Three places for a gluten-free pizza party

When your child has celiac disease, simple childhood pleasures such as a pizza party become nearly impossible.

Celiac disease, a digestive disorder tied to foods containing gluten, means something like pizza crust is off limits to kids. The disease affects 1 in 133 people and parents who have a child with this condition know that it can be especially challenging when it comes to eating out.

Some pizza places have taken the time to address this special need. Guardi’s Pizza& Catering in Tinley Park is one spot where parents can find a good gluten-free pie. All of the pizzas are made to order and you can request a rice-based crust.

Uno Chicago Grill has a nutritionist on staff who is gluten intolerant, and it offers gluten-free pizza options at its Schaumburg location. Schedule a tour of the restaurant for kids between 9 and 10 a.m. and follow it with a pizza party where gluten-free options include cheese and tomato, pepperoni and veggie pizzas. Families will also enjoy Da Luciano’s in River Grove, which has an extensive gluten-free menu that includes plenty of pasta choices as well as pizza. Crusts are made from a unique blend of corn, rice, potato, soy and tapioca.

If you are looking for a fun option for kids, try Lou Malnati’s, where you can schedule a “build your own pizza” party. “For our gluten-free pizza we replaced the dough with a sausage crust, and we don’t have airborne flour in our place so that isn’t a problem,” says Jim Freeland, corporate chef and principal.

Even so, Freeland and contacts from other restaurants strongly urge parents to let the manager and servers know ahead of time if your child has a gluten sensitivity. With a little advance notice, all of the staff can take extra care in preparing and serving the pizza to make sure it is truly gluten-free.

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