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Dining Out With Food Allergies: Red Robin Restaurants

I have been a loyal customer at Red Robin Restaurants for a long time. At one point, my husband and I frequented Red Robin once a week. It was almost a second home for us.

When my little man was diagnosed with nut allergies (peanut and almond), that was a huge change for us as dining out was no longer carefree and must be planned with extreme care.

One night, as I was reading the forums on Peanut Allergy, I discovered that many food allergy families recommend Red Robin Restaurants. I was so elated to read that this restaurant chain takes food allergies seriously.

Based on the recommendations of fellow food allergy parents and visiting Red Robin's website (which lists an Allergen Menu), this gave me the courage to dine out at Red Robin.

Here's why Red Robin will be a second home for us again.

Visit #1 (North Vancouver location) - September 2014
We visited Red Robin for dinner after a fun (but exhausting) day at the Fair at the PNE. Since we were unfamiliar with dining out with food allergies, we brought our little man's food (just in case). Our server was extra patient and explained they had an allergy menu (on an iPad) which allows you to select the allergens to avoid and based on that, it recommends menu items. She also explained that they have a special dedicated area to prepare food for people with food allergies. Moreover, staff wash their hands and the food preparation area is thoroughly cleaned to avoid cross contact.

iPad with an interactive menu

A manager visited our table and explained their process for food preparation and handling. He also answered all of our questions and took our concerns seriously. We felt pretty elated to hear Red Robin had strict protocol in place. With that, we ordered our little man some chicken fingers, milk, seasonal fruit and ice cream (which we ate). The manager personally brought out our food and made a special note of the allergy restrictions on the little man's meal.

Kid's menu. Best $6 I have spent dining out.

We gave the little man a small bite of the chicken fingers, waited 10 minutes before feeding him more. As we had expected, he ate the food without any reactions. We tipped generously and vowed to go back to Red Robin soon.

Visit #2 (North Vancouver location) - January 2015
After a fun day at the Vancouver Aquarium, we decided to dine out at Red Robin's North Vancouver location again because my awesome brother gave us Red Robin gift cards for Christmas.

As we sat down, I notified our server of the little man's nut allergies. The exact same great service was provided, the iPad with the allergen menu was given to us and the little man's food was delivered by a special server (who I assume prepared the food). This time, the server announced the allergens to us: "No Peanuts, No Treenuts, Red Robin Cheeseburger with Broccoli". We were all quite impressed by the consistency. Again, we gave him a little bit of his cheese burger which he ate without any issue.

We will be back
We have had two great visits to Red Robin's North Vancouver location and look forward to visiting them again. In particular, I liked how Red Robin:
  • Has an online allergen menu
  • Has an interactive allergen menu (on an iPad which they give you)
  • Has knowledgeable and courteous staff who take your concerns seriously and explains their protocol for food handling and preparation
  • Has a special food preparation area for people with food allergies
  • Notes allergens upon delivery of food items

So from this Allergy Mom, thank you Red Robin for making my life a little easier. It's nice to know that dining out is possible when you have a second home to go to.

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