Dairy-Egg-Nut has inspired our family to ‘step outside the box’ this March Break. After much deliberation over restaurant ‘Allergy Guides’…one restaurant was chosen…The Lone Star Texas Grill.
Quite surprisingly, Lone Star Texa Grill does not officially have a breakdown of food allergens for their menu listed in their ‘Allergen Guide’. However, what they do have is a very inviting message to those with food allergies who would like to eat at the Lone Star Texas Grill.
The Lone Star Texas Grill ‘s ‘Allergy Guide’ states, “At Lone Star, Guest food safety is number one. If you have any special food allergies, sensitivities or dietary needs, please speak to your server before you order. All our servers are well versed in the ingredients of our menu items.”
“While we cannot guarantee the absence of any allergen, due to the potential for cross-contaminationand potential traces of allergens in sauces, marinades, cooking processes and menu adaptations we will do our best to accomodate your requests.”
Click here to view Lone Star Texas Grill’s Allergy Guide.
Right away, after reading the above ‘Allergy Guide’, I felt inclined to call the restaurant to speak with the manager about Michael’s food allergies…dairy, egg, beef, lamb, sesame, fish, shellfish, peanut/tree nuts, mustard and raspberry…and Matthew’s food allergies…peanut/tree nuts.
The manager was very helpful and understanding of my boys’ combined food allergies…he assured us that the Lone Star Texas Grill would be able to meet our food allergy requirements. Adding, that many of their food allergy customers are repeat customers…very reassuring indeed!
Questions for Michael’s meal:
Is there a separate fryer for the french fries? Apparantly, there is a separate fryer that just fries the corn chips that are served complimentary. Michael’s fries would be fried in that oil. (corn chips were free of his allergens)
Is there mustard in their Original Texas Barbecue Sauce? Yes…ribs are not allergen free.
Is there mustard in the seasoning of their chicken fingers? No, they would toss real chicken in a flour, salt and pepper mixture and would fry them in the same oil as his french fries.
Perfect…just what Micheal was hoping for…Chicken Fingers with fries…done.
Questions for Matthew’s meal:
Are the buns free of peanut/tree nuts? Yes.
Perfect…Matthew would order “Bubba’s” Smoked Brisket.
The manager reassured me that the manager would oversee the cooking of the boys’s meals, the hostess and waitress would be made aware of the boys’ food allergies, all cutting boards and utensils used in the making of the meals would be separate from the other food…I was sold!
From the moment we stepped in to the Lone Star Texas Grill, our family was made to feel very welcome indeed.
Our hostess greeted us at the entrance…after a quick introduction, she smiled and reassured us the restaurant was ready for us and seated us near the back of the restaurant, by the kitchen.
The manager then greeted us at the table…he was very patient as I re-relayed the conversation I had had with the manager on duty at the time I had called. I had forgotten to ask about the salsa that is served with the corn chips and the plum sauce for the chicken fingers while on the phone with the other manager…the salsa and plum sauce were free of his food allergens.
The manager then re-reassured me that the kitchen was well experienced in cooking for anyone with food allergies. Relaying that our waitress was also aware of our food allergies.
Next, our smiling waitress arrived…she was equally patient as I re-relayed the specifics of our food allergy requirements. Drinks and our meal were ordered.
The first to arrive were the still warm from the fryer, corn chips and salsa.
Michael tried one, smiled and happily dug in to the pile…soon a second order arrived…where were the drinks?
Finely, the drinks arrived to quench the thirst of the ‘corn chip munchers’…soon to be followed by our dinner.
Michael’s Chicken Fingers and Fries with a side order of carrot and celery sticks…which, I might add, he did actually eat!
Michael inhaled his meal…happy to report it was delish…although he could have done with a few more of the french fries. (Note: Michael’s fries just had salt on them, whereas, Matthew noted that his fries had a sort of spice on them)
Over the course of the meal…Michael ‘absorbed’ his fair share of Iced Tea!
I imagine the sodium content of his entire meal was the culprit!
Overall…I would rate this meal a huge success!
At the end of the meal…the manager recommended that Michael try the Chicken Fajitas on his next visit. The tortillas, which they bake in house, were safe…the chicken would not be brushed with a garlic butter and would be grilled on a separate grill…the Saddle Beans and Mexican Rice would be safe as would the Salsa.
If Matthew had had room for dessert…he would have been able to have had the ice cream…
For anyone that does not live with multiple food allergies…the notion of going our for dinner may not seem like such a ‘big deal’. But for our family…it will be a moment we will remember for always because it was a ‘big deal’!
The fear is real…the consequences of eating something that one is allergic to is real…the need to be specific and careful about ingredient lists and how food is prepared, cooked and served is real.
Not everyone ‘gets it’…all I know is I’m sure glad the managers, hostess, waitress and cooks at Lone Star Texas Grill did!
Know, that on our next visit to Lone Star Texas Grill…I would still be calling ahead to go through the same food allergen questions to assure myself that the restaurant is prepared for our every visit…never assume!
I would love to hear about your experiences eating out at restaurants with food allergies.
P.S. At ‘The Allergy Eats! Blog Your Allergy Friendly Restaurant Blog“, they have specifically written a post titled, ‘The Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Chains in America’. Click here to check out their top 5 restaurant chains in the categories of large, medium and small chains.
P.P.S. I was very saddened by an article in Sunday’s edition of the Toronto Star.
Twelve year old Maia Santarelli-Gallo, died a ‘mysterious death’ this March Break while out shopping at Mapleview Centre in Burlington, Ontario. Her parents believe she died from an unknown food allergy…her body may have gone into anaphylactic shock. Maia had some food intolerances…but was never prescribed an Epipen by a doctor.
A sad reminder of how dangerous food allergies can be if not fully investigated.
My thoughts and prayers are with Maia’s family. Click here for the full story.