A Review of Peanut Allergy Friendly Restaurant "Red Robin"
Posted Jan 14 2009 8:46pm
I was so excited when I saw that the restaurant " Red Robin" has a special peanut allergy menu. I looked on their website and found a few in our area. We visited one on a short road trip to try it out.
(If you missed my series where I used our trip to show how traveling safe with a peanut allergy is possible, click here.)
When we arrived, I was excited to see how cool it was going to be to have a place that totally "got it" about Tyler's peanut allergy. My hopes were a little short lived but not totally dashed. When we sat down, the waiter asked if we had been to Red Robin before. I explained we had not but we were trying it because we understood they had a special "Peanut Allergy Menu."
"Peanut Allergy Menu?" was the teenager's response. He looked confused and I'm sure I looked disappointed. I told him maybe all of the Red Robin's didn't have what I read about. A few minutes later, however, he was back with the special menu.
This poor kid was either new or it's not a request they often get. Nevertheless, I was happy to get it. The whole packet was 5 pages long. The first page explained they did everything they could to ensure the accuracy of the menu but could not guarantee that their distributors did not change something without notice. They do, however, update the menu monthly so I felt satisfied with it. (They are covering themselves legally here and I understand that.)
The second and third pages showed the states and specific cities that the menu applied to. Yes, I checked and the one were were at was on there! Of course, they probably wouldn't have brought me the menu if they weren't!
The fourth and fifth pages had the actual menu. Part of that was the "Kid's Menu" we ordered from. There were interesting things that were not on there like French fries, chicken nuggets, pizza, and apple slices. My husband thought it was a mistake but I knew it meant they were being very thorough and totally understood cross contamination risks.
Tyler chose a hamburger with cantaloupe wedges. Here is a picture of him enjoying his meal:
(Note: you can see his medic alert bracelet while he eats!!)
OK, here is the paragraph where I admit I made a boo-boo at this place. I did not see in fine print under the burger that it says to order it without the "Red Robin Seasoning." Ugh!! We had absolutely no reaction but I didn't see the fine print until I got into the car after eating. (My 21 month old was wild and I was trying to keep him happy while I read the menu. Not an excuse, I know :( ) My guess would be this stuff must be processed in a facility with peanuts. Thankfully my mistake caused no harm but I was so upset for the first hour or so!! Hopefully the waiter or someone caught my dumb mistake.
When we nearly completed our meal, a manager came out to ask if this was our first time in. We told her it was and why we were visiting. I kept thanking her for providing a menu like this. She explained how they do thoroughly understand the seriousness of food allergies and how they are very careful to keep things separated in the kitchen. I told her what a relief to find a place that understood! My husband noticed she did not speak to anyone else so we are guessing she made a special trip out to see us since we were "special."
The food was actually relatively good. My other son and I both got chicken quesadillas and my husband got a pulled pork sandwich with French fries.
I will note one thing about this place: they do have peanuts in the kitchen. They state that on their disclaimer. Sometimes that makes me very uncomfortable, particularly when I can't see the prep area. But I think they absolutely "get it" when it comes to food allergies. They also have other allergy menus (gluten free, etc).
In the end, I felt comfortable eating at Red Robin (despite my own mistake!). We have one closer to our house that we plan to visit occasionally. I would recommend it to anyone dealing with a peanut allergy.
I do not know about the legality of me publishing their peanut allergy menu on my blog, so I will not. If you are interested, please send me an e-mail (see side bar for address) and I will scan a copy for you.