1. Research what restaurants offer allergen information or a gluten free menu. I created a binder of our family's safe restaurants allergy info to bring with us when we were going out. If you do this, be sure to check the website often as the information changes. Thankfully, due to the rise in allergies and people avoiding gluten, more and more restaurants are releasing information and special menus. They want our business.
2. Call the restaurant ahead of time (during off meal hours works best for more focused attention) and discuss with the manager or chef which foods you need to avoid, what their preparation practices are, if there might be cross contamination issues (for example, are the fries cooked in the same oil as food you cannot eat) and what options you would have to order.
3. Remember your Epi-Pen! (If your doctor has prescribed one for you)
4. Upon arrival, speak to the manager to let him/her know your allergy/sensitivity so they can take special precautions. And always verify at the restaurant, that the ingredients are truly safe. Sometimes the ingredients may change or may vary depending upon location.
I'd like to help alleviate one of the steps by providing you a list of restaurants that offer allergen info or a gluten free menu. Most restaurants will not guarantee that their menu items are allergy free, you need to always double check when you get there. Just use this resource as a starting point in your process of researching where you can go. Don't be afraid to ask to see the ingredients on the packaging yourself. I have had many restaurant employees carry boxes out for me to read the ingredients. Since there are so many different names for wheat on ingredient lists, I don't always expect the restaurant employee to have that kind of knowledge. (For help learning how to read labels go to The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network) Most of the time, the employees are happy to help. If you know of any more restaurants to add to this list, please add them in the comments with links to the information.
- Andiamo (MSP area)
- Bittersweet Gluten Free Bakery (contains egg)
- Boston Market
- Buffalo Wild Wings
- California Pizza Kitchen
- Carlos O'Kelly's (click on "Gluten Free Menu" at the top right of the regular menu)
- Carl's Jr.
- Chianti Grill
- Cold Stone Creamery
- Dairy Queen
- Doolittles Woodfire Grill(MSP area)
- Famous Dave's BBQ
- Godfather's Pizza (Their gluten free pizza contains egg)
- Granite City Food & Brewery
- Green Mill Restaurant and Bar
- Jack In The Box
- Leeann Chin (information available upon request in store, not online)
- Moe's Southwestern Grill
- Noodles & Company
- The Old Spaghetti Factory
- Olive Garden
- Pei Wei
- P.F. Chang's
- Pizza Luce (MSP area)
- Potbelly Sandwich Shop
- Red Lobster
- Red Robin
- Ruby Tuesdays
- Sonic Drive In
- Starbucks (On the left side bar, you can select which allergens you need to exclude-AWESOME!)
- Steak 'n Shake
- Taco Bell
If you have a smart phone you may want to look into the app called "Onthego Icaneat" by glutenfreepassport.com . It currently includes allergy information from 26 restaurants. You can set your food allergies and it will show you only safe items on their menu. (Of course it's still a good idea to double check when you order at a restaurant to make sure nothing has changed and ensure it's safety)
This list may not work for you, depending on the severity of your food allergy. But hopefully, it will be a starting block in helping you research the information you need.