It’s a scary thing to have a child with serious food allergies. Once you may have had to forgo a night out or cook up something ahead so your child would be safe. As the world becomes more aware of food allergies and just how dangerous they can be, you and your children gain more options.
How to Plan Before Eating Out
- Select a restaurant that doesn’t use the ingredient your child is allergic to.
- Check the menu online first. See if it is easy enough to get something your child likes and can eat.
- Do a Google search using the restaurant’s name and the phrase “allergy menu” to see if they offer one.
- Stay away from risky venues like buffets and bakeries where foods are in close contact with possible allergens.
- Avoid restaurants that serve pre-made foods. The staff may not know exactly how it was prepared.
- Call ahead and speak to the manager so you can rest assured that the restaurant guarantees its allergy policies.
- Check beforehand when it’s slow. This will be the best time to go since there will be less chance of mistakes in the kitchen.
- Prepare and carry a Food Allergy Alert Chef Card to share with those preparing the meal.
Top 7 Allergy Conscious Restaurants
More and more restaurants are aware of food allergies and sensitivities. These large chains have made it on the AllergyEats list. They are also kid friendly.
Maggianos – This fine dining choice is a go-to for many with allergies. It made the top of AllergyEats list this year because the whole staff is aware and knowledgeable about allergens. The wait staff asks if anyone has allergies before they take your order. The menu shows which foods have top allergens in them. The chef will even discuss safe options with you. A kid’s menu is not provided, but they will cater to everyone’s needs.
Red Robin – Long a family favorite that caters to both kids and adults, Red Robin now offers even more healthy options for kids and has a detailed ingredient guide for those with allergies. Though the Red Robin mascot is no more, it’s still a restaurant you can feel comfortable taking your kids to while also enjoying it yourself.
Chipotle Mexican Grill – Food with integrity is their mission. They choose food sources carefully so it’s best for you, the farmers and the environment. They have a great kid’s menu as well as an allergen menu.
Mellow Mushroom – Now if you want gluten-free pizza, this is the place to go. Here is their allergen menu, but they make no guarantees about cross contamination.
In-N-Out Burger – This popular burger joint has cared about food quality for years. They have milk and soy free options and guarantee their food does not contain common allergens such as peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, shellfish or fish. Their whole menu is gluten-free except for the buns, but they will wrap your burger in lettuce as needed. Here is their allergen chart.
P.F. Chang’s – Though they don’t have a kid’s menu, they do offer simple favorites like chow mein and chicken with broccoli. The clearly state all the ingredients on their website and will cater to your needs. Children with allergies or even your picky eater can get what they want along with a toy and easy to use chopsticks. Here is the allergy menu they provide.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill – Who doesn’t love to color? Fun and informative placemats provide entertainment for the kids while you wait. Many favorites are on the kid’s menu and Romano’s will modify as needed. Here is a detailed listing of possible allergens.
Though chains try to set a standard for all their restaurants to follow, it’s best to call ahead to the particular restaurant you want to visit. Ask them about their allergen policy and whether they are willing to cater to your child’s needs. Here is a guide about what to ask from FARE, Food Allergy Research & Education.