Getting Easier to Eat at Restaurants with Food Allergies!

"We've come a long way, baby!" was my thought recently when we settled in to a lunch at a nearby Red Robin. As soon as we said "food allergy", we were given an electronic tablet with their fully customizable Allergen Menu


I couldn't help thinking back to another lunch with my food allergic child 12 years earlier. A lunch we walked out of before our food was served. This was after the waitress came back to our table and burst into tears, saying the kitchen staff was making fun of food allergies and hinting that they may "do something" to the meal we ordered. 

Seriously, this really happened.

Now, restaurants are on the hook for taking food allergies seriously. Legislation in several states, such
as Virginia, Rhode Island and Massachusetts require food allergy training for restaurant employees. While there is not a national mandate for restaurants, work continues on the local and state levels to make restaurants accountable when notified of food allergies. Right now, it's still often a hit-or-miss prospect when eating out.

That's why I am so happy to see that  AllergyEats, has released its 2015 list of Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Chains nationwide.  These chains have the highest ratings on the AllergyEats’ website and smartphone app, which is based on feedback from the food allergy community about how restaurants accommodated food-allergic diners. 

And the winners are:

Most allergy-friendly large chains (50 or more restaurants):
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill (4.41 rating)
  • P.F. Chang’s China Bistro (4.39 rating)
  • Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (4.39 rating)
  • Outback Steakhouse (4.32 rating)
  • Mellow Mushroom (4.29 rating)
Most allergy-friendly small chains (fewer than 50 restaurants):
  • Maggiano’s Little Italy (4.74 rating)
  • Burtons Grill (4.69 rating)
  • Legal Sea Foods (4.64 rating)
  • Joe’s American Bar & Grill (4.63 rating)
  • Not Your Average Joe’s (4.63 rating)
I'm thrilled to see some of our favorites on here. Overall, though, we've found that with proper planning- talking to manager/chef in advance, bringing a chef card to the restaurant and clearly explaining what is needed for a safe meal- many restaurants today are quite accommodating and well-educated. 

Where have you eaten recently?

For more information, or to rate or search restaurants, please visit 
Please note that I am not endorsing any particular restaurant and I encourage those with food allergies to talk to their doctor about the risks of dining in restaurants.

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