It can be easy for us to get lazy.  We get comfortable ordering out at restaurants and then suddenly we’re glutenized and sick.  I am an optimistic person when it comes to restaurants adding gluten-free items.  I like to think that they’re going above and beyond to ensure they’re making perfectly gluten-free food.  But last night I had an experience that proved me wrong.

First off, don’t worry, no one got sick. — Thankfully!

Just the other day I mentioned on this blog that my brother had a great experience when he stopped at Red’s Savoy Pizza in Hugo, Minnesota.  The company website not only touts gluten-free pizza, but mentions a sister pizzeria in Coon Rapids, which is closer to my home.  So I called and tried to order a pizza. Boy, was that a bumbling conversation.

When I called, I explained that I understood they had gluten-free pizza and the woman who answered the phone said yes. Then I asked her which toppings are gluten-free.  She replied saying she didn’t know what I was talking about.  I was very surprised.  So I probed further.  I asked how they made their pizzas, she said with the crust, then sauce and cheese and toppings.  Then I said, “Exactly, toppings…which toppings are gluten-free?”

The lady continued to be confused asking me how it was possible any of their toppings could contain gluten? I explained fillers that could be in the toppings…I didn’t even get to the the topic of cross contamination.  Finally our conversation ended — of course with me not ordering anything.

What a disappointing experience.

In my “Land of the Gluten-Free”– everyone who considers adding a gluten-free menu, also considers the education and changes that need to happen with employees and in the kitchen.  I know there are places who have done this.  And I applaud you!  This absolutely is the way it should be!

But in this case, the person on the other end of the line had no idea what I was talking about and when I asked for someone who might have more information, she said she was the person who could answer the questions.  Bad idea.

Please — restaurants I implore you — don’t just do gluten-free to do it.  Do gluten-free, because you want to, there’s a market for it, and that you’re passionate to do it right.  Need any help?  Any gluten-free blogger in your city can point you in the direction of experts who can make sure you’re on the right path to a safe gluten-free menu.

In the meantime, we celiacs and people with gluten-sensitivities need to be vigilant in checking in with restaurants to make sure ingredients and kitchen preparations are safe for a gluten-free meal.

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2 Responses to “Why you Always Double Check Gluten-Free Status at Restaurants”

  1. This is a great post. I really think that our risks in eating have two components;

    1. Ingredient risk = Do we actually know what is in the food?

    2. Contamination risk = Were there other items used in the preparation other than the ingredients?

    Unfortunately, even when we break out the risks, we still have to double check the ingredient risk every time. All that we know is that past indications of what foods were okay may be an indication of future food safety, but they certainly are no guarantee.

    Better luck next time – it is great that you shared this experience!


  1. Please, Do It Right. @ My Favourite Number

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