Olive Garden

Posted on: Tue, 01/18/2000 - 1:20pm
Gabesmom's picture
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Joined: 11/03/1999 - 09:00

Well, I think I'm starting to get the hang of the "question-asking" game, and am now getting frustrated by some of the unhelpful places I've encountered.

For instance, Olive Garden. Anyone have experience with this chain? I called the corporate office and got a very unhelpful attitude from the person on the phone. Basically, she said they cook in extra virgin olive oil, but they recommend that peope with food allergies don't eat there (!) because they won't guarantee anything. She said their vendors change too often to keep up with the stuff I need to know and that they wouldn't even tell me ingredients if I went to our local restaurant. What?! How can that be? We've only been dealing with this allergy (our son's) for a few months and this is the second restaurant that has given us a standard "cover their fannies" kind of answer (the first was Applebee's). Is this the norm? Overall, do you find that chain restaurants are more helpful in determining safety? Or small locally-owned restaurants?

Thanks,
Jennifer

Posted on: Thu, 01/20/2000 - 12:57pm
DMB's picture
DMB
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Joined: 02/22/2001 - 09:00

My son is severely PA and has been since he was 12 mos. Olive Garden and Appleby's are 2 of the main restaurants that we feel comfortable going to (besides the usual McDonald's Happy Meal!). We have been to both places numerous times since he was diagnosed and we've never had a problem. At Appleby's, he sticks with the hot dog kid's meal, and at Olive Garden he eats salad, breadsticks, and spaghetti. We live in the NW suburbs of Chicago and have visited several of both of these restaurants in our area. But once again as several people on this site advise, you must feel comfortable with your decision to take your child there. We've had only pleasant experiences at these establishments and we will continue to take our PA son there. Hope this helps.

Posted on: Thu, 01/20/2000 - 3:26pm
Chris PeanutAllergy Com's picture
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Joined: 04/25/2001 - 09:00

Don't forget we often get different answers depending on how we ask, what we ask, who we ask etc. Often we can get different answers by just calling back and talking to a different person!
One restaurant chain we checked out told us they thought they did not have any peanut products and from our first discussions all was going well (within the northern New England States we had checked with till that time). We recently checked with some of the same company's restaurants in the Virginia, USA area and found they did use peanut products. When a chain has independent restaurant owners they sometimes use different products, sometimes even if not independently owned they buy products from different suppliers.
When you hear from a restaurant that it considers itself safe, one of the things to be sure of is that you are talking to the person (or people) who would really know. Don't forget that people who are not really educated about this allergy often do not fully understand what you are asking or the seriousness of what you are asking. We hear too often that someone thought the person they were talking to understood because they acted like they did or said they did.
Stay Safe,
[email]Chris@PeanutAllergy.Com[/email]

Posted on: Thu, 01/20/2000 - 10:13pm
Christine's picture
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Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

Chris,
Can you tell me which chain you are referring to in your post? I live in the Virginia area and would like to avoid this restaurant if it is one I happent to go to.
Christine

Posted on: Fri, 12/21/2001 - 4:26am
Boone's picture
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Joined: 08/24/2001 - 09:00

I know that some people on this site won't go to OG because of what they told you (and have told others). But we have taken our PA DS there for the past 5 years. He has eaten about everything on the kids menu (and the salad, he LOVES their salad). Of course we started this practice 5 years ago when we would ask the waitperson and manager about peanuts. Since we have never had a reaction we continue to go there, even in light of this new information. I guess this is where my comfort level is different than some. I think that they make that statment just to cover their butts. Easier to lose a few customers than to fight a possible law suit.
[This message has been edited by Boone (edited December 21, 2001).]

Posted on: Fri, 12/21/2001 - 5:23am
MaureenAnn's picture
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Joined: 08/23/2001 - 09:00

I have to agree. I wrote an email to them and received the same exact reply. I think if you stick with the basic stuff (noodles, sauce, salad) and of course double check with the staff that night or day, it is probably fine. We have not gone there with my son but that is just because we rarely eat out. Seeing as the reply you got was identical to the one I received, they are most likely just covering themselves! There is always a chance with complicated dishes, so stick with the basics!

Posted on: Fri, 12/21/2001 - 6:36am
nicoleg's picture
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Joined: 03/30/2001 - 09:00

I am encouraged by your replies and I know that many of you do go there. I was so sad after reading their reply, but think you are right in saying that they are just covering themselves. After talking with the individual restaurant I was so excited, but then so upset after this email. I think we probably will still go and just get ds something basic like you said. He's only 20 months old anyway. Thank you so much.
Nicole

Posted on: Fri, 12/21/2001 - 7:13am
smack's picture
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Joined: 11/14/2001 - 09:00

nicoleg,
This thread brings up an important point. So many labels now say, "Manufactured in a plant that processes peanuts" So what the heck is that????? To me who cares? I want to know
if it's done on the same line that does a product with peanuts or other nuts. They can never tell you when you call them. They all say the same ..we can't guarantee.
Anyway, I miss the Olive Garden...left here in London about 2-3 years ago so you guys are lucky to still have it.
Bottom line, I use a lot of common sense. When we eat out, he eats a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches (he likes them) so I feel pretty comfortable.
[This message has been edited by smack (edited December 21, 2001).]

Posted on: Sun, 04/28/2002 - 9:31am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I cannot stand how food manufacturers, resteraunts etc. label that "May contain Peanuts" "Manufactured in a plant with nut products" etc. Sometimes I get so mad about it I contact the company and ask them point blank what this means since "May" is not telling me if it is or is not containing nuts! I want them to know that people are not stupid and that they are starting to want answers beyond these silly and cover your butt statements.
Sorry...had to vent that.

Posted on: Fri, 11/29/2002 - 9:36am
lsmom's picture
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Joined: 07/05/2002 - 09:00

We went to an Olive Garden on Wednesday. When the waiter checked with the kitchen, he was told that they cook all their dishes in peanut oil. They said the only thing they could prepare that would be safe is plain boiled pasta with butter and grated cheese.

Posted on: Fri, 11/29/2002 - 10:49am
erik's picture
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Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

I was at the Olive Garden in Times Square NYC in July, and they told me the pasta as fine since they don't use peanut oil. I enjoyed a great meal there. What city was the Olive Garden that told you they only use peanut oil? Maybe each restaurant chooses their own oil?

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