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Gluten Free Dining
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I understand that there are quite a few restaurants that have gluten free menus.  My question is, do most of these restaurants prepare the gluten free items to where they will not be cross contaminated?  Applebees, Chilis, Red Robin:  these are just a few of the places that I know have gluten free menus.  Any ideas?

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I had an amazing experience at a Red Robin in Miami, FL. Our server explained to us that all of the servers have to attend a class on how important very specific standards must be followed for the gluten-free diet. I had the same experience at an Outback in Springfield, MO, where I had the opportunity to chat with the proprietor.

 

That said... I live in the middle of nowhere in northern Arkansas. In our town is a Chili's... that's it... except for all of the fast foods and pizza places I can't go to. The last TWO times I visited I did all I could do. I spoke to the manager and extensively with our server. Both times I had to send back my food... salads that the menu said contained no gluten but arrived with fried flour tortilla strips throughout. When I have to send back my food in a case like that, I do not order anything else. My trust is gone. We've not been back for a "third chance."

 

Even restaurants that have awesome gluten-free menus and are very aware can make mistakes. PF Changs is one that comes to mind. I've been several times and never had a problem and then I'll read about someone's awful experience. It's all kind of a crap shoot...

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Hi Jvhuff and Welcome to the Forum. 

 

Most restaurants do Not have a separate preparation area and that is where the risk comes in.  The first question you should ask is if there is a prep area and decide from there if you will be safe.

 

Good luck. 

 

Colleen 

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I have had great experiences at Red Robin.  It was the first place I went out to eat after my diagnosis.  They have a dedicated gluten free fryer and you can get gluten free buns or a lettuce wrap.  No symptoms!  I have since gone back successfully.  Yay, french fries!

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Seriously, Dianaw!! I was almost teary at the thought of being able to have a burger (w/ a Udi's bun) AND fries.

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After not eating out for well over a year after a bad glutening from a local place who's owner was gluten free and everyone was trained, I did try red robin. A friend ate there who also has to gluten free and said they would be safe. It was good and I didn't get sick. I talked to the server, told her I had celiac and would get very sick, that it wasn't a fad diet for me. She said she has to flag my order and would let them know but that they are very careful. After I took one bite I told my husband the bun tasted almost to good to be gluten free. I kept waiting all night for symptoms to start but they never did. I would go back again.

No matter where you eat, go in the off times when they're not busy. That way you can actually talk to the person making your food if you don't feel comfortable after talking to the waiter. The kitchen can take their time and be a lot more careful about cross contamination.

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There are more and more restaurants that I have eaten at that are gluten free. I have a very strong wheat allergy and cross contamination is one of my fears. I really like Red Robin, let them know you have a gluten allergy and order the gluten free bun. I have never been contaminated there.

 

I also have had good luck with Carrabba's restaurants. They have a small but very good gluten free menu...the chicken trio was excellent!

 

At Applebee's they will give you an allergen sheet, easy to decide what you can have there...

 

Friday's will assist you in ordering gluten free....we go there often.

 

Try them out and good luck!

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Last night I was at one of my safe places, Buku in Raleigh, and had the honor of meeting the young chef who is responsible for them having a full gluten free menu. He was so sweet, I had to stop myself from giving him a bear hug, and only thanked him profusely. They have separate facilities and ingredients for gluten-free items because he is celiac and has educated the owners and staff. There's another place in Durham that does the same. I've started asking, and have been surprised at how many places now have this kind of attention to detail. Of course, there are still shocking examples of very good restaurants that are just not going to be accommodating at all. I'm slowly building my list of places, but have been hampered because twice I went to one place that assured me they were safe, but both times I got sick for weeks afterward. They make their own pita bread, so now my policy is, if there is flour flying, I won't eat there.

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"At Applebee's they will give you an allergen sheet, easy to decide what you can have there..."

 

 

 

 

Applebee's (at least by me) recently cut their gluten free menu in half.  I could have cried.  The only things left on the menu are items I do not care for.  I no longer eat at Applebee's.

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"At Applebee's they will give you an allergen sheet, easy to decide what you can have there..."

 

 

 

 

Applebee's (at least by me) recently cut their gluten free menu in half.  I could have cried.  The only things left on the menu are items I do not care for.  I no longer eat at Applebee's.

That is actually good to hear. The original gluten-free menu was not very gluten-free. It contained things like French fries fried in the same fryer as all the breaded stuff. Not a safe menu at all!

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