Since we told you about the organic pizza spot Pizza Fusion early last year, the eco-friendly franchise has been expanding across the U.S. — fast. In the last year, two Pizza Fusion spots have opened up in my neighborhood — and I've already visited the Hollywood location twice!
Los Angeles is home to many fad dieters, strange diet practitioners, and picky eaters, where any and all food preferences and intolerances get their own aisle in grocery stores and special diet-specific eateries about town. But now, all these factious groups can dine together — at a casual organic pizza spot.
Pizza — generally considered a red-flag item not just for vegans but also for the lactose, soy, wheat and gluten intolerant and environmentalists trying to avoid rBGH, high fructose corn syrup, hormones, preservatives, and factory farmed meats — seems like an unlikely unifier for the picky healthy dining crowd. And granted, pure raw vegans won’t have a lot of options. Everyone else, however, can find something tasty to order!
Each Pizza Fusion spot is a little different, featuring local produce and products, varying wine and beer menus, and unique quirks. I stopped by the Hollywood location — owned by sister and brother duo Michele Orlando and Craig Orlando along with their mother — to find that vegans actually get a selection of "cheeses" — the local Follow Your Heart's soy cheese or Daiya vegan cheese — while their gluten-sensitive friends can select toppings to go on a gluten-free crust. Afterwards, the two can split a dessert — the vegan, gluten-free brownie!
And lactose-intolerant ethical omnivores like me won’t be able to resist a dairy-free pizza on a toastily crunchy whole grain crust, topped with a wide selection of certified humane meats — free range chicken, organic pepperoni, sweet Italian sausage, bacon and more — all with a glass or few of organic and sustainable wines and beers.
My favorite dish during my last visit was the appetizer — stuffed mushrooms filled with goat cheese and spicy sausage — a perfect mix of rich flavors cooked up in juicy mushrooms. As for the pizzas themselves: I’m a picky eater — but luckily Pizza Fusion’s build-your-own option lets me get exactly what I want, how I want it. I loved the pizza I built myself with fresh, flavorful organic veggies and goat cheese. The BBQ Chicken Pizza (top photo) was decent, but I did find the BBQ sauce — used in lieu of tomato paste on the pizza — too sweet for my taste.
The gluten-free vegan brownie is moist on the inside and deliciously chewy on the outside — but is really more of a cross between chocolate cake and a brownie, since the dessert is more fluffy and less solidly dense like a real brownie.
All ingredients at Pizza Fusion are free of nitrates, antibiotics, and chemical preservatives, but organic certification diehards can easily select an all-organic meal with a quick glance at the menu — which lists all organic items in green letters. And since vegans can get everything on a vegan crust with vegan cheese, all pizzas and most dishes are very easily veganizable. Gluten-free eaters will be happy to know that the restaurant’s kitchen as a separate section to keep its gluten-free dishes uncontaminated from the rest of the menu items.
Eco-friendliness isn’t just reserved for the food. At Pizza Fusion Hollywood, you’ll find reclaimed wood tables, walls with low-VOC paints, countertops made of recycled granite, and artwork printed on recycled soda bottle material. Servers wear uniforms made with organic fiber — and yes, organic pizza deliveries are made via a Prius.
Opting for pickup? Bring your box back for a quarter off your next order. Pizza Fusion now has locations in seven states; check the restaurant locator to see if there's one near you!
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