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Bad Experience At Greene Turtle
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12 posts in this topic

I ate at Greene Turtle earlier tonight and wanted to share my experience for those considering eathing there. I went to one in Maryland. Maybe they are not all the same, but, mine was not a good experience. If you want to know the specific location in MD, please PM me.

Anyway so, as of now the jury is still out on whether I got 'glutened' or not. Since going gluten free, I've noticed it's about a 12 hour turnaround time before I get sick. I won't know till 8:00 a.m. ish.

So it's a sports bar. They have a menu which includes yummy things like cheesy fries, hot wings, etc -- things you don't usually see on gluten free menus. Which made it intriuging...yet I was skeptical. I called ahead of time, and the hostess talked to the chef and she said he reassured me that they are "very careful" when someone has a gluten intolerance and that they have a lot of gluten intolerant customers who "are very satisfied."

I felt a little encouraged. I got there, and they remembered me calling, which was a good sign. Also my server was VERY nice.

The problem, in a nutshell, is that they fry EVERything together in one bin, including batter/flour -- which of course rules out the cheesy pub fries and even the chicken wings. Yet, THESE THINGS ARE ON THE GLUTEN FREE MENU. A less savvy gluten free diner might not have thought to ask, and would have been lambs to the slaughter.

It went like this...I asked the waitress if the fries were cooked in a dedicated fryer, because in most places, they aren't. She said "Well, they are on the gluten free menu which means they are gluten free, but let me double check about the fryer." Thankfully she was very accomdating b/c she has a friend who is gluten intolerant.

She comes back and said she has bad news. They are indeed SUPPOSED to have a dedicted fryer for the fries...however, she said, in a "bind" or when things "get really busy," the cooks will just toss everything and anything into that same fryer, including flour/batter. So, scratch the fries. >:( I actually felt momentarily depressed knowing that, in theory, I SHOULD have been able to eat the cheesy fries (which I had been looking forward to all day!), if only the staff took the gluten thing a little more seriously and kept the fryer dedicated like it was supposed to be...instead of cutting corners to save time.

Then, my friend and I decided to split chicken wings instead. I noticed on her menu (the non gluten-free one) that they looked fried. I got a little worried again, but hoped, since it was on the gluten free menu, that they were safe. So I ask the waitress again. She tells me she'll double check.

Aaand she comes back with more bad news. Apparently the chicken wings themselves are gluten free (like the fries)...however, they too get tossed in that communal frier which is also shared with batter and other things. Like the fries. So now I'm extra disappointed, and also bad b/c my friend was looking forward to chicken wings that now she couldn't eat on her own (because we were going to split).

I then tentatively asked about the chips and salsa, also on the gluten-free menu. She went back to check, and, alas, the stupid chips were fried in that same stupid shared fryer. So, scratch THEM as well.

By now I had no faith in their knowledge of what was gluten-free. I didn't want to put my friend out so figured I'd still give SOMEthing there a try. I got roasted chicken so we'll see if I get sick. (I asked for it without gravy b/c, again, at this point I didn't trust that something on the gluten-free menu was actually gluten-free.) We got the appetizer of celery and buffalo dip. Which, unbeknownst to me, had blue cheese...which sometimes has gluten. I ate some of it, tried to pick around the blue cheese...but that's why I'm sitting in fear right now that come 8a.m. I'll be writhing in pain. Oh -- and they added the chips to the dip plate after I had just had the converstation about the chips not being safe. >:(

Again the waitress was super nice and felt really bad. My friend overheard her talking to the chef, saying something like "I can't believe we're mixing everything in the fryer, yet are claiming that these items are gluten free on the menu."

Those menu items are probably gluten free in of themselves, but the staff at this particular location apparently didn't give a crap about mixing them in the same fryer as flour, wheat, and gluten.

Oh...and then my friend got sick right after we ate. Coincidence? She's not gluten intolerant (that she knows of)...but still.

Not recommended.

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Blue cheese shouldn't be a problem. i have seen some info on here that the mold on the cheaper American stuff hasn't seen wheat in generations. Even then the wheat was used to grow the mold, it wasn't added to the cheese. You are likely to get more gluten from the clueless resturaunt.

is this a chain? You should email or write the main office. I would also call & talk to the manager.

Just looked the menu up on line & it says this:

Our management teams and service staff are not trained on the intricacies of Celiac Disease or gluten

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Why would they claim to have a gluten-free menu and then say that? It would really be be better just to ditch their "gluten-free" menu, it seems. As opposed to half-assing it.

"Please enjoy or shellfish-free menu!*"

*Our staff do not have any idea what "shellfish" are, where they would be, or what could contain them, so our apologies if you blow up like a balloon and die. ~the management

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I wonder what else they are doing wrong. With regular food or the drinks. You are lucky the waitress had a clue.

This is call the health department to check them out time. They shouldn't have a gluten free menu if they are not bothering. There are lots of links online (including their own site) referring to their alleged gluten free menu, and lots of write ups in various publications about it. For instance, this link dated 4/15/11 at gluten free philly blog has their Green Turtle logo featured, and says, "the sports bar chain offers a gluten free menu." http://www.(Company Name Removed - They Spammed This Forum and are Banned).com/2011/04/news-notes-april-15-2011.html

edit. Uhm, put the name of the blog into the link. (Company Name Removed - They Spammed This Forum and are Banned).com Don't know why it's doing that. "blogging about restaurants, foods, and events in the Delaware Valley" is spam ?

edit 2. Uhm, The page I am trying to link to, has an ad for THIS website on it, guys! "your special diet superstore." with the little green wheat and the slash logo? Hello ?

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Menic, exactly!! I mean, Outback serves fries, too, which are inherently gluten free. But guess what. It's NOT on the gluten free menu because it's NOT gluten free, because it is cooked in a mixed fryer.

What got me is that they were SUPPOSED to have the fryer dedicated, but get lazy and then contaminate it. Yet, nothing is changed on the menu. And they would have served me those fries/wings/chips if I had NOT asked, I'm sure of it.

And it's even worse that I called them ahead, and they claimed to be 'very careful' about everything.

Takala, I wonder if I should call the health department? It is deceitful and dangerous, frankly. I agree that they should just do away with having a gluten free menu, if this is the kind of crap they are going to pull.

oh, by the way, I didn't get sick thank God. But that's after I ruled out 50% of the menu due to the stupid fryer issue.

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Menic, exactly!! I mean, Outback serves fries, too, which are inherently gluten free. But guess what. It's NOT on the gluten free menu because it's NOT gluten free, because it is cooked in a mixed fryer.

What got me is that they were SUPPOSED to have the fryer dedicated, but get lazy and then contaminate it. Yet, nothing is changed on the menu. And they would have served me those fries/wings/chips if I had NOT asked, I'm sure of it.

And it's even worse that I called them ahead, and they claimed to be 'very careful' about everything.

Takala, I wonder if I should call the health department? It is deceitful and dangerous, frankly. I agree that they should just do away with having a gluten free menu, if this is the kind of crap they are going to pull.

oh, by the way, I didn't get sick thank God. But that's after I ruled out 50% of the menu due to the stupid fryer issue.

I think you should email the main office for the company. They seem to intend the fryer to be dedicated and this outlet is not following the rules.

A manager of a resturaunt that does not have a gluten-free menu told me that they have 3 fryers, one is for only fries. However, she doesn't monitor that if they get busy, they don't use it for something else. She said if they had a gluten-free menu, she would have to monitor the fryer use.

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I'm not sure why you'd ever think a sports pub would be celiac saavy! It's just beer and wings all over the place, even if they claimed a gluten free menu, I'd be leery of it...those places are typically the ones that I just go and have a soda or water and enjoy the company! I've been in a few Green Turtles and I'm not sure I'd eat there if I weren't a celiac, but it sounds like you were lucky to have a waitress who understood..you dodged a bullet there!

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edit. Uhm, put the name of the blog into the link. (Company Name Removed - They Spammed This Forum and are Banned).com Don't know why it's doing that. "blogging about restaurants, foods, and events in the Delaware Valley" is spam ?

People come on all the time and post multiple times with links to their blogs. That is spam. I'm sure that blogger is welcome to buy advertising on this site, just as this site bought advertising on theirs (that logo you mentioned).

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Kareng -- I kinda think I should write a letter. Mostly to say "Stop saying you have a gluten-free menu if you're going to pull these stunts! Keep the fryer dedicated or get rid of it."

And to the next post...I know, sports bars sound dangerous. But the point it, it DID have a gluten free menu. I've done the only-order-soda thing at several different places. But I specifically went there becaues they had it. For instance, a pasta/pizza place seems like the last place a gluten-free person would go...but something like mama Lucia's has gluten free accomodation and crusts and whatnot, so I went.

Grr. However I do agree, I definitely dodged a bullet. :P My poor friend got sick though.

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Okay so, just as an update. Via this thread, I was contacted by Greene Turtle, and ended up speaking to the COO. He was very concerned to hear about my bad experience and said it will be addressed. He also said thee Greene Turtle near me is a franchise so it is not as closely managed as their own restaurants. But he said he's been in touch with them and thinks it's a training issue.

So, although my dining experience was bad, they do care and take the gluten thing seriously as a chain. He said they are indeed supposed to have dedicated fryers, utensils, etc...

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The fryer thing was bad but the blue cheese would have been OK. I would NOT make an issue of the blue cheese.

richard

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The fryer thing was bad but the blue cheese would have been OK. I would NOT make an issue of the blue cheese.

richard

Right. I ate bits of the bleu cheese and did not get sick, therefore it was off of my complaint list. It was the fryer thing mostly, and also that's what the COO was concerned about when we talked. I didn't bring up the cheese again lol. And I didn't really make an active issue of it... they sought me out after I posted and wanted to straighten things out because they were upset to see what I experienced! Which is good, I think.

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