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2010-03-25 / Business

Get your pizza — gluten free

BY ROBERTO ACOSTA

Cottage Inn store owner Kevin Gordon shows off a gluten-free pizza his store began offering on March 1. Photo by Roberto Acosta Cottage Inn store owner Kevin Gordon shows off a gluten-free pizza his store began offering on March 1. Photo by Roberto Acosta GRAND BLANC — A Cottage Inn Pizza in Grand Blanc is now offering an alternative for those customers who share a common food allergy that still want to enjoy a pizza pie.

The location at 12830 S. Saginaw Rd. began offering a gluten-free pizza on March 1, along with the Cottage Inn in Fenton. Store owner Kevin Gordon said there was a growing demand for the pizza from customers who suffer from celiac disease.

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that damages the small intestine and disrupts absorption of nutrients in food. People who suffer with celiac disease cannot eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Symptoms of celiac include abdominal pain and swelling, vomiting, constipation and weight loss.

Franchise operations director Greg Bossie said the dough used to make the gluten-free pizzas cost around three times more than the kind used for regular pizzas, but he was glad to give families whom have a member suffering with celiac a chance to enjoy the product.

“I’m just excited that there’s more opportunity for people to try our products,” he said. “It’s the joy of people being able to eat our pizza again.”

The cost for a gluten-free pizza is a little higher and it comes in just one size, starting at $9.99 for a medium and $1 for each additional topping. Toppings prohibited from the pizza include steak and sausage, both of which contain wheat particles.

Bossie said he’s heard from a family in the Holt area that switched to gluten-free pizza because it offers a healthy alternative to the regular product.

Gordon said the original Cottage Inn restaurant in Ann Arbor would make their own gluten-free product in the store. The product was introduced in Brighton in June 2009, Gordon said, where family members of owners suffered from celiac and in the Pinckney area.

“It was decided the product was where we wanted it to be to meet our standards,” Gordon said, with Bossie adding the feedback has been “100 percent postive.”

Precautions are taken in preparing the gluten-free pizzas, so as not to crosscontaminate the product with flour used on other meals prepared in the kitchen. Gordon said his staff of 15 employees has received training on how to properly make the pizza, including such precautions as using different cutters and minimizing the use of fans in the kitchen to keep down particles in the air.

The gluten-free dish will soon be available wider in the Flint market, after employees learn the precautions that might come during preparation. Gordon said around 15 gluten-free pizzas have been ordered since it was made available at his location, and the store plans to get the word out with an advertising campaign in April to let more people know about the alternative.

“It fills a little bit of a void we have with our customers,” Gordon said of patrons whom suffer from the digestive disorder.

“This will give them (families) an opportunity for everybody to eat something together,” Bossie said.

For more information on the gluten-free pizza available at Cottage Inn, call 810- 695-6650 or visit www.cottageinn. com.

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