Dude 3 was diagnosed with his first food allergy when he was two years old.
It was a long time coming, after years of gastrointestinal issues (yep, we’re talking about explosive diarrhea here, and gas, really intense gas), eczema, and upper respiratory complaints, we finally got the diagnosis we were expecting: nut allergy.
We got the epi pen we had to take every place with us. We were told to avoid nuts of all kinds for at least a year. We had to check labels, and remind grandparents, and warn friends and teachers and neighbors and babysitters. And remind grandparents.
It was a thing.
A thing that altered every part of our day to day lives.
And then, when it was nearly time for kindergarten to roll around, our doctor said he wanted to do some testing and really see where we stood on things. We needed to know his food allergy status so we could ensure his safety at school.
When all was said and done, we received the all clear for Dude 3 to enjoy nuts as he desired (for the record, he does not desire, because ew, gross), but we also discovered he has a mild allergy (probably more like an intolerance) to eggs (which goes to explain why he gets hives from time to time and continues to battle eczema during certain times of the year).
We allow him to enjoy eggs (because they are like top 5 on his list of favorite things to eat), but we try not to over indulge since when we do he has to struggle. And by struggle I mean rip his skin off with itching and wind up passed out, face down and part naked on the floor in the playroom from Bendaryl. (Don’t ask me why he’s naked, I never know.)
We’re fortunate that none of his intolerances are at the potentially fatal level anymore, but whenever possible, we elect to limit his exposure.
We love places that make doing so easy and we love it even more when one of those places is a venue our entire family enjoys.
Dear Allergy Families, meet Red Robin.
Probably many of you already have.
It is hands down DudeDad’s and Dude 1’s favorite place to enjoy a weekend burger, and a fun outing for family dinners.
But, best part is, they’re allergy friendly.
Allergy Eats (all parents of kids with food allergies know this site) has named Red Robin one of the “Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Chains” for the past three years in a row, making them one of the go-to choices for families with food allergic members.
As part of Allergy Awareness Month, Red Robin asked me and The Dudes to go out and test how easy and, dare I say, friendly, their interactive allergen menu is when it comes to allowing families like ours to enjoy a safe meal out together.
Y’all know we don’t turn down free food.
Allergy Friendly Restaurants: 5 Things to Know About Allergy Friendly Eating at Red Robin
1. It’s easy. Their interactive menu makes it super easy to select options that are safe for your food allergic family members to enjoy. It’s even accessible from a mobile device (and it’s not one of those lame ones that takes forever to load. I loaded while we waited and knew what to order by the time we sat down at our table.)
2. The menu is comprehensive. Of course it doesn’t take into consideration every single potential allergen, but they do cover many. The interactive menu allows you to customize your meals in order to avoid 9 different allergens. You can choose to eliminate shellfish, gluten, peanuts, milk, eggs, wheat, fish, treenuts, and soy.
3. The menu is inclusive. Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, it tells you what you can. It provides you with suitable options based on your selections instead of focusing on the items you should avoid.
4. The staff is trained. And there is a specific procedure. When you notify your server that your family has a food allergy, they have a special alert to notify the kitchen staff. Red Robin kitchens use a special allergen kit to prepare food for those with food allergies. The special alert system notifies them that they need to be careful and proceed with the kit to prevent cross contamination.
5. They want you to customize. It’s sort of a thing at Red Robin. Even those without allergies are encouraged to build burgers and other meals they crave. So, when it comes time to make something unique for the food allergic patron, doing so isn’t even that big of deal and it’s one of the few places that you and your allergy family don’t have to feel like “those people”. We all get sick of feeling that way.
Want to take a trip to your Red Robin and give their menu a try?!
Fine, fine, a meal on me (and by me, I mean Red Robin).