Monday, March 10, 2014

Allergy Eats Names the Top Chain Restaurants for Food Allergies in 2014

Some of my favorite restaurants are those that really cook. You know what I mean – they buy food, create menus, and make every meal from scratch. These restaurants know what it is the food they are making, and are usually the most adept at being able to modify a dish to accommodate food restrictions. I am very fortunate to live in an area that is ripe with these types of restaurants. But they are expensive and tend to be for special occasions.

That’s where the chain restaurants come in. In some ways, accommodating a food allergy at a chain is a bigger challenge – they have menus set by corporate and must prepare food that is delivered to them. It’s similar to buying processed food at the grocery store. Their only option is to not serve a dish, or to leave something out if someone they are serving is allergic to it. And, of course, there are safe practices – how they handle the food once it’s in the restaurant.

In my area, there are two chain restaurants that top my list: Red Robin and Bonefish Grill. They always make use feel welcome and we have never had an issue there. When I am in Boston, Legal Sea Foods is usually my first choice. When I’m looking for a fast meal in the city (that would be New York City), it’s Chipotle Grill.

Allergy Eats recently released their list of the top chain restaurants, based on customer reviews (including yours and mine), on a scale from 1 to 5. Here are the results:

Large (over 200 units):
  • Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (4.45 rating)
  • P.F. Chang’s China Bistro (4.43 rating)
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill (4.41 rating)
  • Outback Steakhouse (4.35 rating)
  • Romano’s Macaroni Grill (4.20 rating)

Medium (50-200 units):
  • Bonefish Grill (4.43 rating)
  • Ninety Nine Restaurant (4.28 rating)
  • Mellow Mushroom (4.26 rating)
  • Uno Chicago Grill (4.24 rating)
  • Bertucci’s Brick Oven Restaurant (4.17 rating)

Small (under 50 units):
  • Burtons Grill (4.90 rating)
  • Maggiano’s Little Italy (4.73 rating)
  • Papa Razzi (4.68 rating)
  • Legal Sea Foods (4.67 rating)
  • Not Your Average Joe’s (4.66 rating)

Yes, all of my favorite chain restaurants made the list. And that’s the beauty of crowd-sourcing data. I’ve never been to a Burtons Grill or a Mellow Mushroom restaurant, but I would be far more comfortable doing so knowing they scored such high ratings!

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