Gluten-Free Restaurants: Gluten-Free Pizza at Uno Chicago Grill

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I can hardly believe it – Uno Chicago Grill, a national franchise with over 200 locations, announced this week that they will be offering gluten-free pizza at almost all of their locations.  After conducting a test in Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, they have added gluten-free cheese and gluten-free pepperoni flatbread-style pizza to their regular menu (that’s right, you don’t even have to ask for a ‘special’ menu).

CEO Frank Guidara explained in their press release that it took over a year of research and development to find just the right recipe “While we want to meet the needs of guests with allergies, we never forget that we are about great taste and choice, and that means developing new dishes that are healthful without sacrificing great flavor.”

This is exciting news, and they are making efforts to prevent cross-contamination when cooking and preparing the pies.  The dough is being prepared by French Meadow Bakery – which is certified gluten-free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization.  I called my local Uno’s to ask how they were preparing the pies and spoke with two different people.  Both were well-informed about the product and described a separate preparation area and toppings. They are cooked in the same oven but with separate pans and utensils to keep the gluten-free pizzas free from cross-contamination. I spoke with someone on Uno’s PR team to get even more info: “Each restaurant has monthly training programs for its chefs and employees to educate and train in order to prevent that cross-contamination.  They are certainly aware of the severe reactions that can occur if people with celiac disease consume food products containing gluten.  However, we understand that restaurants are run by people, so mistakes can be made but UNO is taking every step necessary (including speaking with people who have celiac disease) to prevent those mistakes as much as possible.”

I haven’t tried the gluten-free pizza yet, but the reviews on the Delphi Forums so far are good. At my location, it’s $10.48 for a gluten-free cheese pizza and $10.49 for a gluten-free pepperoni pizza, which is on par with their gluten pizzas. Since they deliver to my apartment, I may have to order some tonight…stay tuned for more details.

According to the Unos Website, here are the ingredients in the Gluten-Free Cheese Pizza:

INGREDIENTS: Gluten free pizza crust RICE FLOUR, FILTERED WATER, TAPIOCA STARCH, POTATO STARCH, ORGANIC EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, VEGETABLE SHORTENING (CANOLA OIL, HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED OIL), SUGAR, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF THE FOLLOWING: YEAST, SALT, EGGS, GELATIN, NATURAL FLAVOR, ORGANIC DEFATTED SOY FLOUR, EGG WHITES, LEAVENING (SODIUM ALUMINUM PHOSPHATE, BAKING SODA), SOY LECITHIN, XANTHAN GUM, GUM ARABIC, ORGANIC GUAR GUM., Mozzarella Cheese part skim Low Moisture Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese (Pasteurized Part Skim Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Pasta Sauce Uno (tomato puree, tomato, carrot, olive oil, salt, onion, garlic, sugar, spices, sugar, citric acid), Romano Cheese grated (pastuerized sheeps milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes, anti-caking agent). 

If you were lucky enough to sample the gluten-free pizza in the test markets or have more info – please leave a comment to let us all know!

And if you aren’t near one of the 200+ locations with the gluten-free pizzas, here’s even more gluten-free pizza info and recipes.

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tim said,

January 17, 2009 @ 2:06 am

live in maine and tried it a couple months back.. not the best gluten free pizza. edible but i won’t be back. good to know that a chain is carrying it though…

the waitress seemed very informed though and warned about cross contamination with some of the other “safe” menu items.

H.Peter said,

January 18, 2009 @ 1:40 am

Pizza, the comfort food every Celiac misses the most.

Uno is doing a great job raising the bar for other food chains to serve better GF food than “Salad”.

We have gluten free Pizza almost every week and here is my last effort:

http://theceliachusband.blogspot.com/2009/01/gluten-free-pizza.html

A Gluten-Free Guide said,

February 1, 2009 @ 5:31 am

tim – I ended up not being able to order bc they only deliver to a 5 block radius – hrmph! I guess I don’t need to run out to try it..

H.Peter – thanks for sharing your recipe.

abby said,

June 11, 2009 @ 8:40 pm

I am an UNO employee and just wanted to say that we’ve also added gluten-free veggie pizza (onions, green peppers, and mushrooms). We train everyone very carefully on gluten-intolerance. After really working to perfect how the pizza is handled and baked, positive reviews are pouring in. You can enjoy it here with a gluten-freed redbridge beer as well :)

Daniel said,

August 25, 2009 @ 3:32 pm

Wow!

That is amazing news. Always good to see restaurants supporting a gluten free lifestyle.

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