I have lived for nearly thirty years on this Earth without ever eating a single cheeseburger. How have I accomplished such a feat? Being deathly allergic to dairy and eggs certainly helps. All jokes aside, eating out with deadly food allergies can certainly be more stressful than it’s worth. Here are some chain restaurants I’ve encountered who always have stellar, food allergy friendly service.
1. Red Robin
Red Robin is a popular chain restaurant that is particularly famous for its great burgers and brews. Another detail the restaurant doesn’t get enough credit for is its fantastic food allergy friendly menu. What’s great about their interactive menu is that customers can pick and choose which allergens they have to avoid.
The menu will then show options that are safe, as well as possible substitutions. For example, I picked dairy and egg, and then clicked on the classic cheeseburger. The Red Robin menu had a swap button next to their premium mayonnaise that allowed me to choose from multiple other dairy and egg free options. The menu even narrows down items for vegan patrons. Check out the interactive menu here: https://www.redrobin.com/pages/allergens/menu/
2. Yard House
Yard House is another classic haven of Americana, with a varied menu that is a foodie’s dream. Personally, every visit to my local Yard House has been refreshingly relaxing. Every server takes food allergies seriously, and many automatically take the time to speak to the manager or chef to make sure my allergen requests are safely accommodated. If you’re planning a visit, simply request an allergy menu that a server can print out for you that shows the entire menu and which foods contains the 8 major allergens.
Unfortunately, while they do have the ability to print out the allergen menu in person, it is not available on their website. However, they do have printable gluten-sensitive, vegan-friendly, and vegetarian menus online. Check those out here: https://www.yardhouse.com/dietary-restrictions
3. Firehouse Subs
Firehouse Subs not only supports first responders, but patrons with food allergies as well. Like Red Robin, Firehouse Subs has a fantastic interactive food allergen menu on their website. As someone who is deathly allergic to all dairy and egg products, Firehouse Subs was an incredible surprise. Not only do the employees at multiple locations always take my allergies seriously, they are always careful to clean their knives and cutting boards to prevent cross contamination.
My favorite sub there? A large brisket sandwich on white bread with extra barbecue sauce, hold the mayo and cheese. Check out their cool interactive menu here. https://www.nutritionix.com/firehouse-subs/menu/special-diets/premium
4. Mellow Mushroom
I had pretty much accepted early in life that I would never be able to partake in a tasty pizza. Then I discovered to my utter joy that Mellow Mushroom also had a great interactive allergen menu. Being served a large pizza with vegan cheese and pepperoni seemed almost too good to be true. Due to the severity of my allergies, I can tell if something has milk or egg after just one bite. Needless to say I took a lot of bites out of the Mellow Mushroom pizza, and I’ve been a frequent flyer there ever since.
Check out their interactive allergen menu here: http://www.nutritionix.com/mellow-mushroom/portal
5. Pei Wei
The Japanese Teriyaki bowl with tofu has always been my classic safe standby at Pei Wei. Most of their meats are marinated in egg so the tofu is the only suitable option for someone with an egg allergy. Pei Wei is another one of those restaurants where every single server always takes my concerns seriously. Not only that but Pei Wei also has a great allergen menu on their website.
Check it out here. http://www.peiwei.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/nutrition-info.pdf
These are only a few restaurants out of many that I’m sure take suitable food allergy precautions. I’m cautiously eager to try new places but these five have always been reliable and food allergy friendly. Check them out for a stress free dining experience.