Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tommy's Pizza and Chicken

I've seen a lot of boxes in my day. They've held everything from new shoes and jewelery to grade school diorama projects. Yes, I've liked these boxes a great deal.

For us gluten free-ers, pizza may come from the freezer section, it may come from a dry mix, it might be an "imitation pizza" on a rice cake (as if the word 'rice cake' should even share the same sentence with pizza), but it never, ever comes to us piping hot in a delivery box. 

And so with great pleasure, gluten free Clevelanders, I give you Tommy's Pizza and Chicken:

Gluten free pizza. In a box. From a pizza place. An actually pizza place. In a box. Gluten free pizza. Seriously. 

This pizza is, in a word, fantastic. Be warned though, once you start eating, it will take will power to stop. A second warning: like real pizza, there is nothing healthy food-y about this cheese smothered goodness. If you want good for you pizza, make your own. But when's the last time your gluten eating friends ate pizza for their health? Sometimes, you just want ooey-gooey, salty, crunchy, saucy pizza - and that is exactly what Tommy's provides. 

I think what sets a Tommy's pizza apart from it's homemade and frozen peers is the sauce. It's real, fresh pizza sauce. Then again, it might be the crust. It's not cake-y, it's not potato-y, it doesn't taste like rice. At once fluffy and crunchy, it tastes like real pizza crust. 

But don't forget the cheese. Or the fact that it's cooked in a real pizza oven. Okay, I give up, it's the whole package, box included.  

If you're not a straight up cheese kind of pizza eater,  you can add traditional pizza topics (olives, pepperoni, peppers, mushrooms, extra cheese, etc) for an additional $1.59 per item. The gluten free pizza come in one size - a medium, a 12 inch cut into 8 pieces. If the pizza doesn't do it for you, (and if you're some kind of pizza hating crazy person, can I have your slice?), Tommy's gluten free menu also offers breadsticks, cheesy breadsticks, and corn spaghetti with marinara sauce. 

There is a catch. Okay, there are two catches. The first is that Tommy's Pizza and Chicken is in the far away land of Strongsville, Ohio. And there's an even farther away branch in North Royalton. The Strongsville location is a good 45 minutes away from me (and the rest of the Cleveland East Side suburbs - a little closer for you West Siders) and with today's gas prices, making the decision to go out on such a trip for pizza is a little indulgent, and quite a commitment. ...But is it worth it? Without question. 

This brings us to catch number two. Tommy's Pizza and Chicken is carryout only. That's right, you may well drive 45 minutes to get your pizza...but you're going to have to drive an additional 45 to get home and eat it. Or you could make good friends with Strongsville locals and invite yourself over for dinner. Or you could eat it in the car. I won't tell anyone. 

(Of course if you happen to live in Brunswick of Strongsville, or parts of North Royalton, Hinckley, Columbia Station, berea, Middleberg, or Valley City you could get your gluten free pizza delivered right to your door. It's enough to make a girl consider moving.) 

Over all, the drive and the carrying-out is SO WORTH IT for this amazing pizza. Tommy's also offers a "take and bake" gluten free pizza, so you can stock up while your there, limiting your trips to only once a month, instead of say once a week. Or day. 

Tommy's Pizza & Chicken on Urbanspoon


VeggieGirl said...

Have you been to VegiTerranean in Akron yet??? They make FAAABULOUS gluten-free pizza.

H.Peter said...

I can attest to the need for REAL GOOD Pizza for Celiacs.
So many GF versions do not live up to the hype they come with.

Maybe resignation has set in for too many Celiacs, that some things are just too hard to come by in a quality known only pre illness?

However your "cheese dripping" (those pictures.....) post is point in case that with some effort and ingeniuty on behaf of a caring Pizzaiolo anything is possible.
The Pizza looks fantastic.

Now all the Celiac community needs is a French Boulanger to recreate a perfect, fluffy, flaky version of a gluten free Croissant. Life would be perfect!

Marlow said...

It is taking all of my will power not to hope in a plane and head to Cleveland right now!!

Meg said...

How actual take out pizza place with gluten free pizza!!!

Gluten Free Steve said...

I get out there from time to time for work and will definitely check this place out. Sounds amazing.

Debbie said...

I think it pays for a Celiac to live in a major city, don't you? I also read about "Garlic Jim's" out here in the Pacific Northwest that is now offering GF pizza. They also are only for take out and the closest one to me is an hour. However, if we're within a half an hour of there one day, I would drive an extra 30 minutes to get a pizza in a box for my 5 year old sweetheart. It may sound crazy to some, but those people probably wouldn't know what it is like to live GF. Doesn't this just make you hopeful of what will be offered a year from now?

Dana Wax said...

Veggiegirl - I have NOT been yet, but I'm all over it. Well soon I hope.

h.peter - i agree with you about celiac - resignation. we need to fight against it as much as we need to educate. quiality of life shouldn't suffer with your dx, it should only get better! And what's life without pizza?

and if you find that croissant and I'll mail you some pizza, deal?

marlow - I don't blame you one bit. I hear travelocity is always having deals....haha

meg - agreed. it's very exciting!

debbie - you're very right about that major city thing. I used to live in new york city; i only moved back to my native cleveland this august. Boy was that a celiac haven! I thought Cleveland would be a wasteland as far as gluten free stuff goes, and while it's no new york, its amazing at what you can find.

Thanks for your optimism, too. Hopefully by next year there will be a nationwide gluten free pizza chain...what, is that too much to ask for?

Linda said...

I'm curious to know how much the pizza costs. I'm sure it's worth it, and if I lived anywhere near Cleveland, I'd get one, but I'm still curious.

I have a pizza recipe on my site that my gluten eating family and I love. I'm working on adjusting the recipe size to make one pizza and hope to post that soon.

Dana Wax said...

Steve - I didn't mean to snub you in my comments before! I must've passed over yours, and I do apologize! ...I'm glad to have connected you to the possibility of yummy pizza and I hope you get to have some soon :)

Linda - I'm looking forward to your pizza recipe!!!

The medium 12" pizza (the only size offered) is $11.99. The Take & Bake pizzas are $12.99. ...Maybe I lived in NYC too long, but I'd say those are pretty competitive, pretty fair prices. Thoughts?

Other offerings on the GF menu include:
breadsticks w/ marinara - $5.99
cheesy garlic breadsticks w/ marinara - $6.99
corn spaghetti w/ marinara - $5.99

Valerie said...

I wonder if they would do a take and bake pizzas without the cheese, for those that need to be dairy (casein free)and are addicted to pizza

HollyCat said...

There is a Tommy's PCR in North Ridgeville too with gluten free pizza menu. It is carryout or eat in and is FABULOUS!!! We eat there whenever we get a chance and Tommy will make it however you want it! Pizza parties are no longer off limits at our house!

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It is one of the tastiest pizzas I ever tried, but for me the classic is the mushrooms with cheese.

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Tommy's pizza is really one of the delicious pizza. Thanks for posting this blog.

James said...

Now all the Celiac community needs is a French Boulanger to recreate a perfect, fluffy, flaky version of a gluten free Croissant

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I've heard that this pizza is delicious I want to change the pizza I eat, I usually eat pizza hut but people say this one is better.

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