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Two More Pizza Chains Offer Gluten-Free Crust!

For all you fans of pizza who agree that the gluten-free variety is hard to come by -- and mediocre at best -- I wanted to make sure you knew about two mid-sized chains who've recently taken on the commendable task of offering a gluten-free crust to patrons of their restaurants. Disclaimer: Neither chain is located in our area, so I have not personally tried either! A neighbor in the food service/franchising industry recently brought to my attention an Everett, Washington-based chain called Garlic Jim's Famous Gourmet Pizza. They currently have 48 locations across 10 states, with expansion planned to another 15 states (including my own state of Virginia, so I can't wait to take my son there!). Garlic Jim's CEO Dwayne Northrop was motivated to take on the development of a gluten-free crust based on the volume of requests they received on their website. Since the launch of the gluten-free pizza across the entire chain on July 31, sales and feedback have exceeded his expectations.

And for all you Canadians out there -- or for anyone visiting Canada -- you may already know about Pizza Pizza and its new gluten-free crust. This Toronto-based chain introduced its gluten-free pizza in 380 of its 600+ locations earlier this year, and it already accounts for a significant percentage of its sales.

I'm sure you would agree that this is a wonderful trend -- and just goes to show the power of effective lobbying by Celiacs. It pays to talk to store managers and lobby your favorite restaurants, be they chains or small independent family-run entities. In this challenging economic climate, it's also in restaurants' interest to broaden their market and court the Celiac community, which is still way too under-served. And because we are so under-served, we tend to be extremely loyal to those companies who make the effort to serve us. It's a smart business move and great outreach to a growing population all in one. Now that's what I call a win-win all around!

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