Eating Out

Eating out with allergies can be challenging, but there are a few restaurant chains that make it easier. When you visit a restaurant, ask for an allergy menu. Many have allergy menus so you can see what you can and cannot eat. In many cases, they will be happy to send a chef out to consult with you about your options. Be sure to ask questions about the ingredients in marinades, dressings, and spice rubs. These are easy places for allergens to hide.  Here are some national chains that I have found to be friendly to people with allergies:

Chili's:  They have a menu for some allergies, but ask to speak with the kitchen manager.  Although it is not on the menu anymore, most Chili’s restaurants will make the Guiltless Grill chicken platter with steamed broccoli and corn on the cob. Tell them to clean the grill, and NO BUTTER on the veggies. I have had great success with this.
Chili's allergen info online

Applebee's:  They have an allergen menu, but ask to speak with kitchen manager. They make me a plain grilled chicken breast and steamed broccoli. Their Italian glaze that they usually use on their steamed veggies is also soy free/egg free/dairy free. You could ask for it on the side. This is NOT their Italian DRESSING.  It is a glaze (a powder they mix with water).
Applebee's allergen info online 

Ruby Tuesday: I am so impressed with how detailed their allergen menu is. The managers have always been very helpful as well. Here is their current allergen menu:
Ruby Tuesday 2013 allergen pdf

Panera Bread:  They have a binder that includes all of the ingredients to all of their menu items as well as an allergen check list. I LOVE that they have a breakdown of all of their ingredients because at a glance I cannot have the Asian Chicken Sesame salad because on the check list is says that it contains egg. However, if I flip to the page that lists the ingredients for the salad, it shows me that the egg is only in the wontons that they put on top. I can have every other ingredient (the rest of the salad is egg free/soy free/dairy free and no heavy oils), so now I can order that salad if I ask for no wontons!
Other items I enjoy:
  • If you like pumpkin, they have a WONDERFUL pumpkin muffin. It is soy and dairy free! It does contain egg. 
  • Their chicken strawberry poppy seed salad is another option that tastes wonderful. It does contain pecans though (which I am allergic to), so I just ask them to leave them off.  
  • The Iced Green tea - ahhh...this is so refreshing and yummy and is soy/egg/dairy free. 
  • Their French baguette is also surprisingly egg/soy/dairy free.

McAlister's Deli:  They have an allergen binder/notebook.  Just ask for it at the counter.  Selections I enjoy:
  • Veggie Chili (soy/dairy/egg free)
  • Greek Chicken Salad without the cheese. I use the fat free chipotle peach dressing. It is sooo good (dairy/soy/egg free).  
  • Grilled Chicken Salad -just make sure to pick toppings that are within your diet list.

Outback Steakhouse:  Ask the server to speak with the chef. They will actually create items for you! I enjoy the grilled chicken breast and they make me a balsamic reduction to dip it in and a side of steamed veggies.
Outback allergen info online 

Tropical Smoothie:  If you explain to the staff that you have an EXTREME SOY AND DAIRY ALLERGY and ask them to wash AND steam the blender for you, you can order a smoothie that doesn’t contain allergens. There are several smoothies that do not contain dairy or soy. And if you don’t see one you like, then just create one!

Red Robin: They do not post their entire allergen menu online, but you can send them a request through the link I will provide, and they will answer your questions. When I visited them, I was so impressed with how detailed and careful they were about allergens. They did provide me with a full allergen print out, and I was able to get the turkey burger without the bun and sweet potato fries. The kitchen even puts the food for allergic diners in a different colored basket!
Red Robin Allergen Inquiry link

Subway:  If you have an extreme allergy, I might stay away..but! we have never had a problem. We just ask them to use new gloves, a new clean knife to cut the bread, and we have had great success with this! Their white and wheat bread do not contain soy, dairy or egg! Their Grilled Chicken and turkey are also soy,egg,dairy free. This has been huge for us because it is quick, easy and great to pack for lunches.
Subway's Allergen chart



Chick-fil-a:  If you have an egg allergy, you can pretty much mark this place off of your list to try unless you want something to drink. Their lemonade is dairy/egg/soy free.

McDonald's:  It is not safe to eat here if you have egg, soy or dairy allergies. Even their new Strawberry Lemonade contains milk because they dispense their yogurt out of the same machine. Their French fries also contain milk.

Asian restaurants:  If you can't have soy, STAY AWAY from these! There is soy in everything they cook, and even if they are willing to cook something for you ‘plain’, it is VERY risky.