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May 03, 2007

Pizza Pie Passion

38 East 23rd Street
between Park & Madison
11-8 p.m., Monday-Friday



We caught wind of this new place serving gf pizza on the celiac meetups message board. I must admit, I'm always a bit skeptical when I'm about to try new gf pie. Pizza and pasta in our celiac world is a challenge to get right.  My Italian mother-in-law, every week, adds to her huge Sunday feast menu a specially made delicious gf pasta dish just for me - which has led me to believe that creating good gf Italian food requires love and passion.  But, as I tasted the first mega-delicious bite of the gf brick oven pizza at Mozzarelli's, I knew we had found passionately prepared pizza.


Mozzarelli's pretty much looks like your classic NY pizza joint; long and narrow, brightly lit, with limited seating.  But inside you'll find chef Ron, who has developed possibly the perfect gf pizza pie crust using a specific ratio of various gf flours.  This is our opinion, of course.  We've learned from plenty of feedback under postings of gf pizza news, that everybody's got their idea of the perfect pie crust.  I like all types if done well, but my favorite is not too thin/not too thick, crunchy on the outside, light and doughy/yeasty on the inside, which is exactly how I'd describe Ron's. I also tasted a wonderful herb-y flavor in the crust, which made it even more perfect.


There is always an extra yummy ending to the story where a chef or grandma enthusiastically takes up the challenge to create the perfect gf version of a food that a celiac loved one can no longer eat. Ron has a celiac niece, and she is the reason we all get to enjoy his special pizza. Here are some facts: Ron's secret flour mixture (we can confirm sorghum and bean are involved) is prepared in a separate area of the kitchen with dedicated utensils and containers.  Even though plenty of care is taken to avoid cross-contamination, glutenous pies ARE prepared in the same kitchen.  However, there is NO flour whatsoever behind the service counter, so the by-the-slice gf pie on display is safe from airborne wheat flour.  Kelly was super psyched when Ron told us he could accomodate her with a corn-free/dairy-free version of his gf pizza, which she declared was delicious.  I could barely tell the difference.  He can do this for you too; just call ahead and give him at least a day to prepare.


During the busy lunch hours at Mozzarelli's, there are gf pizza slices on display, ready to heat and eat.  However, if you're planning to go late afternoon/evening, it would be a good idea to give them a call to check for slice availability.  They keep partially baked gf crusts in the back, which can be ready to eat by the time you get there.  Or, call to preorder an entire pie with toppings of your choice!  I took my pie home and reheated pieces for days ... a few minutes in the toaster oven brought crispy life back into that perfect crust.

More cool stuff about Ron and his pizza.  If you get to meet him, you'll immediately see what I'm talking about when I say he's enthusiastic and passionate about what he does.  He never stopped smiling, eyes bright, while telling us stories from his self education about celiac to his gf dough experimentation adventures.  Ron also enjoys sharing his knowledge of the science of food and health through a newsletter he writes, where customers can learn about the importance of whole grains and the evils of bromated flour; a flour additive and known carcinogen that has been banned in Europe - but not yet in the USA.  Thank goodness, by eating gluten free, we don't have to worry about yucky bromate!  And your glutenous friends will thank you for bringing them to Mozzarelli's for safe and healthy pizza pie!  We weren't surprised to hear that some of Ron's health-conscious non-celiac customers prefer gf pizza for the extra protein, and love the taste.

So run, don't walk, to Mozzarelli's.  You don't have to travel very far for the comfort food we're most passionate about; pizza.

DC readers are reminded that the NFCA cooking spree is this Friday May 4th!


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AWWW man I'm so jealous! They look fabulous too and your discription had my mouth watering at the thought.
Where can we sign on for chef Ron's newsletter?

thanks for the story!

Wow. I too greet "gluten free pizza" with a pretty healthy dose of skepticism. But having just had 2 slices (the last 2 they had on hand--for "some reason" there was a run on GF food there today :) I can honestly say it's the best GF pizza I've ever had. And normal toppings, too, like pepperoni and mushrooms. It's been way too long since I ordered a pepperoni pizza.

It's not going to be good for my waistline that I work 3 blocks from here...

Wow! I absolutely crave a good GF pizza with loads gooey cheese and other toppings! I've found passable GF pizza, but not reaally good GF pizza! From a waistline point of view its probably just as well I live and work thousands of miles away


so interesting. i used to work up the street and would go in for a slice every now and then [they run a decent lunch special]. but this was pre-GF days. next time i'm in the old 'hood i can't wait to check it out! thanks chicks!

Thanks for the great find - looks amazing.

Okay, bad news first. They're closed Saturdays and Sundays. Now that that's out of the way, this is superb pizza -- the crust is great, with that slightly burned taste you get in great brick oven pizza jernts. And with the extra cheese that I ordered, this was scrumptious. I could've pigged out and gotten three slices, but decided -- since I'll be here once or twice a week -- to go easy. You can also take home a Sicilian-size crust and watch the Sopranos & the Tudors while munching away. CELIAC? HAH! BRING IT ON!

You had me drooling by the end of your story. If I ever get to New York, I will be going to this place!

Sounds fantastic! I'll definitely have to try this place. What's the pricing like for a GF pizza slice?

Slices are $3.99, a whole pie is $24.00 (not sure if that includes toppings). I should also mention that Chef Ron has plans in the making for more gluten free pizzeria classics, so let's keep up our support!

boo hoo. I went there on a Saturday and they were closed up tight as a drum. Too bad; I've been longing for pizza

We went last Friday and ordered a whole pie with mushrooms and spinach. It was $34!!!! That's a lot of money for a pizza (6 slices) but I'm used to paying more for GF food. Anyway, we preordered (and prepaid) but when we picked it up they only made a plain pie. We asked for our toppings, and then only got them on one side of the pizza! By that time we were too hungry to argue so we just took it. Despite the ordering snafu, boy was it worth the wait! Next time, though, we'll just get the plain pie--cheaper and tasty all on its own. This is the BEST GF pizza in the city!

MMMMMMMMM....PIZZA....We live a bit south for NYC pizza, but if we ever make it up there! Just found you guys....actually, seen you guys linked a bunch of places and finally just cliked on thru! Neat blog. Neat story. COOL... Keep pluggin away! You're helping millions! :D Krista

Is the GF pizza thown into the same oven as the other pizza? What about the paddle that they use to take the pizza out with? Looks like too many chances of cross-contamination for this worried Celiac.

Amy- Sorry about your first impressions...but I'm glad the end result was you actually enjoyed the pizza!

Krista- Thanks! Glad you found us, FINALLY! ;)

Ellen- The pizzas are prepared in their own pans. Then the pans are transferred in and out of the oven. So there is no direct contact of the pizza with the oven or utensils. Of course, you'll have to decide what you think about that...but I hope you get a chance to enjoy some.

Wow- it looks amazing! It makes me wish I lived in NYC, just for the pizza alone.

I can't resist mentioning that I did list Mozzarelli's hours of operation at the top of this story. :)

I have to say - the pizza at Mozzarelli's is good but I went today and was very upset. I asked if they had any GF pizza and the guy said no, it would be at least 30 minutes. When I asked why, he basically said it takes to much time and energy to make sure it's made properly. Now, I really do understand that, why advertise - especially get your name on this website and then act like that. I'll have to think twice before going back.

Hi folks - I had a whole pile of Mozzarelli's pizza in the past few days...and, FIRST, let me say that the rumors of delicious GF pizza are TRUE! This pizza is SOOOO delicious - it rivals or beats anything else out there for flavor. The PROBLEM is, I am probably the most sensitive celiac you've ever met, and I HAD A REACTION to Mozzarelli's pizza. A MILD reaction, most likely due to cross contamination. To read the full disclosure, go to the link below. I think this is due to the presence of typical pizzeria "high gluten" flour and the GF-crust flour, cheese, toppings etc all being handled in the same facility -- airborne gluten contamination. I'll still eat that delicious stuff on occasion, but please be aware you are probably getting some small dose of gluten with every slice.

Hi there,

I am an Australian celiac living in NYC and am so grateful for your blog. Just wanted to get the message out there that it can be so much easier for celiacs the world over - the food and beverage labeling laws in Australia are a HUGE help. In Australia, if there is any ingredient that has come from wheat, oats, rye, barley or malt, then by law this must be stated on the label. Therefore, if you do not see the words "wheat", "oats", "rye", "barley" or "malt", then you can be 100% sure that the food is safe for celiacs. May I suggest that this be lobbied in the US as well?


ok so i went today and tried the gluten free pizza. i'm vegan so i ordered a pie with no cheese, just sauce with spinach and it was INCREDIBLE.
anyway onto the important part:
while there i saw a sign on the counter. on sunday november 4th from noon to 6pm the entire store will be ALL GLUTEN FREE. salads, pizzas and sandwhiches. they will wipe down the entire kitchen the day before. everyone should check it out and support such a great establishment.

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