These are a few of my favorite things – helpful managers and different fryers! For dinner Saturday night in Columbus, we decided to try BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. This was my first visit to BJ’s, but they recently built a new location close to my apartment in Cincinnati, so I was eager to see what it offered. When you think “bar and grill” type restaurants, it can be tricky to find menu options that are safe with allergies. While they have a big kitchen, restaurants of this type also have wide varieties of food options on the menu. Depending on what’s being fried or what is being cooked in certain areas, ensuring no cross-contamination can be difficult. For this reason, I’ve always had the toughest time eating at Applebee’s and O’Charley’s!!
While we were waiting for a table at BJ’s, we let the restaurant manager know about my food allergies and he was able to provide me with their food allergen sensitivities menu. After a quick scan through, it seemed like I could eat almost anything on the menu, making me feel a bit skeptical. It seemed too good to be true! Even though their items may not have the allergen directly in them, was there really no threat to cross-contamination? My biggest worry was fried food as I thought no way would their allergen foods be fried separately.
I talked through my concerns again with the manager and server, and indeed, no shellfish were fried in the fryer and no peanut oil was to be found. Score! The meal was an allergen-free success!
While BJ’s was a success for me, it is still important to ask for the allergen menu every time and talk over your allergies with an employee of the restaurant to double check their kitchen prep policies. The more times the conversation of allergies can get back to the kitchen, the more comfortable I feel. I always think if I tell the waitress an extra time to jot a note about the allergies, I am just a bit more safe when my meal arrives.
Anyone else have any positive restaurant stories?
PS – Featuring my favorite Columbus peeps in the picture!