When going gluten-free, it seems that all us gluten-free folk can think about is pizza.
A good pizza has a doughy crust (thanks to the elasticity of gluten) and is topped by delicious cheese and vegetables.
Oh yes, my mouth is watering already!
Unfortunately, a gluten-free crust just isn’t’ the same. Most gluten-free pizza crusts lack that doughiness needed to make a good pizza. Gluten really is an essential ingredient to getting a good pizza dough. (Without gluten, you can’t toss that pizza dough in the air either!)
So I’ve searched long and hard in the Mile High City to find some good gluten-free pizza joints (and pizza places that can accommodate those with celiac disease well).
Here’s what I’ve come up with as some of the best gluten-free pizza places in Denver (that are safe for celiacs too).
Patxi’s Pizza: Patxi’s (pronounced pah-cheese) was started by friends in California who have expanded their company-owned stores to the Mile High City. The vibe is fun and neighborly. The food is magnificent.
I visited Patxi’s in Cherry Hills and the staff there was ultra-friendly – you could tell they loved working there. As soon as I notified my server that I had celiac disease, he told me the gluten-free pizza is actually better than their regular pizza anyway and that he often orders his pizza GF just for the fun of it. He also assured me that they would cook my pizza separate from the gluten pizza and that they know how to mitigate cross contamination. I felt so at ease and excited to try this pizza!
The gluten-free pizza crust is made with rice flour, tapioca flour, water, potato flour, potato flakes, olive oil, sugar, yeast, salt, and seasonings. It’s free from most common allergens – and they even offer dairy-free and vegan cheese. The allergy crowd is someone they are definitely catering to – I’m impressed!
If I had to rank pizza places in Denver, Patxi’s would be at the top of my list. This pizza is good! You can tell Paxti’s makes its own pizza dough as it tastes like nothing I’ve tasted before.
I truly recommend Paxti’s pizza as a fantastic way to get your gluten-free pizza on! (BTW, they serve Chicago-style deep dish pizza too – the non-GFers will be in heaven too.)
Racca’s Pizzeria (formerly known as Marco’s Coal Fired Pizza): I was really happy with my visit to the Racca’s Pizzeria in Inverness (and I’ve been to the Racca’s downtown too).
The staff made me feel at ease by telling me they have a dedicated oven for gluten-free pizza only. Racca’s pizza crust is homemade, made from the restaurant’s own special blend of rice, corn, soy, potato flour and sugar. I give huge props to pizza restaurants when they make their own gluten free crusts vs. use Udi’s or other store bought brands.
I got the 10″ Margherita Pizza with sliced tomato (see below). Racca’s uses fresh mozzarella and a flavorful sauce. Definitely worth coming back for more – this pizza is pretty darn good! For an extra special treat, you can order a Nutella pizza (gluten-free, of course) for dessert. So. Darn. Good!
Beau Jo’s: If you’re in Denver and craving pizza, you must visit Beau Jo’s, home of the Mountain [Pizza] Pie. You can’t eat the Mountain Pie if you’re gluten-free, but those who consume gluten will love it (so I hear).
Upon entering Beau Jo’s, you’ll immediately feel like you’re in a Colorado treasure. For the GFers in your party, Beau Jo’s serves up a delicious Prairie Pie (thin crust) using Udi’s gluten free dough with any topping(s) you want.
If you’re watching your waistline, request low-fat cheese instead of the whole milk cheese it comes with. The pizza will be cooked on parchment paper and prepared with care if you tell your server you have a gluten allergy. Much of the main menu is gluten-free too – including several appetizers, salads and sandwiches. See the full GF menu online.
Mellow Mushroom: The Mellow Mushroom has locations throughout Denver, and I really love the way they cook up a gluten free pizza.
The crust is gluten-free and vegan, and is made using a blend of ancient grains, including amaranth and teff flours and flax seed. When you look at a Mellow Mushroom menu, the gluten-free pizza section is prominently displayed, and the company puts an emphasis on the importance of preventing cross contamination.
“The kitchen will wash hands, put on fresh gloves and a fresh apron, and only use gluten-free dedicated cooking utensils and ingredients. Everything is made to order, and prepared in a separate area. A screen pan is used during the baking process so the gluten-free crust never makes direct contact with the pizza stone. Mellow Mushroom has prepared this menu based on the most current ingredient information from our food suppliers and their stated absence of wheat/gluten within these items. While we take every precaution to ensure that cross contamination of ingredients does not occur, these items are being prepared in a kitchen that also processes foods containing wheat, milk, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, and seeds. Due to these circumstances, we are unable to guarantee that any menu item can be completely free of allergens.”
I enjoyed a personal, 12″ build-your-own-pizza the other day with cheese, spinach and tomatoes as my toppings. It was really good! I was so hungry that I started eating the pizza right away, forgetting to snap a photo for Good For You Gluten Free! So here is what’s left of my pizza by the time I remembered to take a photo.
You can find Mellow Mushroom locations in downtown Denver, Park Meadows and at The Streets at Southglenn. The complete GF menu is available online too.
California Pizza Kitchen: I know, I know, CPK is a chain restaurant. Boo hiss. But seriously people, CPK has amazing GF pizza, which makes me want to go back time and time again. It just goes to show that you don’t have to be a boutique restaurant to make good pizza dough – and if you want good pizza anywhere in the U.S., you can always go to CPK as the old trusty standby.
Something truly stand out about California Pizza Kitchen is that the chain worked with the Gluten Intolerance Group to have its gluten-free pizzas certified – this means CPK has trained its staff on how to prepare a safe, gluten-free pizza and other dishes too.
I personally enjoy the Margherita pizza, but you can also get the BBQ Chicken, Pepperoni and Mushroom Pepperoni Sausage gluten-free style. While no restaurant can guarantee a completely GF pizza, I do feel confident in CPK’s approach and effort to accommodate the gluten-free world’s need for pizza! See the entire CPK GF menu online.
Modern Market: Modern Market is a wonderful fast-casual restaurant based Colorado. I enjoy eating at Modern Market time and time again. I usually get the Farmer Salad and green chili soup, but when I’m in the mood for pizza, I’ll get a three-cheese gluten-free pizza served with organic red sauce and whole grain pizza dough. Tell the staff you have a gluten allergy and they will change their gloves and prepare the pizza on parchment paper.
“Our gluten-free dough is made in a certified gluten-free facility and contains brown rice flour, tapioca flour, sorghum, potato starch, potato, eggs, evaporated cane juice, olive oil, salt, sodium bicarbonate, xanthan gum, and guar gum. We cook gluten-free dough on parchment paper in our oven which minimizes cross contamination but cannot prevent it entirely as we do use flour in our stores. Our gluten-free dough is not vegan as it contains eggs.”
As for taste, the gluten-free pizza is pretty good. The crust is thin but doughy in texture, which I like. If pizza isn’t your thing, most of Modern Market’s menu is naturally gluten-free or can easily be made gluten-free. See the full gluten-free menu online.
There you have it – five great gluten-free pizza restaurants in Denver, Colorado. If I’m missing a pizza place worth adding to this list, please contact me and let me know.
PS: If you feel safer eating pizza at home (less risk of cross contamination), try my awesome gluten-free pizza dough recipe. It’s one of the best gluten-free pizza dough recipes and I teach people how to make it in my gluten-free cooking classes in Denver.