There was such a furor yesterday over Domino's not-so-gluten-free "gluten-free" pizza that I almost missed this announcement from Chuck E. Cheese's. The quintessential children's birthday party restaurant chain also is unveiling a gluten-free pizza, and (unlike Domino's) Chuck E. Cheese's is doing it absolutely right.
To avoid the gluten cross-contamination that's all but inevitable in a gluten-filled pizza kitchen, the pizzas Chuck E. Cheese will be serving will arrive from gluten-free manufacturer Conte's Pasta in a sealed package. They'll be cooked in that same sealed package and then delivered to the table still sealed, along with a special gluten-free pizza cutter.
The company also will sell a gluten-free chocolate cupcake made by Fabe's All-Natural Bakery, and will serve that the same way: in a sealed wrapper to avoid cross-contamination. Both the cupcake and the pizza are gluten-free certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), which means they should contain fewer than 10 parts per million of gluten.
Chuck E. Cheese's is launching the gluten-free pizza at its Minnesota locations and will gauge interest in gluten-free options there before deciding to roll the pizza out nationwide.
If the gluten-free pizza and cupcakes sell well, the restaurant chain will consider offering gluten-free birthday parties and birthday cakes, Joe Elliot, Chuck E. Cheese's vice president of research and development, says in a statement. "We've received an overwhelming response from families requesting that we add gluten-free products to our menu items for their kids who love to visit us but can't enjoy a Chuck-E classic pizza, because of special diet needs," Elliot adds.
Kudos to Chuck E. Cheese's for creating a process that will enable gluten-free kids to safely enjoy pizza and cupcakes along with their friends.
Photo © Chuck E. Cheese's