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Romano's Macaroni Grill
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I dined at Romano's Macaroni Grill in Reading, MA tonight and went with what I assumed would be a safe choice - a caesar salad. I went over the restaurant's gluten free policy and made sure to inform my waitress of how serious it was the my meal be gluten free (no croutons, requesting my salad be mixed in a clean bowl, etc). When I received my meal, I again verified with her that it had been cooked gluten free. My mind was put at ease and the meal was enjoyable - until the last bite. As soon as I put that last bite in my mouth a distantly familiar taste flooded my mouth. As I tried to place it, the taste finally hit me....a crouton. Panic ensued and as I examined my dish I found 4 crouton crumbs at the bottom of my dish. Sure enough, less than an hour later I was experiencing the all too familiar bloat and stomach pain.

I will never eat at this restaurant again and I urge you to take caution when choosing this restaurant as well. I took all necessary precautions and despite being assured multiple times by waitstaff and management that my meal was prepared gluten free it was not. If they can't even get a simple caesar salad correct (dressing was on the side so they didn't even have to mix it!) how can you trust them with anything else.

Be cautious and think twice before choosing this establishment.

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Call them tomorrow around 10:30 and ask to speak to the manager. Tell them what happened. Then email the corporate office and repeat what happened. They don't have much of a gluten-free menu but they should still be told. Who knows, maybe someone will care. If they offer you a grit cert, take it. Donate it to the high school for a prize for kids that can eat it. Or give it to your minister.

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This has happened to me so many times at so many places, I usually won't even order salads unless I know there are no croutons in the place at all. Gluten isn't even an issue for me but I do have food allergies and croutons can make me sick. Sorry to hear that it happened to you.

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I actually had a good experience the other day in Indiana. I came to meet some family,and just prepared myself not to eat...just enjoy the company. The waitress asked why and then what food allergies. I told her that I'm allergic to everything and that it's no use. She brought me the allergy menu anyway, and I ordered grill chicken with asparagus. i told them only to use olive oil. It was good and I didn't react. The waitress said that she personally oversaw that the food was prepared safely too. She did say that she had a nephew with severe allergies, so she was aware.

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Macaroni Grill locations now have gluten-free penne pasta, which is prepped using separate cookware.

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I don't know that I would write off an entire chain. Corporate can put as many rules and such in place as they want to. The problem ulitmately lies in the particular location and more specifically, the people that you are dealing with and that are dealing with your food. I would definitely call the restaurant and I would also call corporate. It needs to be brought to their attention. They will never know that there is a problem if you don't tell them. And if they get enough complaints, they will get tired of hearing bad things about a specific location and it will be taken care of!

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Macaroni Grill locations now have gluten-free penne pasta, which is prepped using separate cookware.

Thanks! I don't see this listed on their menu on the website, but it has been confirmed on Facebook.

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I've had the "crouton" issue (croutons, tortilla strips, chinese fried noodles) in every restaurant I've ever visited. We rarely go out anymore.

Not absolutely related... my oldest daughter was the manager of a Macaroni Grill. Knowing my issues, she used to serve a regular customer who had a young daughter w/ celiac. She would take care of them personally... taking the gluten-free pasta they brought from home and cooking it up in a clean pot. Those parents were SO grateful that they could take their daughter to a restaurant and eat safely. Wish there were more managers like that.

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Miss Molly,

Sorry you had a bad experience at Romano's Macaroni Grill. Since you are in the area, you might try the Seadog Brewery in Woburn. ( I know, the name is a little scary for celiacs!) I can vouch for a safe gluten free eating out experience there...salads and especially the pizza. They are a small new england based chain worth traveling for.

Hope you're feeling better!

Mamacita

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I have had three issues with cross contamination at Romanos. The first two times was a gluten containing pasta being mixed with my gluten free pasta order. The third was simply a waiter not knowing what was gluten free and not, as the chicken with the gluten free pasta that was order was breaded. Each time the meal was comped but come on.

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I've been to Macaroni Grill twice now and have had good experiences both times. I ordered the grilled chicken spiedini and it says to make it gluten free, you order without the vegetables that it usually comes with. So I ordered steamed vegetables instead and it came with broccolini and asparagus. Delicious both times! MG is now my favorite gluten free restaurant! Yay for finding a place you trust!

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I went to Macaroni Grill for lunch with coworkers.  I'd checked previously online and found that they had a gluten-free menu, so I had high hopes.  When I ordered, I told the server about my food allergies, and she seemed to understand.  When the food was brought out, mine was actually brought separately from everyone else's (I was happy to see they went to such pains!).  By the time I finished my meal though, I was already having the usual gluten issues.  Obviously the food got cross-contaminated somehow.  I won't be going back there.

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Not had a problem with Macaroni Grill.  I think it depends on how educated the servers are to their allergy menu.

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