If you are living with a food allergy it feels impossible to dine out. I know dining out with my Tree Nut only son makes me extremely anxious. I am writing this post about the top allergy friendly restaurants in Pittsburgh. Please know these are all based on my personal opinions. If you have any questions or concerns please speak directly with your child’s doctor.
Top 8 allergens: Milk, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, Shellfish, Soy, Wheat.
My Top Restaurants (in no particular order.)
Mandy’s Pizza (North hills): Mandy’s has an Allergen-Free story on their website. Their son Brandon has been diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies since he was a baby. They have an extensive food allergy menu and options. Mandy’s has a separate preparation area, separate tools, oven is made to accommodate menu items, and lots of training. By the looks of their website I wish we lived closer to add another Pizza place to our safe places to eat.
Five Guys: Five Guys has an extremely detailed Allergen Menu. My Mother-in-law took my son here and the staff was very knowledgeable. They did mention their fries are cooked in Peanut Oil. The Five Guy Bun is a proprietary recipe. My son successfully ate a Grilled Cheese and Fries.
Fiori’s (McMurray): We eat here a lot. The owner has a Tree Nut allergy as well. There are no Tree Nuts in the building. The menu is simple. They make their own pizza dough. They always write Tree Nut Allergy real big on the check order.
Longhorn Steakhouse: The great thing about Longhorn is they have an allergen book. The book consists of all menu items and what allergens they may or may not included. It is very detail oriented and the staff is always very cautious about what they bring to our table. My son has eaten chicken fingers, fries, and ranch dressing without issue.
Anthony’s Pizza: Anthony’s Pizza also has a very detailed allergen menu. Like Fiori’s they make their own Pizza Dough. My son has eaten their Pepperoni Pizza and Chicken Wings at their McMurray location.
Chipotle: We have not tried Chipotle, but I am in a few allergy social media groups and Chipotle is always a recommendation. Their allergy statement is detailed. They do not use eggs (except where breakfast is available), mustard, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, shellfish, or fish ingredients. As do most restaurants, they cannot guarantee the “complete absence of these allergens in its restaurants.” Personal opinions are that they will change their gloves and do their best to accommodate food allergies at the start of ordering. –
Chick-fil-A: Chick-fil-A cooks with 100% refined peanut oil, which is not considered a major food allergen. They also cannot guarantee cross contamination with food allergens. It is my understanding that they do try to accommodate as much as possible. My Mother-in-law took my son here and they gave her an allergen print out. My son at Chicken Nuggets and Fries.
Pasta Too: Pasta Too is a small family owned restaurant in Bethel Park. The staff is always very cautious. They serve Gluten Free Pasta. For catering, if you tell them ahead of time they will prepare a separate Gluten Free meal, which usually consists of chicken and a vegetable. My son usually eats Chicken Fingers, Fries, and Ranch. He has had their pizza, but they do not make their own dough. They do have a dessert tray they bring to every table, however, you can request them not to. We always skip dessert.
McDonald’s: Fast Food isn’t always the best food, but McDonald’s is always one of the easiest. Their allergen menu is up-to-date to the best of their knowledge on their website. My son always eats Chicken Nuggets, Fries, Yogurt, and Ranch with no issues. He also eats most of their breakfast items.
Bruster’s Ice Cream: Trying to find a safe dessert place is exhausting. We love Bruster’s! They use separate scoops for all their ice creams. I believe you can even bring your own cone. My son always gets chocolate ice cream with their kids cone and it’s the best treat ever.
Sarris Candies: This is a tough one for nut allergies. This will all depend on your comfort-ability when it comes to dining out. My son’s baseball team went here after their last game and I was full of nerves. Of course, I called before and spoke to a manager. She was very informative and walked me through their allergen process. The night we went was hectic, but the employee was very aware of our allergen. I watched the employee wash her hands, keep them in the air without touching anything, walk to the back where they open a brand new container, came back and got us a fresh spoon underneath the counter. My son successfully ate chocolate ice cream with his team and was able to enjoy the moment.
Papa Johns: Papa John’s has a detailed guide to their allergens. Everything but their desserts are Peanut and Tree Nut Free. My son has had their pizza with no issues. –
Red Robin: When I searched Red Robin on the internet, one of the first things that comes up is their interactive allergen menu. You can choose the ingredients you wish to avoid. They cannot guarantee cross contamination. They are very good with Gluten Allergens and they do offer Gluten Free Buns.
Olive Garden: Per Olive Gardens website they have an allergen policy in place to help you make the best selection. They are good with Gluten allergies. They use highly refined canola oil from their suppliers and does not include any soy protein. They do not use a separate fryer which means there is potential for cross-contamination. Per the allergy statement, they are committed to making an exceptional dining experience for all their guests including guests with food allergies.
Graeters Ice Cream: Graeter’s has a safe food practices statement. Their employees go through training (annual refresher), cleans equipment daily, takes extra precautions, and perform audits to assure Safe Quality.
Duck Donuts: A donut shop, really? This shocked me as well. While they do use peanuts as a topping usually the shop will accommodate. They will clean cook/prep areas and use toppings from the back that haven’t been used yet. –
Eat’n Park: Eat’n Park is Gluten-Friendly. They have lots of Gluten-Friendly options. My son has eaten safely here with a Tree Nut Allergy. Of course Chicken Fingers and Fries, but no Smiley Cookies.
Gluuteny Bakery (Squirrel Hill): Gluuteny is a vegan bakery. They serve gluten & dairy-free items with vegan and soy-free options. They have a very detailed menu along with ingredient lists.
Red Onion (Bethel Park): Red Onion makes their own dough. It’s one of our favorite Pizza Shops. They have a simple menu, but great taste. My son eats the Pepperoni Pizza.
Our son’s allergist asked us how do we see his quality of life. We want him to be able to safely eat out at restaurants, enjoy class parties, and ice cream with his friends. In order for us to give him this we must research, call ahead, prepare, take precautions, and have lots of trust in the preparers who are handling his food.
Food Allergies are not easy, but I hope this guide can help navigate which restaurants may be able to accommodate your food allergy best.
Do you have any allergy friendly restaurants to add to the list?
Disclaimer: Most restaurants cannot guarantee allergen free or cross-contamination, however, many restaurants have policies and practices in place that tries to mitigate risk. Please always let the server/cashier/manager know of any allergen you need to avoid. Always take necessary precautions and speak with you or your child’s doctor if you have any questions.