LaRosa’s Pizzeria (Dayton, Cincinnati, Northern KY, Oxford)
I don’t know about you, but I missed pizza. Sure, I could put together safe a pizza at home, in my inferior oven or out on the grill, but it was never the same as enjoying a slice (or three!) with friends at a pizza joint. Buying the GF crust, piecing together the toppings (only to have all those leftover toppings spoil in the fridge), and never getting that perfect bake, had me all in a tizzy. So if a restaurant had a “Gluten Free’ pizza on the menu, I would take a chance.
Boy did I pay. I paid dearly. I have been glutened more times at pizza joints around the state than I care to admit. You would think I would learn my lesson, but the draw of pizza – the thought of a safe, tasty slice… it always lured me in.
So when a friend told me my local LaRosa’s was offering gluten free pizzas I just gave her the ‘look’. “No, really!” She said. “I work there a couple shifts a week, and it’s truly safe!”
I took a shot, because once again I could not resist, and my friend, she is reliable. I made my way to the restaurant and ordered a GF pizza. Guess what? I didn’t get sick. Not one bit. I went back again. That time I didn’t get glutened, either. Elated, I had to know more. What sets LaRosa’s apart from the other pizza places that claim to have a GF product?
Alright. Time to investigate.
I approached Tanya, the restaurant manager at the Centerville, Ohio location. From the very first moment, I have to say I was impressed. She was very open and honest about their processes and this is what I found out.
What type of training does your kitchen staff go through to handle gf orders? …and wait staff?
‘Only the cooks that are gluten free certified through the Great Kitchens program are allowed to make the gf pizzas. The serving and handling are part of our server training program.‘
How do you separate the gluten-ous items from your gluten free items? – this seems like it would be hard to do.
‘We keep all gluten free toppings on a separate shelf inside our walk-in. It is never kept next to a regular pizza table. All the toppings are sealed in gluten free containers.’
I envision a real cross contamination nightmare when it comes to cooking the pizzas. How do you make sure it all stays safe?
‘All gluten free pizzas are cooked on the top shelf of the pizza oven, cut with a sealed gf cutter and placed directly into a gf box and sealed with a gluten free sticker or plated and placed on the top shelf for the dining room.’
I noticed some of you pizza toppings have the gf symbol and some do not – what’s the deal?
‘Since we “certify” our gluten free pizzas, all toppings are checked for cross contamination in the manufacturing and distribution process. Those that could have been contaminated at any stage of the process will never be on our gf menu.’
I see the gf pizzas are offered in one size (medium). Can I order gluten free pizzas with combos and coupons just like traditional pizzas?
‘We allow them to be used in place of a large on a buddy card and on the three mediums for $21.00 deal. They are normally not able to be ordered on the combos, due to cost.’
Are all of your gf items available chain-wide?
‘Gluten free is not available chain wide, as of today. Only Centerville and Beavercreek stores offer it in the Dayton market.’
In addition to great GF pizzas, they also serve a couple of good ciders from the bar. Right now, Angry Orchard and Crispin Pear Cider hold spots on the adult menu, along with a selection of eight wines.
Not all LaRosa’s Pizzaria locations offer GF pizzas. 14 conveniently located pizzerias are certified in preparing and serving gluten free pizzas. They are:
Anderson (Beechmont Ave. near Asbury),
Boudinot (near corner of Glenway and Boudinot), Colerain (Stone Creek Shopping Center),
Kenwood (Montgomery Rd. south of Kenwood Towne Center),
Feststhaus at Kings Island and Mason (corner of Triway Dr. and St. Rt. 42
– Alexandria (St. Rt. 27 near Campbell County Middle School) and Hebron (corner of Rt. 237 and
– Beavercreek (corner of Commons Blvd. and Esquire Dr.) and Centerville (corner of Alex Bell and Loop Rds.)
(between Lynn Ave. and Locus St.)
Check out this link for a complete list of toppings, ingredients and additional information.