If you or a family member are allergic to peanuts, eating dinner out can pose a significant risk. Even if the menu item does not contain peanuts, there could be traces of peanuts from any number of sources – from fries cooked in peanut oil, to cross-contamination from using the same knife used to spread peanut butter.
Few restaurants are entirely peanut-free. Some of the sources for peanuts in restaurants include frying in peanut oil, peanut-encrusted fish and chicken, and peanut toppings on desserts. While there are a few restaurants that do not use any peanut ingredients, these tend to be local restaurants rather than regional or national chains. Some of the chains that are known for accommodating those with food allergies include Outback Steakhouse, Red Lobster, and Red Robin. Some of the riskier restaurants include Chick fil a, Chili’s, and Dairy Queen. In general, desserts tend to be the most problematic dish; many of those with peanut allergies eat at restaurants frequently yet steer clear of dessert.
Whether you’re planning to eat at a chain restaurant or independent eatery, the best way to find out if it is a peanut-free restaurant is to speak with the manager. Call ahead of your visit to discuss their allergen information. You’ll find that some restaurants are more accommodating than others. When you arrive to eat, always tell your server about any allergies when ordering so that the chef is aware. Some restaurants will cook your food separately to avoid cross-contamination, while others will leave out or substitute ingredients to make a dish peanut-free. With these precautions in place, those with peanut allergies can relax and enjoy their meal.