When I found out I was lactose intolerant, I went through the stages of grief. Not all of them, mind you - like many of you who can't enjoy dairy without a comfortable toilet at hand, I have refused to accept my lactose intolerance. I've definitely cut down my dairy in the years since, but I just can't take it out of my life entirely.

I mean, if dairy isn't safe, why is it so delicious?


Still, for my stomach's sake, I do try to search out non-dairy alternatives to my favorite foods. The greatest challenge I found, however, was finding tummy-safe pizza. Strangely, for all the modern awareness of food intolerances, allergies, and lifestyles, pizza restaurants haven't adapted.

My first go-to was Zpizza, located on the 395 where Orangetheory Fitness is now. They were the only option I could find to order pizza with gooey, melty "cheese." When it shut down around 2019, I was left grasping for lactase pills, until I finally found new options.

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Where you CAN'T get dairy-free pizza

Most major pizza chains don't offer a non-dairy alternative to cheese. That means if you don't want to whip out your pills and pray, you'll have to avoid Papa Johns Pizza, Pizza Hut, Domino's, Round Table, and Little Caesars. There is one chain pizza place in Tri-Cities that does have non-dairy options though - if you can't guess which it is, just keep reading.

Obviously, you could order pizza without cheese at these locations, but where's the joy in that?

Okay, so where CAN I get a pizza that won't murder my stomach?

While there's a lot of pizza places in the Tri-Cities, your options to get a pizza with lactose-free cheese are very limited. There's only two I know of.

Vegetarian pizza
Papa Murphy's Take and Bake

Papa Murphy's Take and Bake Pizza

There are a few Papa Murphy's around Tri-Cities, and thankfully, they offer dairy-free mozzarella that you can build your own pizza with.

Unfortunately, I haven't personally tried Papa Murphy's - after a bad experience many years ago (in another state, before I was lactose intolerant), I haven't ordered there since. Don't let my experience deter you though - our local Papa Murphy's are highly rated!

sliced cheese pizza surrounded by topping options
MOD Pizza

MOD Pizza

MOD has become my go-to, as they offer dairy-free mozzarella along with a great variety of toppings and sauces. There's no extra charge for picking this vegan option, and MOD is very reasonably priced, making it an excellent pizza choice any time of day. (Warning though: their No Name cakes are highly addictive but not dairy-free.)

My favorite combo is mega-dough with pesto, dairy-free cheese, chicken, plant-based sausage, arugula, with balsamic fig glaze.

Will we get more lactose-intolerant options in Tri-Cities soon?

I certainly hope so. It's really surprising how few options we have out here. If restaurants can offer gluten-free crusts, why can't they offer dairy-free cheese?

Of course, I may also be missing some options, especially if they're "off menu". If I did, please let me know - I'd be happy to try them and add them to the list! Just tap the button below if you're in the app, or head to our feedback page.


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Gallery Credit: Rik Mikals

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