Domino's Pizza is not known for having the best pizza crust in the big-box pizza chain sphere of influence. Hell -- it isn't known for having the best pizza, either. So I was actually surprised when Domino's became the first major pizza-delivery chain to offer gluten-free crust (doing what smaller shops and local pie shacks have already been doing for years). I figured Pizza Hut would lead off, Domino's would follow suit, Little Caesar's would ignore the trend for another decade or so and keep focusing on its $5 ready-made pies, and Blackjack Pizza would continue to ignore every trend and simply remain the Arby's of pizzerias.
According to Domino's, the gluten-free crust is made from water, rice starch, rice flour, potato starch and olive oil, and is as gluten-free as it can be while still being processed in the same kitchen as the regular wheat-flour crusts. A great big disclaimer window pops up on the computer screen if you try to order one online, basically covering the company's pineapples if someone with Celiac's gets a smidge of wheat and wants to sue the pepperoni out of Domino's.
Eat at your own risk, in other words.
Since Domino's foisted its crap-spackle "artisan" pizzas off on the public, I've been very suspicious of its efforts, but since I know plenty of folks who can't do gluten -- and they have it rough -- I decided to take one for the team and try a gluten-free pie.
When I attempted to order two gluten-free pizzas on the Domino's website, though, I discovered they are only available in the ten-inch small size. I'm thinking that Domino's is experimenting to ascertain customer demand, and may offer larger sizes later if enough people buy the smalls. I did the fun build-a-pixel-pizza thing and was ready to pay...when the site told me that I had to call for pricing. This is a lot like ordering the lobster on a restaurant menu and having to inquire about the current market price, which is expected to be high depending on availability.
So I called the store at 4030 Colorado Boulevard and ordered two pies, one with hamburger, bacon and jalapenos, and the other with anchovies, pineapple, jalapenos and tomato -- my personal favorite. They didn't have anchovies, so I got ham instead. Ham is a poor substitute for those beloved little salty, furry fishes, but that's the trade-off you often have to make when you're ordering from a big-box chain rather than a local pizzeria.
The pizzas were not cheap: Two small pies cost me $31.87, and with tip the bill was $35. (Please note: People who don't tip pizza delivery drivers who do their jobs well will go to Hades when they die.)
The pizzas arrived ahead of schedule, piping hot. And while I was miffed that the tomatoes were canned instead of fresh, this was Domino's, so I'd managed expectations. The thin crusts didn't look any different than the chain's regular thin crusts -- maybe a wee bit darker in color -- but I did notice that there was an unusual amount of char on the outside perimeter.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
The crust had a chewy texture and was notably sweeter than the gluten crust, but it wasn't bad. I ate half of each pizza and finished the rest off later; the crust does get crunchy when it's cold, but no more so than regular thin crust.
My pizzas may have seen too much oven time, but since this is a new product, it may take employees a little while to get a handle on how long to cook this crust. In the meantime, though, I'd still recommend the gluten-free pizza for people who have gluten allergies. It's an unfortunate reality that they'll have to pay a higher price for the ingredients, processing and handling -- but if the alternative for Celiacs is to watch all their friends eat pizza while they're stuck with a salad, the few extra bucks are worth it.