Yes, Mellow Mushroom does make their own gluten-free pizza crust in-house. The gluten-free crust is prepared separately from their regular crusts to avoid cross-contamination. Mellow Mushroom takes steps to ensure their gluten-free crust is safe for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
For those with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or who follow a gluten-free diet, finding safe gluten-free pizza options at restaurants can be challenging. There is often uncertainty around whether restaurant pizza crusts are made in-house or pre-made and risk of cross-contamination with gluten. So an important question for those looking to safely enjoy pizza from Mellow Mushroom is: does Mellow Mushroom make their own gluten-free crust?
The answer is yes, Mellow Mushroom prepares their own gluten-free pizza crust from scratch in their kitchens. They do not use pre-made or frozen gluten-free crusts. Making their own gluten-free dough allows Mellow Mushroom to avoid cross-contamination with gluten and safely accommodate guests who require gluten-free.
Mellow Mushroom’s Gluten-Free Crust Ingredients
Mellow Mushroom’s gluten-free crust consists of a proprietary blend of ingredients, including:
- Rice flour
- Tapioca starch
- Potato starch
- Xanthan gum
These ingredients allow the crust to achieve an authentic pizza crust texture and flavor profile, without containing any gluten. Mellow Mushroom does not add any wheat, barley, rye or other gluten-containing grains to their gluten-free crust.
Preparation Process to Avoid Gluten Cross-Contamination
In addition to using gluten-free ingredients, Mellow Mushroom takes important steps when preparing their gluten-free crusts to avoid cross-contamination with gluten:
- Gluten-free dough is mixed in a separate area of the kitchen from regular, gluten-containing dough.
- Pizza makers change gloves and thoroughly wash hands after handling regular dough before preparing gluten-free pizzas.
- Gluten-free pizzas are placed on parchment paper on a separate pizza pan and cooked on a separate part of the conveyor belt oven from regular pizzas.
- Gluten-free pizzas are cut and served using designated gluten-free tools.
These stringent procedures ensure no gluten comes into contact with the gluten-free crust during preparation and cooking. Mellow Mushroom kitchen staff are thoroughly trained on safely handling gluten-free orders.
Nutrition Profile of Mellow Mushroom’s Gluten-Free Crust
Mellow Mushroom’s gluten-free crust has a slightly different nutrition profile compared to a traditional pizza crust, given the unique combination of gluten-free flours and starches used.
Here is the nutrition breakdown for one 6-inch gluten-free crust from Mellow Mushroom (Nutrition information provided on Mellow Mushroom’s website):
The gluten-free crust is higher in carbohydrates compared to a traditional crust, coming mostly from the rice flour. It’s also lower in protein, since it does not contain any wheat or gluten. The fat content is negligible.
The calorie count per slice is on par with a regular pizza crust. So while the nutritional makeup differs, the gluten-free crust can fit into a balanced gluten-free diet.
Taste and Texture of Gluten-Free Crust
In terms of taste and texture, Mellow Mushroom’s gluten-free crust gets positive reviews. Customers report it has a pleasing flavor with notes of rice coming through. The crust has a softer consistency and more doughy, bread-like texture compared to a traditional thin pizza crust.
The crust gets crispy on the outside when baked, yet remains chewy and foldable on the inside. It generally holds up well to topping and does not get overly soggy. The consensus among reviewers is that Mellow Mushroom’s gluten-free crust has an impressive authentic pizza taste and texture.
Gluten-Free Pizza Options
Any of Mellow Mushroom’s pizza varieties can be ordered on a gluten-free crust. This includes their classic pizzas, specialty pizzas, and build your own options. You can also build an entirely gluten-free pizza by requesting gluten-free sauce and ensuring any toppings used are gluten-free.
Some popular gluten-free pizza options at Mellow Mushroom include:
- Gluten-Free Cheese Pizza
- Gluten-Free Pepperoni Pizza
- Gluten-Free Hawaiian Pizza
- Gluten-Free Veggie Pizza
- Gluten-Free Meat Lover’s Pizza
- Gluten-Free White Pizza
Mellow Mushroom notes that while these pizzas are prepared gluten-free, they are made in kitchens that also handle gluten and wheat. So they cannot guarantee 100% zero cross-contamination for those highly sensitive.
Pricing and Surcharges
Mellow Mushroom charges an additional $3 for a gluten-free crust substitution. So their specialty pizzas would be $3 more expensive when ordered gluten-free. For a basic cheese pizza, expect to pay around $11-$14 depending on size and location for a pizza on a gluten-free crust.
The $3 upcharge is quite reasonable compared to some restaurants that charge $5 or more extra for gluten-free. Overall Mellow Mushroom strives to keep their gluten-free pizza affordably priced.
Availability of Gluten-Free Crust
The gluten-free crust is available at all Mellow Mushroom restaurant locations nationwide. Availability may be limited though at some franchised locations. It’s advised to call your local Mellow Mushroom ahead of time to confirm they offer the gluten-free crust.
You can also order take-out or delivery and request the gluten-free crust for pizza that way. Mellow Mushroom emphasizes the importance of informing your server or cashier that you require gluten-free when ordering.
Dining Experience and Allergen Protocols
In addition to their gluten-free crust, Mellow Mushroom as a chain demonstrates a strong commitment to accommodating gluten-free diners through the following measures:
- Gluten-Free Menu – They offer a printed gluten-free menu that outlines options and calls out items containing wheat/gluten.
- Allergen Protocols – Servers are trained on allergen and cross-contamination issues and follow protocols on preparing/plating gluten-free orders separately.
- Kitchen Precautions – As outlined earlier, they take steps to avoid cross-contamination when preparing gluten-free pizzas.
- Staff Training – Employees receive training on safely handling gluten-free orders and dietary restrictions.
- Designated Fryer – Gluten-free menu items are cooked in separate fryer oil from gluten-containing foods.
These measures provide important peace of mind and reflect a conscientious effort by Mellow Mushroom to serve gluten-free guests. However, as with any restaurant kitchen, the risk of cross-contamination can never be fully eliminated.
Recommendations When Dining Out
If you have celiac disease or are highly gluten-sensitive, it’s always wise to take some precautions when eating out at restaurants like Mellow Mushroom:
- Notify your server about your gluten-free needs and any sensitivities.
- Ask about their kitchen practices and precautions taken for gluten-free.
- Inquire if they have a dedicated fryer for gluten-free items.
- Check that they don’t use the same utensils to handle gluten and gluten-free items.
- Request clean gloves to be used by staff handling your meal.
- Ask about chances of cross-contamination from the kitchen or shared surfaces.
- Carefully review the gluten-free menu options.
By having an informative discussion with restaurant staff about preparations, you can feel more assured in your choices. While Mellow Mushroom makes an effort to accommodate gluten-free diners, always use your own judgement based on your sensitivities and comfort level.
Finding safe gluten-free pizza when dining out can be a challenge, especially getting crust that tastes great without gluten. Mellow Mushroom sets themselves apart by making their own gluten-free pizza crust completely from scratch in-house using dedicated kitchen procedures.
Their unique rice flour based crust receives praise for its taste and texture resembling true pizza crust, while giving peace of mind that it’s safely prepared gluten-free. With an extensive gluten-free menu and allergen training protocols in place, Mellow Mushroom is an accommodating option for enjoying gluten-free pizza.