The Tempest

Gluten-free pizza that ‘Rocks’

Pizza Rock pizzeria in Sacramento offers equal parts style and substance.

Steve Reczkowski

Pizza Rock pizzeria in Sacramento offers equal parts style and substance. Steve Reczkowski

Steve Reczkowski

Steve Reczkowski

Pizza Rock pizzeria in Sacramento offers equal parts style and substance. Steve Reczkowski

Steve Reczkowski, Staff Writer

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Flat, dense, nasty cardboard-like flavor. Mmmm, sounds like a gluten-free pizza crust. Celiac’s disease sufferers and fad dieters alike pay upwards of $20 for these premium-priced piccolo pies at popular parlors like Amicis, Mary’s Pizza Shack, Pizza Pirate, Extreme Pizza, and even Dominos. The ho-hum, “it’s better than nothing” gluten-free pizza has been available for several years now. Surprisingly, non-pizzeria contender BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse makes the most palatable of the gluten-free pizzas in this east coast native’s opinion.

Enter Pizza Rock. A stylish pizzeria / bar / practically nightclub located in downtown Sacramento. The pizzeria offers two gluten-free gourmet pizzas with the option of converting any other menu pie with a five dollar up charge. The gluten-free pancetta gorgonzola pie ($18) was dreamy, but I was skeptical upon its arrival at the table. Under the restaurant’s candle level lighting, I spied a two-inch high mountain of salad sitting on top of a perfectly good twelve inch pizza. Was there a restriction on plates due to California’s current state of drought? Nope, these were the mixed greens promised in the pizza description.

Well, I started forking away at the salad summit separately because it seemed like the right thing to do. Once I chipped away at enough of the greens well-dressed in light balsamic vinaigrette, I grasped one of the six slices and bit down into heaven. And this is a gluten-free pizza, mind you. The crust was light, airy and dare I say reminiscent of a thinner and less greasy Pizza Hut crust? Is it sacrilegious comparing a gourmet pizza crust to an aging fast-food pizza franchise? My apologies to Tony Gemignani, 2007 World Pizza Cup winner and creator of Pizza Rock.

The melding of salty smoked pancetta, creamy mozzarella and gorgonzola cheeses with the greens tossed in vinaigrette was a party in my mouth hole. I started to regret eating the greens separately from the outset as the pairing with the cheeses and bacon was just perfect. Gluten-free pizza just had the bar raised ten times over. This review addresses less than five percent of the menu of world champion pizza maker Gemignani’s menu. If he can craft a great gluten-free pizza, I can only imagine what tantalizing tastes lie in the rest of his creations.

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Gluten-free pizza that ‘Rocks’