• Local businesses, nationwide chains offer gluten-free options

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    PITTSBURGH - Hot out of the oven, Domino’s this week launched the sale of a gluten-free pizza crust.

    According to one study, an estimated 18 million Americans have sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.

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    Domino’s is the first national pizza delivery chain to offer this product.   The owner of the Bethel Park store said it tastes and costs the same as a regular pizza.

    “To a customer, it's not anything different. For us, it's a little bit more, but we are ready to eat that price when it comes to serving all these people who haven't had pizza in a really long time,” said Sal Hashmi.

    The premade crust is kept separately from others, but Hashmi warns this product really isn’t for people who have Celiac disease.

    "It is made in a common kitchen where the other dough is being prepped, so there is that risk,” he said.

    Mandy’s Pizza in West View started selling gluten and allergen-free pizza three years ago because of the owners’ son has severe allergies.

    “ It's a little heartbreaking because you sit back and think this is the proverbial bread that we put on our kitchen table and he can't even eat what's in our store,” said Steve Negri.

    So Negri came up with his secret recipe for a special dough and uses a non-blower oven to avoid cross contamination.

    The gluten and allergen-free menu now includes hoagies, wings and fries, all cooked and prepared separately from other food.

     PF Chang’s offers 25 gluten-free dishes and takes any kind of dietary intolerance very seriously.

     “We have special woks set aside, ladles set aside just for gluten-free or for any specific kind of allergy,” Chih Lee, the operating partner of the Waterfront location, said. “And the sauces are in their own container. They never get cross-contaminated.”

    They use red dishes in the kitchen to alert staff of a food restriction and when the meal is served, it is on a special plate.

    Eat’n Park has had a celiac menu for about 10 years. Dishes include rosemary chicken, a mushroom and onion burger on a gluten-free bun and a breakfast scrambler.  Many items on their salad bar are also gluten free.

    “Our goal is to make anyone with an allergy feel welcome at our restaurant, not like they have a special dietary need,” spokeswoman Becky McArdle said in a statement.

    And what meal wouldn’t be complete without dessert?

    Gluuteny has satisfied sweet tooths with gluten and casein free treats in Squirrel Hill since 2007. So now people on a gluten-free diet can have their cake, and eat it too.

    “When kids have birthday parties they don't have to have their own cupcake or cake because you can just get a cake here and nobody knows the difference,” said Gluuteny General Manager Jessica Lehman.

    May is National Celiac Awareness Month, and next week is National Food Allergy Awareness Week.        

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