Years ago, when the doctor ordered me to go gluten free, I thought a part of me might die. This was before the big “gluten free” craze and food options were pretty limited. Eating out typically meant salads, meat and potatoes, and eating in, unless you had a big budget and a lot of patience, was about the same. (Trust me, making your own gluten free breads and crusts, etc. was a big undertaking, and a big headache, before pre-made mixes.) Even though my body couldn’t handle gluten and I felt immensely better when it went bye-bye, I’m a true bread lover, and I missed my old favorites – pizza included. Fast forward several years, and now almost everywhere I turn there are endless gluten free options. And thankfully, this means plenty of options for gluten free pizza, a treat I truly missed for a while, but am glad to know I will never have to go without again. (My waistline may be a little less glad.)
[Disclaimer: If you can eat gluten, meaning your body can digest it properly – EAT IT. Most people need gluten in their diet. Many people are under the assumption that gluten free means healthier. Not true! Gluten free is not carb free, and often times gluten free bread items are less healthy than their gluten laden counterparts, because they are made with rice, tapioca and/or potato flour. Gluten free is not meant as a weight loss diet, it’s a diet to improve the lifestyles of those who can’t digest it. If you can eat gluten, you are in luck – all of the places on my list have pizza you will love too!]
MOD: I was asked to check this place out quite a while back, but at the time they were only in the Chicago suburbs. That’s no longer the case, as they have many locations across the city. And that makes me SO HAPPY, as their pizza is delicious! It’s a a build your own, quick service restaurant, where all pizzas are individual size. This makes it perfect for families and groups who want to enjoy their own pie – or for picky eaters. They also offer unique toppings, like goat cheese, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes and white sauce.
Blaze: Very similar in style to MOD, Blaze is also a build your own, quick service pizza parlor. The prices are a little better though (it’s only about $12 for a gluten free pizza with whatever toppings you want)! They have unique toppings too and a really tasty crust as well.
Si-Pie Pizzeria: The only pizza place on my list that’s not part of a larger chain. You will have to head to my lovely neighborhood of Lakeview East to try this one. (Or their second location in Lakeview.) And you won’t be disappointed. Not only is the service always impeccable, the prices are amazing (you get a real pizza – not a tiny individual size like you get everywhere else – for around $20), and the taste is one of the best I have had, not only in Chicago, but anywhere! They have an app that offers great discounts and helps with delivery set up too. It’s a small pizzeria with only a handful of seats, but it’s worth a wait (which there usually isn’t one), any time of day you go. P.S. They are open late, so they are perfect for any late night munchies you have.
Happy Camper: They have two locations in Chicago, and while both are equally artistic and funky joints, my favorite is the rooftop patio in Wrigleyville. It’s got the vibe of an old school (think 1950’s) Florida trailer park. Cabana striped umbrellas, flamingo clad lawn chairs, and plenty of bright colors. It’s always booming before and after Cubs games and has a great vibe. The service at both locations is great, the pizza’s are speedily made, and they offer lots of other gluten free goodies too (like nachos, and gluten free breadsticks with goat cheese). Even though winter is in full swing, and you won’t be able to enjoy the patio until next year, you still have plenty of ooey, gooey cheesy reasons to visit Happy Camper now.
Aurelios: I would equate Aurelios to a Hungry Howes/Domino’s type pizza place, but a little more saucy, sweet and with a home cooked vibe. They are the ones I would recommend calling for delivery and parties. The pizza is really yummy, and is probably closest to how I remember “real” pizza. You know, the kind with gluten!
Now that you know the best places to get gluten free pizza in Chicago, all you have to do is think about the toppings you want on your pie. Whether you like it loaded with veggies, double meat or extra cheesy, I hope you enjoy!
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