Reader response to last week's column revealed more gluten-free pizza offerings to choose from in the Naples area.
Here's a good sampling:
■ Just discovered that Naples Flatbread and Wine Bar also has gluten-free pizzas and flatbreads (same dough – different shapes). Their stuff is pretty good and right now they are doing some weekly specials. We tried it last night for a light dinner (split a flatbread and a salad along with a glass of wine each) and they seem to do it well. — Edward Kant, Naples
■ I highly recommend Cafe Luna on Fifth Avenue South in Naples for gluten free-pasta! I have not had their gluten-free pizza, but if it is as good as their pasta, it should be terrific! — Marlene, Naples
■ My husband and I own RedBrick Pizza and we just finished reading your article regarding “Where is gluten-free pizza in Naples?” We cannot tell you how excited we are to present our gluten-free pizza to Naples! Beginning Nov. 1, RedBrick Pizza is proud to announce gluten-free pizza! Our café is not a gluten free establishment; but we utilize a separate bake and prep process to minimize any potential for cross contamination.
— Randy & Carol Trombino, RedBrick Pizza, 6355 Naples Blvd. (directly across from Hollywood 20)
Thank you, readers, for helping me get the word out to folks with special diets. Thank you, restaurateurs, for catering to this special clientele.
This week, I sampled gluten-free pizzas from Cafe Luna in downtown Naples, Naples Flatbread & Wine Bar in North Naples and Pizza Fusion in Fort Myers. They all make good pizzas with different rice flour doughs. I don't feel you can go wrong with this trio. They each offer something special in a different way.
But everybody has unique tastes and has their own perfect pizza in mind. Try the GF pizza place nearest your home, or make the rounds and sample what's out there for yourself. Let me know what you learn. Take the poll.
Here's a quick rundown:
■ Naples Flatbread & Wine Bar, 6434 Naples Blvd., North Naples, and in Miromar Outlets, 10801 Corkscrew Road, Estero: 11.5-inch GF Pizza, prices range from $11.99 for Classico cheese Neapolitan pizza to $17.99 for the Lobster Thermidor flatbread pizza. CLICK HERE for Naples Flatbread menu.
■ Pizza Fusion, Bridge Plaza, 12901 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers: GF crust available in 6-by-9-inch personal pizza (add $3 to regular price) or 9-by-18-inch large pizza (add $5). CLICK HERE for Pizza Fusion menu.
Good gluten-free recipes, especially concoctions trying to match something as personal as a pizza, are not easy to come by. It took a lot of trial and error before Cafe Luna found the perfect pizza.
"We experimented with a number of different recipes," said Ed Barsamian, owner of Cafe Luna. "It is absolutely fabulous."
Naples Flatbread developed its own recipe, too, but brought in a guy familiar with pizza crusts to help, said owner Ralph Desiano.
"We worked on it with an expert, so we were able to tweak it," he said. "If you look at what is available out there, we have some of the more flavorful and boldest products."
In addition to taste, though, people who must adhere to strict gluten-free diets obviously need to keep their health and safety in mind. If this is a concern to you, closely check out each establishment before ordering.
Restaurateurs are aware of possible cross-contamination in the kitchen, so have made adjustments accordingly to keep GF items away from wheat products.
"You have to keep it separate," Desiano said. "We keep everything separate."
Each Naples Flatbread GF pizza bakes in its own aluminum pan using utensils only used with GF pizzas. In addition to special pans and utensils, Cafe Luna prepares its GF pizzas in the walk-in refrigerator to keep it away from regular work stations.
"Everything is separate from the normal operation," Barsamian said.
Photo by GREG KAHN // Buy this photo
More news for Southwest Florida foodies:
■ Naples Stone Crab Festival this weekend will feature food and drink specials in the Tin City restaurants of Pinchers Crab Shack and Riverwalk, as well as other waterfront dining spots in Bayfront, Crayton Cove and along Naples Bay. In addition to a block party from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, the festival includes music, children’s activities, and specials on Sunday, too. You'll also be able to sample Texas Tony's BBQ, soon to open in East Naples. The Stone Crab Festival is part of the two-week CityFest in Naples.
■ Lindburgers, 330 Ninth St. S., is under new ownership and has been renamed Lindburgers and Bottles. Todd and Sandra Brooks recently relocated from Kansas City and took over the Naples restaurant operation as of Oct. 1. They now serve all organic meat, and chicken can be substituted for the establishment's numerous hamburger varieties. The Brooks put in a bar and soon plan to feature wine, hence the addition of "Bottles." They also remodeled and brightened up the place a bit.
■ Cheers Sports Bar & Family Restaurant opened Friday in the former location of La Casita Mexican Restaurant on Marco Island. The new owners, Bob and Sharon Brotzman, kept some of La Casita's favorites in the menu section South of the Border for the new restaurant, located at 1817 San Marco Road in Shops of Marco.
■ Wylds Cafe, 4271 Bonita Beach Road, will be open every day of the week beginning in November. The Bonita Springs restaurant, which reopened Oct. 1 after a seasonal closing, is open Monday through Saturday this month.
■ McDonald's 14 restaurants in Collier County, all owned by Adams & O’Reilly, Inc., have teamed with the Collier County Supervisor of Elections Office to increase voter awareness and promote voter turnout by using red, white, and blue tray liners that include voting information regarding the Nov. 2 general election.
New shopping opportunities:/
■ Aarons, a chain for lease-to-own and retail appliances, electronics and furniture, quietly opened Oct. 1 in East Naples at 3831 U.S. 41 E., the former Naples Towne Centre location of Pure Fitness. The grand opening for the more than 10,000-square-foot store is scheduled for Nov. 18-20. The Atlanta-based company operates more than 1,700 stores in North America, including other area stores in Golden Gate, Fort Myers and Cape Coral.
■ hhgregg, which feature televisions, electronics, appliances and mattresses, opens its two stores in Southwest Florida at 3 p.m. Thursday. The Naples store, 5052 Airport-Pulling Road N., is in the former location of Circuit City in Carillon Place. The Fort Myers store is in Sam’s Club Plaza, 5100 S. Cleveland Ave., in space previously occupied by OfficeMax.
■ Publix's first hybrid concept store, marrying a traditional Publix supermarket with its GreenWise Market store and more, will open in North Naples at 8 a.m. Thursday. The Marketplace at Pelican Bay store will open in the former Albertsons location, 8833 U.S. 41 N., on the southwest corner of Vanderbilt Beach Road and U.S. 41.
■ North Naples United Methodist Church's Farmers Market opened its season on Saturday. The weekly market, held at the church, 6000 Goodlette-Frank Road N., from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through April, features fresh produce, seafood, baked goods and flowers, as well as many other items.
Find a complete archive of “In the Know” at naplesnews.com/intheknow.