Friday, May 1, 2009

Pizza Fusion hits Atlanta!

Below is a restaurant review, written by my first guest blogger - Joy Johnston. Joy has worked as a professional dining critic in Atlanta, so you may recognize the name if you're a local. She is a true writer, which is something I've never claimed to be. You can follow Joy here on twitter. Thanks Joy, for taking time to post your comments about Pizza Fusion - it's truly appreciated!


Pizza Fusion is a growing national chain that is dedicated to being earth-friendly. The first restaurant opened in 2006 in Florida with the idea that they could fill the void of dining out organically. Hence, all Pizza Fusion restaurants are dedicated to using organic ingredients and use hybrid vehicles for delivery.

Most importantly to those with Celiac Disease, Pizza Fusion offers a gluten-free pizza crust. In metro Atlanta, our choices for gluten-free pizza can be counted on one hand, so Pizza Fusion was awaited eagerly by the Celiac community. Did it live up to the hype?

Pizza Fusion is located in bustling Buckhead (2233 Peachtree Rd. Suite M, Atlanta, GA 30309, Phone: 404-351-9334), and they also have a limited delivery area. The restaurant is located on the ground level of the Astoria at the Aramore, and the restaurant itself still carries that new shine. There’s a decent-sized dining room area and a bar area with tables as well. Patrons tend to be a good mix of neighborhood locals with plenty of families, along with those that are looking for the gluten-free pizza experience.

I’ve found service to be stellar upon every visit. They offered me another variety of gluten-free beer they had just added that wasn’t on the menu yet, and they were careful with the handling of my gluten-free order. I also feel like the staff has been properly trained about serving those with gluten intolerance. I’ve dined there several times and never had a reaction, despite the fact that they also serve wheat-based crust pizzas. From what I understand, the kitchen staff has been taught to avoid cross-contamination issues. I feel confident dining here and would not hesitate to recommend to others, based upon their awareness of the gluten-free diet.

So how is the gluten-free pizza? Well, we all know pizza is a very subjective topic. Some like thin, crispy crusts, others like the thick, chewy crusts. Well, Pizza Fusion, in my experiences, lies somewhere in the middle. It’s thick enough not to be crispy, but doesn’t quite have that chewiness that one often finds with gluten-containing pizza crusts. Since I’m flexible when it comes to crust styles, Pizza Fusion’s variety suits me just fine. I also think it heats up better the next day than the thinner crusts, which are easier to burn upon reheating. (And you will probably have leftovers, as the gluten-free crust only comes in the large size.)

What’s most important to me is quality of the ingredients, and that’s where I feel Pizza Fusion shines over competitors. The quality of cheeses and vegetables is outstanding. The organic mozzarella really does make a difference, and the freshness of the basil and other toppings adds to the enjoyment.

As I mentioned earlier, Pizza Fusion offers the Green’s line of gluten-free beers from Belgium. Most people consider these the best of the bunch when it comes to gluten-free beers. You can also get Boylan’s sodas, but don’t ask for a Coke, because they don’t offer the commercial brands.

If somehow you still have room for dessert, Pizza Fusion even offers a gluten-free brownie. It’s actually quite tasty, dusted with powdered sugar and adorned with berries. Again, this is a nice touch, since it’s very hard for us Celiacs to find something for dessert when we dine out other than sorbet!

I enjoy dining at Pizza Fusion and am happy they now have a presence in Atlanta. While I do eat gluten-free pizza from other establishments in town and am fond of them as well, I prefer the dining experience at Pizza Fusion over the competitors.


Update: Pizza Fusion now offers a personal size gluten free pizza for lunch.

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