With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

04 July 2009

Food Allergy Friendly Restaurants in Pennsylvania

It's that time of year again. I am making preparations for our annual summer road trip out to see some relatives in the Pittsburgh burbs, and as usual I am looking for new "safe" restaurants for our young peanut allergic family to try. I feel like a Food Allergy Veteran at this point. We bring a box full of "safe" foods, picnic frequently, and always grab a couple Ian's frozen allergen-free meals once we get to our destination. That makes meals with the relatives so much easier!

I know there are the chain restaurants with their allergen-free menus and I know we can eat and have eaten at certain fast food joints. I hear Cici's is a peanut-safe pizza place and there are a few on the way to Pittsburgh. It would be a great to try a new place that is making an effort to be food allergy friendly, and preferably not one of those chains! Allergen-free menus are great, and while I appreciate the awareness from all those chain HQs, let's face it, sometimes the local restaurant staff still don't "get it", despite the allergen-free menus and best efforts of the HQ staff.

So if you've got a tip for a restaurant worth a try let me know. Email me at jenniferATfoodallergybuzz.com. I will write about our experience so it's a chance for some good publicity (or not-so-good publicity). We'll be in the Greensburg vicinity outside of Pittsburgh but may head into Pittsburgh as well.


Lise said...

Bonnes vacances!

Gina Clowes said...

Hi Jennifer,
If you're in the greater Pittsburgh area, I'd try Mad Mex. There are several. They are fantastic with food allergies, especially the one in Cranberry Township.

We literally never went out to eat until we discovered Mad Mex.

Chipotle is another option. That is more fast food type mexican. You can ask to see an allergen card. You will want to double check but if I recall correctly, I dont think they have any peanuts or tree nuts on the premise.

Have a nice trip! If you're going to be around in late August, let me know. Maybe you could stop by one of our local meetings!

Unknown said...

Thanks for your comments, Lise and Gina, and for the tips too!

Unknown said...

Hi Jennifer,

I sent this as an email too. Check out Eat 'n Park www.eatnpark.com.

I got the following email from them regarding their child's menu a few months ago.

Subject: Child's Menu
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2009 17:42:19 -0500
From: rholden@eatnpark.com
To: elizabeth650@hotmail.com
CC: comments@eatnpark.com

Dear Liz,

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the allergens in our children’s menu. I have listed below all of the selections on the children’s menu and the top eight related allergens.

Eggs – that is obvious
Bacon – soy in the smoke
Sausage – none
Pancakes – milk, egg, soy, wheat
Waffle – milk, soy, wheat
French toast – egg, milk

Grilled cheese – milk, wheat
Hot dog – wheat
Hamburger – wheat
Cheese burger – wheat, milk
Pizza – wheat, milk

Chicken fingers – milk, egg, soy, wheat
Fried fish – milk, wheat
Spaghetti with meat sauce – milk, soy, wheat
Spaghetti with marinara sauce – wheat
Macaroni and cheese – milk, wheat
Grill chicken – none

Jell-O – none
Fresh fruit – none
Fresh broccoli – none
Fresh sugar snap peas – none
Cole slaw – milk, soy
Cottage cheese – milk
Applesauce – none
Chili – none
Tossed salad – wheat in the croutons (see dressings)
French fries – soy (They can be baked in our ovens nicely!)

Italian, fat free – soy
Italian, light – soy
Thousand Island – egg, soy
Balsamic – soy
French – none
Ranch – milk
Blue cheese – milk, egg, soy
Sweet and tart – soy
Strawberry dressing – soy

Smiley cookie – wheat, egg, soy, milk

Also note that we fry only in Canola oil but are fryers are dual use. That means that it is possible that fish and shellfish can be cook in the same fryer as our fries.

A commercial kitchen operates at a very fast pace. I strongly recommend that you bring you allergy concerns to the attention of the manager so that special attention to your order is assured.

Thanks again for your email. I hope I have been helpful. Please feel free to contact me if I may be of additional service

Regis Holden, CEC CCA
Director Menu Development
Eat’n Park Hospitality Group

Take care and travel safe.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Elizabeth! This is exciting--2 new restaurant tips. Will there be more? I am anxious to see what we come up with! :)

Nowheymama said...

Elizabeth beat me to the Eat n' Park recommendation. We've been very happy with their service.

Wave as you drive by us!

Jenny said...

Good luck with your trip! I'm curious to see what eating spots readers suggest. This is always the tricky party of traveling with food allergies.

kelly said...

have a great trip! i love that photo you posted!!

Anonymous said...

Not sure if you made your trip yet or not but there are a couple Red Robin restaurants in the area and they are very good about allergies. you can e-mail their corporate office for the menu and then tell the server when you get there. My son is GF/CF and we also stop at the couple chick-fil-a restaurants in the Pgh/Greensburg area.