizza with no problem. I believe they make their crust elsewhere. They do roll it out but don't use wheat flour. I think it says on their website that they use rice flour.

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Thanks for the tip on glutenfreeregistry.com, didn't know that existed. I see they have 1 of the 3 places I was evaluating (Lou Malnati's). The reviews don't sound great. It is a crustless pizza and when I contacted them they told me they use the same pans as the regular pizza but make sure to wash them good so there is not an issue with cross contamination. Still sounds like a risk to me.

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You definitely can find some good places where eating gluten free pizza is safe but be very careful about where you choose to go. Almost every restaurant which does both gluten free and non gluten free options will tell you that they cannot 100% guarantee that no cross contamination will occur.

In my experience asking the right questions to ensure you get a safe pizza is your best bet. Don't just go with a place just because they say they do gluten free options. Really find out if they have procedures in place to deal with issues of contamination...

Explain to staff that you are coeliac. This way the restaurant will be aware just how important it is to keep your meal safe and contamination free. If they look at you like they’ve never heard the word coeliac before find a member of staff who does or you may want to re-think your choice of restaurant. Normally if I say I’m coeliac they give me a ‘Ok, I understand, we will take the necessary precautions to keep you safe’ face.

Ask about how they deal with issues of cross contamination. Something like ‘How do you deal with preventing cross contamination?’ is likely to be more effective than ‘Do you prepare gluten free dishes separately’ because they have to explain the process rather than just answering with ‘yes’. This way you will be able to better gauge whether they know what they’re talking about or not.

Stay safe! Hope you get your gluten free pizza!

Laura

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