Monday, July 14, 2008

Restaurants and Food Allergies - Places We Eat, Places We Don't, Places We Wish We Could

Over the weekend my husband Mick asked the repeated question he frequently ask..."Is there anywhere else we can possibly eat besides McDonalds. AGAIN!!" Dining out with food allergies, and especially life threatening peanut allergies is a tricky proposition. I knew I had all sorts of random information on my computer about eating out with food allergies, but had not centralized all of our exciting web friendly restaurant options in one list of allergy friendly restaurants. So everyone, here it is. Places we eat, places we don't and places we wish we could.

Conor's peanut allergy is anaphalytic, so I generally only take him to completely peanut free restaurants. I have a friend who works at one of these restaurants and one night she told me what she thought was a very funny story. This is a sit down restaurant with a separate kitchen, chef and waiter, etc. Anyways, a little boy ordered a hot fudge sundae for his dessert. When he took a bite he told his mother it tasted strange. The mother tasted it, and immediately called over the waiter. Apparently someone in the kitchen had accidentally put teriyaki sauce on the ice cream instead of fudge. Yikes!! This put fear into my little heart. If you can put teriyaki sauce on ice cream, how can I be sure you won't accidentally cross contaminate my son's food despite the fact that I have repeatedly told you about his life threatening peanut allergy.. I figure the only way to be somewhat safe is to have a peanut free restaurant. Then it would be hard (but not impossible) to make this sort of mistake.

Thankfully Conor is not as sensitive to egg, so I am not as concerned about eating out with his egg allergy. I really have no clue how those of you dealing with more serious egg, milk, etc allergies survive. I have trouble just dealing with what is on our plate. (pun intended)

  • A &W Restaurants

  • Arbys

  • Burger King
  • Look for nutrition page has clear allergen info

  • Chipotle
    I love Chipotle. It is one of my many peanut free restaurant options. They also are egg free, and no fish free. Since we only have peanut and egg allergies it is one of the few places we can go into, and Conor can eat anything on the menu. Also it is not so fast food yucky, and they have great burritos and chips. Sometimes I even go there alone, just because I like the food, and not because it is the only safe option.

  • Chuck E Cheese

  • I was surprised to discover that Chuck E. is actually within our comfort zone. Although it is not my favorite place in the world we went quite a few times over the years. Thankfully recently Conor is deathly afraid of that big scary looking mouse guy, so we have not been in a while. One of the last times we were there, Chucky just seemed a little off. Kids were following him around trying to say hi, and Chucky just wanted to play video games. He is kind of a scary looking mouse......Then I started really looking at those sort of distorted pictures of kids on the walls, and all the lights, loud noises and blinking games, and I started to get a little freaked out myself.

  • Chili's

  • Dunkin Doughnuts

  • Domino's Pizza
  • Believe it or not, we now live in an area that Dominos pizza does not deliver to. Can you believe it???? What is this world coming to? Western civilization as we know it is breaking down. We live within 30 or so miles of San Francisco, but no Dominos Pizza here. Before we moved to this Domino's devoid area, we felt it was safe and ordered from them quite a bit.
  • Jack in the Box

  • In and Out Burger
    Although they have no ingredient information on their website, I have previously emailed them, and was told there were a peanut free restaurants. The only potential danger was the milk shakes, as they could not verify the source they came from to be free of cross contamination. I have heard that as far as fast food restaurant chains go they are very allergy aware, and have even called people in response to email inquiries. We also eat here way too much, and have never had a problem.

  • Kentucky Fried Chicken

  • Krispy Kreme
    We used to go here when we thought Conor was only allergic to nuts. WoooHooo peanut free doughnuts. It is a great safe dessert option if you are only dealing with nut allergies.
    The only animal by-products used in our doughnuts are eggs (whites and yolks) and dairy products (including milk, butter, yogurt, whey, nonfat milk and nonfat whey). Our doughnuts are cooked in zero grams trans fat shortening (palm, soybean, and/or cottonseed and canola oil). All monoglycerides and diglycerides are vegetable based. Enzymes are also present. The lecithin we use is soy based. We also use wheat in our doughnuts, including bran, germ, gluten, starch and flour. Our products may contain allergens. To get further information about our products call us at 1-800-4KRISPY.

  • Macaroni Grill

  • McDonalds I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with McDonalds. I love that they are within our comfort zone and we can get safe ice cream and hot fudge sundaes there. I hate most of the food there, and the way they can get my children to beg to go there simply to get the ever exciting Happy Meal toy. Yes, we spend way, way, way to much time at McDonalds. Just be careful if the person at the table next to you happens to open up the sealed package of peanuts with a careless disregard for the peanut allergic.

  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Papa Johns

  • Pizza Hut

  • Quiznos
  • Quiznos has a wonderfully clear allergy table that clearly lays out all the foods that are peanut free, egg free, etc. We have actually never eaten there before, but it appears that they have a peanut free restaurant. Next time we are in the neighborhood we will have to stop by and try it out.

  • Subway

  • Taco Bell
  • Taco Bell also appears to have no nuts on their restaurant menu. They also have a great clear allergy page. This is another exciting option for us that I had not really checked into before. Also near where we live is a Taco Bell right on the ocean. It is supposed to have the best view for any fast food restaurant. Ever!!! I know where we are going next time someone is in town for a nice dinner out.

  • Wendys

    Yes, that is right, someone has actually started a blog dedicated entirely to eating out with food allergies. This blog writer is my hero!! While I love to provide useful information, I also love to write little bizarre antidotes about fictional characters like Mr. Peanut or Mr. Food allergy. She has lists of restaurants in different cities around the country, chains and fast food restaurants with actual quotes from the web sites about their food allergy policies. Go check it out!! It is awesome!!!!.

    Can I Eat There
    A blog entirely dedicated to eating out with food allergies.

    People with food allergies should contact restaurants or companies directly to confirm allergen information. Allergy sufferers should check all ingredients before eating, every time. Comments from the Peanut Free Gallery, its authors and contributors, are not responsible for how this information is used or any allergic reactions that occur as a result of using information provided on this site. Comments from the Peanut Free Gallery authors are not, and do not claim to be, doctors, nurses, nutritionists or any type of health care provider/practitioner. The content on this blog should not be considered medical advice.


    Anonymous said...

    Thanks so much for compiling all this information. I recently stumbled across your blog and have smiled while reading it! The restaurant listing is great! Thanks so much! :)

    Karen said...

    A list of nut free bakeshops

    Jennifer said...


    Thank you so much for the list!!! It is great!!