Restaurants in Mpls/St. Paul

Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2006 - 3:37am
cam's picture
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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?

Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2006 - 4:15am
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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.

Posted on: Sun, 12/31/2006 - 7:13am
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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.

Posted on: Sun, 12/31/2006 - 7:15am
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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.

Posted on: Sun, 12/31/2006 - 11:24pm
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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.

Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 6:55am
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No problem, if you find additional ideas, let me know.
Depending on your comfort level, there are lots of options...as 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.

Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 7:13am
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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...

Posted on: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 12:20am
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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.

Posted on: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 10:17am
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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.

Posted on: Sat, 01/06/2007 - 2:25pm
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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...

Posted on: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:20am
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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.

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