I have always been told this was a pretty safe place to eat if you have a peanut or treenut allergy. Even the managers have told me so. Since I regularly double check restaurants, I called the corporate number and they said that they do not use peanut oil, but the suppliers might and that some of the food could contain trace amounts of peanuts/treenuts. I then called a local restaurant and spoke to the culinary manager and he said that some of the dishes might and some of the desserts definitely do.
On Jun 21, 2008
we took our son there, they said everything is fine for him to eat, except for the deserts. and if a dish has like added nuts, it's added later, seperately, and kept seperate til later. (like almonds in a salad). He didn't end up having any reactions to having his chicken and fries (he's picky), and having some of their baked bread.
On Jun 27, 2008
We were just on vacation in Pennsylvania, and when we stopped in an Olive Garden in Greensburg, we had quite an interesting experience! We informed the hostess of our son's PA. She informed someone else who seated us. Then, a waitress came and told us that "he" (the chef?) said that peanuts are in everything in the restaurant. Everything! And that there was nothing they could offer our child. Obviously, we understood they were not willing to accommodate us, so we left. We went to the nearby Red Robin, selected something from the Peanut Allergy menu, and we all ate happily and safely.
I thought the Olive Garden handled it terribly. My son cried when we left. He understood we had to leave because of the PA and it was very frustrating for him. At a minimum, they should have told us at the hostess' desk that they were unable or unwilling to serve him. It made it much worse to have to get up and leave after being seated. I've written to the corporate office and am awaiting a response.
On Jun 29, 2008
Hi All, Went to Olive Garden last night. I called first and spoke with the manager. He informed me that there are no nuts in the restaurant but he can not guarantee that anything that was not make there did not get made in a facility that uses nuts. I was O.K. with this since my home is not nut free. My ds is also allergic to shellfish and he informed us that there is no dedicated fryer for their shellfish. He said he was more than willing to panfry anything he wanted. It was a great experience and we all enjoyed our dinner. Beth
On Jul 12, 2008
We go to Greensurg a couple times a year to visit friends. We will never go to this Olive Garden. I wonder if it is owned by the same company as the other Olive Gardens in SW PA (Pennsylvania).
On Jul 28, 2008
I have had good luck with the one in Columbus, GA. My son can eat anything except desserts, and we don't let him eat pesto since it has tree nuts in it. (He isn't allergic, but so many are cross-contaminated that we don't take chances on him eating tree nuts.)
On Aug 1, 2008
Funny to find this post, as we just had an awful experience at Olive Garden this week. We have been there many times before, and honestly I hadn't asked for details about PN due to lack of knowledge...we would ask if any peanuts were in the food/peanut oil and had been told no, so we stayed.
This time I asked to speak to the manager, who couldn't find a label for the food I was asking about after about 20 minutes. He gave me the corporate number to call. In the meantime, kids were getting hungry and since we had been okay before we ordered. Then called the 1800 number and was told they couldn't guarantee the safety of ANY of the food in the restaurant for PN allergies. I probably should have left, but we stayed and ate. (I know, bad judgement call in a weak moment!) Everyone was fine, but I was so mad!
So much for Olive Garden being "safe". I told the manager what I was told and he seemed genuinely surprised by the comment. Great education all around! We won't be back.
On Aug 6, 2008
I complained in an email and below is the response I received. I did, however, receive a nice phone call from the manager of the Greensburg location. He said he investigated the incident with his employees and wanted to speak with me personally. He acknowledged they handled it wrongly and said it would have been handled differently if he had been there at that time. Still, I have no intention of returning to the Olive Garden. I nicely suggested they look at their competition and how they handle food allergies. They need to improve on this if they want to continue to be a "family restaurant" destination.
Thank you for contacting us, concerning your visit to our Greensburg Olive Garden restaurant.
We do apologize that our employees were not well informed about our menu and while none of our recipes include nuts or peanuts, we cannot say with complete accuracy that there are no nuts or possible cross introduction of nuts in our restaurants stemming from our vendors. Our current nutritional database does not include information to the level of detail you require for your child's safety. Our menu is very complex and our vendor sources are extensive, making it very difficult to recommend any items with the confidence that we all need. We trust that you will appreciate our position.
Please be assured, however, that we will follow up to ensure our training program has been properly completed. As a gesture of goodwill and our desire to continue serving you and your family, we have mailed you a complimentary gift card. Please allow fifteen business days for receipt. We believe we can restore your faith in us and look forward to providing you with 100% guest delight in the future.
Justin Olive Garden Guest Relations