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Wheat flour contains long strands of a protein called gluten, which not everyone can digest, especially those with celiac disease. Fortunately, a number of places offer pies on gluten-free (GF) dough, typically made from rice or corn flour, with some potato flakes for moisture. Here are a dozen that people who are gluten sensitive can happily turn to.
Harrison, Montclair, Wayne
The pies are wood-fired. There is also a cauliflower option, “thicker than our traditional dough,” says manager Dan Labate. “But unlike some gluten-free crusts that can be very cracker-like, it holds up well to toppings.”
615 Frank E. Rodgers Boulevard, Harrison, 973-485-9200; 7 North Willow Street, Montclair, 973-783-9200; 334 Route 46 East, Wayne, 973-812-9200
Chef Placido Nieto builds his dough primarily from corn flour. He makes GF bread, which he grinds into crumbs for meatballs and chicken or shrimp parmigiana. Nieto also offers GF desserts. “We were the first restaurant in our area to offer gluten-free,” he says, “and people have come to trust us.”
2420 Route 35, 732-223-1933
Casa di Pizza
Steve Burkat’s daughter has celiac disease, so he and partner David Godlesky have a personal interest in GF doughs. After trying several, they settled on a blend of rice flour, tapioca starch and potato flakes, delivered in individual aluminum pans, which add crispness. “I’m a chef,” says Godlesky. “I go by taste.” They also offer GF pasta and eggplant parmigiana.
50 Elm Street, 908-654-3232
In response to customer requests when he opened six years ago, owner Jimmy Zenelaj began trying various GF crusts. After several proved too thin and crackery, he found a winner, which “is thicker and has a nice chew.” Zenelaj also offers a cauliflower crust and GF pasta.
1380 Clifton Avenue, 973-458-0505
Sea Isle City
DeNunzio’s is open only from Mother’s Day through Labor Day, but it’s the leading GF source in and around Sea Isle City. Owner Michael DeNunzio offers GF pizza, pasta, wraps and sandwiches, as well as house-made vegan cashew mozzarella and vegan pepperoni and sausage.
36th Street and Boardwalk, 609-263-2600
Dough buys its rice-flour crusts, but they have perfected a house-made crust made from cauliflower, rice, corn and flax. “It took us several years of experimentation to get the texture right,” says owner Edward Simmons. Dough also offers gluten-free pastas.
437 Bloomfield Avenue, 973-226-3300
Owner Marcella Lampone gets her crusts from Boonton GF bakery Sogni Dolci. To avoid cross-contamination, she bakes in dedicated tins and slices with dedicated cutters. “They’re 12 inches, which is great for portion control and if only one member of a group is gluten free,” she says. Fresco has gluten-free pasta, too.
475 Spotswood-Englishtown Road, 732-656-1890
Fusaro offers GF and cauliflower crusts from a vendor, but with 48 hours notice, chef/owner Antimo Castagliola will hand-make you a 16-inch Sicilian pie—thick, fluffy and square, like focaccia—using Italian Caputo GF flour in a dedicated area of the kitchen.
81 Cassville Road, Jackson, 732-987-6202; 31 North Main Street, Manahawkin, 609-978-3888
Mama’s Café Baci
Mama’s, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, has one of the most extensive gluten-free menus in the state. In the realm of pizza, it includes basic gluten-free as well as cauliflower and broccoli-cheddar crusts. Owner Tom Schiano says they sell upwards of 50 GF pizzas every Friday night.
260 Mountain Avenue, 908-852-2820
In addition to making estimable regular pies, Pasquale “Pat” Custode knocks out exemplary GF numbers at this longtime local favorite. Exemplary, meaning they come pretty close to the satisfying taste and texture of regular wheat-flour crusts.—Eric Levin
564 Franklin Avenue, 973-235-1130
This offshoot of a New York City staple named its signature pie for Frank “Boss” Hague, high-living Jersey City mayor from 1917 to 1947. Like the man, the pie is a powerhouse—topped with meatballs, pepperoni and ricotta. It’s available on a GF crust. Two Boots also offers GF brownies.
133 Newark Avenue, 201-209-1250
Metuchen, Pine Brook
Chef/owner Giuseppe Badalamenti learned his GF recipe (cornstarch, white and brown rice flours, tapioca and potato starch, with a little yeast and baking soda) from celebrity chef Roberto Caporuscio at Keste Pizza in New York City. The dough is prepared in a flour-free zone and baked in a designated oven.
259 Lake Avenue, Metuchen, 732-372-7398; 29 Route 46 East, Pine Brook, 973-227-3007Click here to leave a comment