When my almost two-year-old son was diagnosed with a soy, dairy, egg, peanut and shellfish allergies last year, my husband and I panicked. We travel a lot. My husband works in the hotel industry moving us all over, and leaving us dining out often. While we made all the needed changes at home (no more store bought bread, etc) we learned to ask all the standard questions any food allergy parent does. “What type of fryer oil do you use?” “How is X cooked?” “Can you cook our food in a separate pan?” Etc.
Fortunately, I came across AllergyEats.com. This community supported site was founded by a father of three kids with food allergies. Simply check off your allergies, type in the town you will be or are in, select your search radius and you get a list of restaurants that are patron rated for allergies, staff knowledge, and allergy accommodations. The site also contains a great blog keeping you up to date on changes to chain restaurant menus (I just discovered that Wendy’s is changing their menu for the first time since 1969 and it includes now buttering some of their rolls) a list of allergy friendly bakeries and more.
While the site is not the end of our series of questions we ask before we sit down, I have found that most of the reviews are accurate and it makes me feel more comfortable walking into a restaurant knowing that we won’t get the dumb stare or the look of panic that sets in when you tell some servers or hosts about your needs.
I’ve since downloaded their app for my android phone and vacation was made so much easier. We were finally able to NOT feel the need to eat soggy sandwiches that had been sitting in a cooler at a park or rest stop for the first time. We simply did a quick search, drove five miles, and were met with a smile. How refreshing is that?