Restaurants in Mpls/St. Paul

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Does anyone have any restaurants that they feel are safe in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area? We have done Panino's in North Oaks as well as Chipotle, Taco Bell and MacDonalds. Has anyone found any others they are comfortable with?

On Dec 27, 2006

We have found Red Robin and Outback very willing to work with us. We deal with multiple food allergies. I realize that Red Robin has peanut items on their dessert menu and tree nuts in salads, etc. We stick to very simple foods, email prior to our visit and talk to the manager before ordering. Eating out for us is for special occasions so we plan ahead. I'm not sure if I would be comfortable eating there on a whim but we've had good luck so far.

On Dec 31, 2006

Depending on your comfort level there are tons of restaurants... Pazzaluna ($$), Cosetta's ($) and Pizza Luce ($) are three of my favorite italian options and all in Saint Paul, Pizza Luce is also in Minneapolis. Granite City($$) has some items that contain peanuts on the menu, but I am actually comfortable eating there. Gianni's ($$$) is a great steak place in Wayzata (though if you're venturing to Panino's, that's on the other end of the world...I live in Arden Hills but work on the west side) Matthew's Family Restaurant($) in Lino Lakes is good. Green Mill Restaurant($-$$) is generally okay. Biaggi's Italian($$) in Maple Grove is very allergy aware. Tavern on Grand ($) is pretty good. NBA City($$) was pretty decent. Hard Rock Cafe ($$)seems to be fairly allergen aware. I avoid Chili's now like the plague due to changes in their policies. In addition, though I have had good luck at Maggiano's, I am probably going to dismiss them too as an option. I comfortable do the Olive Gardens and Red Lobsters in our area. As a side note, I believe the regional manager for Olive Garden in our area has a PN allergic son. Just make sure you ask the manager and chef. No suggestions I am making guarantee that you will not have issues, these are just restaurants that I have eaten at without a problem.

On Dec 31, 2006

Oh yeah, and Culver's has a nice allergen pamphlet available...they have nuts all over the place in the dessert area, but the back-end seems to be okay where the food is prepared. And Mad Jack's in Brooklyn Park is pretty good too.

On Jan 1, 2007

Wow - thank you very much for sharing all this! Almost all of the places I've called so far have been definite no's, so I really appreciate this. I will start calling some of the places mentioned here.

On Jan 2, 2007

No problem, if you find additional ideas, let me know.

Depending on your comfort level, there are lots of an example, I eat at Subway restaurants in the MN area, but I don't in Florida. This is because MN stores do not have peanut butter cookies, they have Macedamia Nut, but I'm okay with that. Whereas FL has Peanut Butter cookies.

On Jan 2, 2007

stimpsjd - One other idea my husband and I thought of was Italian Pie Shoppe. We haven't tried it yet, but I called the St. Paul and Eagan ones, and they both told me they make all their dough/bread onsite and have no nuts in the kitchen. They get their cookie dough and brownie mix from somewhere else, and said they could be cross-contaminated. They tried to assure me that they bake these items separately (although at the restaurant) and that cooks aren't handling them when they're making pizzas. I'll call again to ask more questions before we go, but this seems like a place we may try.

Can I ask if any of the places you mentioned are places you feel comfortable going without talking with them about the allergy each time, or do you feel like this has to be discussed each time at each of these places? I only ask because we're in the early stages of this and trying to figure out our comfort zone. We've gone to Panino's in North Oaks a few times and haven't discussed the allergy each time we've been there because in our phone conversations they've always said there are no nuts or peanut oil in the kitchen, and have read labels for things not made onsite, and I don't let too much time pass before calling to make sure it hasn't changed. We've felt comfortable with this, but sometimes I second-guess myself and wonder if we should always bring it up anyways...

On Jan 3, 2007

I think it's worth it to mention the PA each time. I actually don't when we go to fast food places because they're so standardized. But when we go to Red Lobsters in the Twin Cities, I always mention it to the waitress/waiter to make sure nothing has changed. Red Lobster has been great; no peanut products on the menu, and they've been good about checking on the safety of DD's meal each time.

We haven't taken DD to many restaurants that aren't national chains. Outside of the Twin Cities, we recently ate at Peter's on Lake Ripley in Litchfield because of a rehearsal dinner. I called in advance and also mentioned it to the waitstaff when we arrived. They had no outright peanut items on the menu, and the owner was able to tell me that the things my DD was going to eat were fine. He seemed to understand. I know of another PA woman who eats there, too.

On Jan 3, 2007

bethc - Thank you; it helps to hear how other people handle it. I just talked to my husband about this, and we're definitely going to start bringing it up each time even at the restaurant that has no nuts in the kitchen just to make sure nothing changes, as you say. It will help model to our son what he can say when he's older, too. Thank you for the tip about Red Lobster, too.

On Jan 6, 2007

This may seem very illogical, but here's what I do when I eat out...

Fast Food restaurants, I never ask in the store. I periodically check the ones that I regularly go to, but I really am not sure that I get the best answer from the employees at the store.

The only sitdown restaurant that I do not ask whether or not they use peanuts is Panino's because the owner has a peanut allergy. I also rarely ask at Cossetta's, instead I read the frozen foods that they have in their grocery area since those are also prepared onsite. Otherwise I ask everytime and sometimes I'm comfortable with warning the waitstaff others I talk to the manager.

When you find out about the Italian Pie Shoppe, let me know. You must live in our neck of the woods...

On Jan 8, 2007

stimpsjd - That makes sense! It helps to hear how you navigate these places. I will definitely post after we try out Italian Pie Shoppe (hopefully in the not-too-distant future). We're in the northern part of the Twin Cities, but will probably try out the Eagan one just because we used to go there a lot (when we lived in the area and pre-peanut allergy days), and we found some waitresses there to be really helpful with other kid issues.

On Jan 10, 2007

Re: Panino's -- are they a chain or are there just a couple of them around the Twin Cities? My DH has recently discovered them, but not in North Oaks. Is it actually in Roseville? In any case, he thinks they're great! He brought me home his leftovers after work one day, and I liked it, too. So is the owner of all/both Panino's PA-aware, or is it just of the location you go to?

On Jan 10, 2007

bethc - I looked into Panino's originally because I read an old message on this board about their owner being allergic to peanuts. There's a Panino's in North Oaks and a Panino's in Roseville, and they have different ownership. I actually don't know which Panino's is the one the message referred to as having a peanut-allergic owner. I called both Panino's locations, and managers at both told me they have no nuts in the kitchen, make bread/pizza dough onsite, and no peanut oil. Neither place mentioned anything about their owner (I didn't ask directly about that, though). We've only tried the one in North Oaks so far, but I plan to try the Roseville one, too. We originally decided to try the North Oaks one because the Roseville one told me they sell bakery items there (they are baked off-site). When we arrived at the North Oaks one, though, I saw that they also sell some cookie-type items there as well, but I was told the one dessert they make there does not contain peanuts. I plan to keep calling the North Oaks one to keep verifying its safety, and I also plan to call the Roseville one again and hopefully give that one a try. We've found the North Oaks one that we've tried to be a good place to take kids, and my son likes their food, so it's worked out well for us.

On Jan 13, 2007

We had a good experience eating at Italian Pie Shoppe in Eagan tonight. I talked to the assistant manager twice before going, and she consulted with the owner. They told me all their dough/bread is made onsite and no nuts/peanut oil used in the kitchen. She read the ingredients for the pizza sauce. Owner said he doesn't know what kind of oil could be used for other toppings like sausage, but that he knew cheese, dough, sauce, veggies were fine. They sell chocolate chip cookies and brownies; the dough/mix comes to them already prepared, and they bake them onsite. I was told in a previous conversation that they are baked separately and that cooks don't handle them while making pizzas, but she was even able to tell me today that they weren't baking any of those today. I plan to call ahead before we go each time, but we had a good experience and it feels good to feel like this is an option for us!

[This message has been edited by cam (edited January 16, 2007).]

On Jan 24, 2007

We recently tried Punch Pizza, only have PA and avoiding all nuts but not TNA yet.

It is really good Neapolitan pizza, 800 degree oven bakes your pizza in 90 seconds. One of their salads has walnuts in it, but they said to let their chefs know about the FA every time and they will make sure no contact with the salad prep area. It is an open kitchen so you can tell right away if you feel comfortable with their food handling processes.

We have also bought birthday cakes from The Cake Box in Crystal/Brooklyn Center, and from Queen of Cakes in Edina.

On Jan 25, 2007

Are those bakeries peanut-free? How about other nuts? Or do they just understand cross-contamination and handle things carefully? I would love a place to order a cake from.

On Jan 25, 2007

I'm glad to hear about Punch and I'm eager to hear about those bakeries, too. We also tried the Panino's in Roseville. They told me that their bread (like bread that comes with pasta) is made somewhere else, but pizza dough and sauce is made onsite (we ordered pizza).

Also, just to add to my previous post about Italian Pie Shoppe in Eagan: they've read the ingredients to the sauce a couple times for me. The sauce is made at Food Service Specialties in Red Wing. I asked one of the owners of Pie Shoppe if he would call to ask about any potential for cross-contamination at the place that makes the sauce. I haven't heard back yet, but will post when I do. Just trying to be extra thorough...

On Jan 25, 2007

One of the owners of the Eagan Italian Pie Shoppe forwarded me a message from the company that makes the pizza sauce. I don't know if they have products with other nuts, but was reassured to hear this about peanuts. The message said: "In answer to your recent question regarding peanuts and allergies, FSS does not use peanuts or peanut oil in any recipe that we manufacture so that we are not subject to potential cross contamination of our sauces."

On Feb 4, 2007

Chet the owner of Panino's in North Oaks told me about a decade ago that he is allergic to nuts.

Great news on the Italian Pie Shoppe! But, there are so many good italian places around...

Major's Sports Cafe was really good the other night. We ate at the one in Roseville (the old KFAN sportsbar.)

On Feb 19, 2007

Sorry for the late reply, I don't check this board often, just the main discussion mostly.

The Cake Box and Queen of Cakes both have nuts in the store. I am not sure whether they have peanuts since I haven't used them in a few months but plan to buy a cake this summer. My experience with them started as a recommendation from another mom whose kids have PA and I called and spoke with the bakers at both places. They indicated they are used to making cakes for folks with PA and that they use freshly cleaned equipment to prepare the peanut free cake. I thought they also said they try not to use anything with peanuts that day at QOC. I think you need to call and talk to them about their procedures to get the most up to date information and decide whether you are comfortable with this. I have purchased several cakes from both places in the last 2 years and never had a problem. The cakes are delicious at both places and the decorator at Queen of Cakes is very talented.

[This message has been edited by Edinview (edited February 19, 2007).]