Eating Out: Allergy-Aware Restaurants
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Chipotle Mexican Grill
1,450+ restaurants in the U.S., Paris, London, Toronto and Vancouver
The ability to accommodate food allergies is a helpful by-product of Chipotle’s simple menu. Though wheat (flour tortillas), dairy (cheese and sour cream) and soybean oil are used in their eateries, along with eggs (for frittatas) at two airport locations, their menu is free of peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.
With an allergen request, Chipotle’s staff is taught to change gloves, protect the workspace and use clean serving utensils. They are then trained to prepare every order based on exactly what the customer asks for, whether it’s omitting the dairy toppings, preparing a burrito bowl sans tortilla, or skipping the warmer with corn tortillas to avoid cross-contamination.
Sandwiches and salads
39,000+ locations globally
This ubiquitous sandwich shop is a haven for transparency. Both online and onsite, they offer a cross-referenced allergen menu plus ingredient lists for each menu component. The mix and match format offers numerous choices for dining without dairy, gluten, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts or seafood.
Diners oversee the entire food preparation process, and can ask that the staff use cross-contamination precautions, from new gloves to a pre-packaged knife for sub slicing.
At test market locations in Duluth, Minn., Dallas/Fort Worth and Tyler, Texas, Gig Harbor/Tacoma, Wash., and Portland, Ore., you can request gluten-free bread for your sub and enjoy a gluten-free brownie for dessert.
Zpizza (U.S. only)
Pizza, sandwiches and salads
100+ locations in 16 states
Would you like shiitake mushrooms and a drizzle of truffle oil on your Top 8-free pizza? The crafty artisans at Zpizza will be happy to oblige.
With a focus on quality ingredients, this rapidly growing chain offers a traditional, organic wheat or gluten-free pizza crust; your choice of organic tomato, pesto or garlic sauces; mozzarella or vegan Daiya cheese alternative; nitrate-free meats or veggie crumbles; and an abundance of fresh produce toppings.
To ward off cross-contamination of food allergy orders, their pizza tossers use clean cutters and a separate preparation area.
Pizza Pizza (Canada only)
Pizza, sandwiches and salads
380+ locations in Ontario, Quebec, Winnipeg, Regina and Halifax
Besides providing a diverse menu that is free from peanuts and sesame, this trend-setting eatery introduced a gluten-free pizza crust in 2008, along with stringent procedures aimed at preventing cross-contamination.
Food suppliers are closely reviewed and must submit all nutritional and allergen information. For easy accessibility, Pizza Pizza provides allergen information in-store, online and via their call centre.
“We’ve had very positive response to our food allergy innovation,” says a Pizza Pizza spokesperson. Beyond the pies, guests can order a salad, chicken wings, pasta or hot Italian sandwiches.