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Hosts should be informed of food allergies

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Hosts should be informed of food allergies

This past Saturday night, my husband and I ventured out for our second date since our daughter was born (9 ½ months ago). My sister came over, we tucked our baby in for the night, and left. I had been craving sushi all day, so we headed to a restaurant we knew to be very accommodating to a gluten-free diet. To help ensure safe dining, we always ask the hostess or manager about gluten-free options when we arrive. Even if we’ve previously had a great experience, we understand menus, chefs, and staff change. I always say, never assume safety; ask the necessary questions.

We walked into Stingray at Scottsdale Quarter and were greeted by two young ladies. My husband asked what they offered for gluten-free options and how they handle cross-contamination. We were shocked at their answer. One hostess replied “We only have gluten-free soy sauce.” The other simply said “No.” This made no sense to us. Why would a restaurant carry gluten-free soy sauce but have nothing gluten-free to go with it? We knew they had options, but were a little flabbergasted by their immediate response. At that point, I was ready to leave. My husband, who was more than a little confused by their answers, asked them what in the edamame and sashimi contained gluten. They simply answered “The fish”. We decided to head to Coal Burger across the street, which carries gluten-free buns and fries. (Review on them later today, so good).

The sushi restaurant lost our business for the night. We knew I could most likely eat there, but we were uncomfortable with the lack of knowledge and quick dismissal from the hostesses. Normally, we would have asked to speak to the manager, but it was busy and I was starving. We did call the next day to speak with the manager. He was stunned because we’d left with the impression I could not be accommodated. He assured us there were several items I could safely enjoy. We had a great conversation and emphasized the importance of educating the host/hostesses of dietary restrictions and what the restaurant can safely provide. The host(ess) is ultimately the gate keeper for restaurants. They answer the phones, greet guests, and are the first the receive questions from patrons. If he/she is unsure of the answers, they should go get the manager.

Ultimately, our suggestions were warmly received and we will dine at this location in the future. I encourage all of you to speak with restaurant managers, especially if you’ve had an experience in which you were less than thrilled. They are usually very receptive to suggestions, complaints, and compliments. The bottom line is, as customers with allergies, celiac disease, and special diets, we can make a difference. As always, if you are feeling uncomfortable. Don't risk your health. 

Questions, comments, or suggestions? E-mail me at [email protected]