Monday, February 18, 2013

AllergyEats Announces the Top-Rated Restaurant Chains for Food Allergies

The AllergyEats app has been available for just a few years, and many with food allergies and restrictions – including my family – have benefitted from it. It’s been especially helpful when we are on the road and need to find a “safe” place to eat. But the real value of an application like this might just be the larger insights it can bring. For example, AllergyEats just announced the top-rated restaurant chains, based on all the ratings it has gathered.

Here’s how the chains stack up in the AllergyEats database, with my personal thoughts:

Large (over 200 locations):

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers
(4.47 rating)
My view: I’m not sure I would have thought to pick Red Robin, and yet it’s one of my favorite go-to restaurants and we have never had an issue there. I wholly agree with this rating.

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro (4.45 rating)
My view: While just avoiding gluten and soy, I can eat at P.F. Chang’s very successfully. However, when we have attempted to eat there with my son’s multiple food allergies he was only able to eat white rice and steamed veggies.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (4.38 rating)
My view: Love this place! They have food-allergy preparation techniques down to a science.

Outback Steakhouse (4.34 rating)
My view: It works.

Longhorn Steakhouse (4.30 rating)
My view: I have never eaten there.

Medium (50-200 locations)

Bonefish Grill (4.50 rating)
My view: There’s one down the road. While I like the wine list, my husband will tell you that I always complain that I don’t feel good after eating there. Hmmm…

Ninety Nine Restaurant
(4.22 rating)
My view: Never eaten there

Zpizza (4.22 rating)
My view: Never eaten there

Uno Chicago Grill
(4.22 rating)
My view: It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten there. We may have to try again.

Bertucci’s Brick Oven Restaurant
(4.13 rating)
My view: Never eaten there

Small (under 50 locations):

Burton’s Grill (4.88 rating)
My view: Never eaten there. Note the near-perfect rating. I have to be on the lookout for this chain.

Maggiano’s Little Italy
(4.76 rating)
My view: I have only eaten once at a Maggiano’s and my gluten-free pasta was great!

Not Your Average Joe’s
(4.73 rating)
My view: Never eaten there

Legal Sea Foods
(4.65 rating)
My view: Love! I go out of my way to eat at Legal Sea Foods. I'll eat there multiple days in a row if I'm in Boston.

Papa Razzi
(4.64 rating)
My view: Never eaten there.

The reason I haven't eaten at some of these chains is simply because there isn't one near where I live or where I have traveled.

Keep in mind that this assessment only considered chains. Some of my all-time favorite restaurants – restaurants that do more than accommodate or restrict ingredients – are local restaurants with just one site. These include restaurants that change their menus frequently, use local ingredients, and have the ability to cook something special for you. These are not included in this assessment.

Note that even the fifth-ranked small chain has a higher overall rating that the highest-ranked small chain. Is smaller better?

What’s your take on this list? Are your favorites included?


Mary said...

The chemicals and GMOs that chain restaurants use in their food are most likely one primary contributor to proliferation of food allergies. In addition they are a big part of agri-business. Do you really want to support these businesses?

Colette said...

Mary, you make a good point about the foods these chains use, although it's not proven that they contribute to food allergies. I, for one, much prefer to eat at restaurants that use "real" food. Nevertheless, "trusted" chain restaurants are a great thing to know

Anonymous said...

Colette, you'll have to share the local "creative" restaurants with me. Am tired of eating salad everywhere I go. I want to tell the server to let me in the kitchen and I'll show the chef how easy it is to be creative!