I think that the title of this post deserves to be in capital letters and have the exclamation marks because I think this news represents a huge step forward for gluten-free food (despite some warnings and disclaimers discussed below)! Certainly there are many large national chains whose menus highlight options naturally gluten-free (like Outback) and many that have gluten-free substitutes (like PF Changs), but for a chain as large as Domino’s and one that is so “gluten-y” in it’s premise to have this substitution is really awesome (although Subway beginning to test gluten-free bread in some markets is a similar major step).
Now for the disclaimer that is mentioned in all the articles and the video below but because Domino’s makes all its pizza in the same kitchen it cannot promise that the pizzas are entirely gluten-free. This is definitely an important distinction because of the different levels of gluten-sensitivity. For someone with a mild gluten-sensitivity this is great but for more severe, like celiac disease, there are no guarantees. I really went back and forth on first whether to buy the pizza and also whether to make this post. I think that people with gluten-sensitivities are common enough that it’s important they know this is out there. For those with celiac like me it’s a personal decision you should make whether to try or not based on how you react and I still will have to seriously think again about deciding to order again given that it’s not completely gluten-free.
Back to my story of my experience today- this morning I did my usual scan of the Yahoo news articles and came across one about Domino’s offering gluten-free crust and I got really excited. I was curious when it would be available in stores (regardless, even if I decided not to get it) and when it said it WAS available in all of their 5,000 stores I went online to check and see if it in fact WAS available right now. After dealing with the fact that it was 8 AM and too early to order a pizza from a store I was able to get to the menu and lo and behold there was a gluten-free crust option already online (see screenshot below).
I read a few more articles and my favorite was USA Today’s that I wanted to share (USA Today article). The Domino’s info is pretty standard across the articles, but this article was cool because it mentioned a few other large chains that are doing gluten-free options. The other exciting one is Subway testing gluten-free bread in a number of markets, including Portland (can’t wait to try it when I am back in June!). There also is a cool Domino’s commercial (see below) that talks about their crust and also again gives warnings about the possible cross-contamination.
I think one of the biggest things to commend Domino’s on is the amount of warning it gives about cross-contamination and not being able to guarantee it being completely gluten-free. I definitely don’t think they are trying to pull one over on anyone or take advantage of people who need to be gluten-free. When I made the decision to order there was even an additional warning on the order screen (see below). If you’re celiac I definitely encourage you to know yourself and your reaction, as well as how much you’re willing to take a risk. I am not sure I will be ordering this often and still will probably debate when I think about it, but I will say that I experienced no reaction from eating the pizza (disclosure: I would say my reaction is mild for celiacs at least relative to how known cross-contamination has affected me compared to others like my mom). A suggestion is to go to the actual store to order and make a few requests like making it on a completely clean surface and on a new, clean oven-rack (lessens the cross-contamination, but does not eliminate it). Regardless as I mentioned above I think this is a great step in the right direction for gluten-free food.
The Verdict on the actual pizza:
Like I said I did not have a reaction to the pizza (although I know I was taking a risk in even trying). From taking off the toppings of Domino’s pizza before (and having cheated when I was a teenager in having real slices) the toppings and sauce make it taste VERY similar to a real Domino’s pizza. I was really impressed about that fact.
When I had a bite of just crust it still had the sweetness of a gluten-free crust, but not a lot, and was pretty good by itself. The texture was definitely different than a real Domino’s crust but it just seemed like a slightly thinner, more “toasted” version. I liked that it wasn’t very dry like a lot of gluten-free crusts, just a little. What I also enjoyed was that it was a very “American” pizza obviously being Domino’s. Other gluten-free pizza places in Miami like Pizza Rustica and Pizza Fusion have more traditional “Roman” pizzas I’d say, although Naked Pizza is more “American.”
Overall I was really impressed with the taste of the pizza and the work that Domino’s put into it. It was a bit expensive- $17 plus tip for delivery for a small 10 inch pizza, but this can be similar in pricing to other pizza places.
Again I’ll have to decide if/how often I order this given the risk, but I am happy I gave it a try. Certainly if you’re mildly gluten-sensitive or trying a gluten-free diet to be healthy definitely check it out. Celiacs use your best judgement.