There are millions of restaurants, but if you have a food allergy you know eating out can be a challenge. We created this site to help you the next time you wonder, "Can I Eat There?"

You'll find links to food allergen guides for restaurants good enough to provide them and info on how to check out those that don't. Our city specific posts are decicated to those local joints we all love.

We hope this site expands your dining horizons... and keeps you healthy!


Horray for Jelly Belly!!

The goal of this blog is, of course, to provide info on eating out with a food allergy, but every once and a while we like to share another experience.

I am currently about six months pregnant and am preparing to do my glucose test to check for gestational diabetes. My doctor gave me a fruit punch glucola drink to take for the test... well, it contains brominated vegetable oil. Whenever I see vegetable oil I am immediately on alert. So I looked it up, sure enough it is made from soybeans. So, since I have a soy allergy, I am hesitant to drink to it (not mention it contains all kinds of other strange ingredients that I've never heard of). I called my doctor and asked, "Is there anything else I can eat or drink for the test?" Her reply: eat 63 Jelly Bellys in 3 minutes.

But, of course, I need to check those for soy too. So this morning I emailed Jelly Belly through the Ask a Question page on their web site. Given my recent experience with Jimmy John's and their contact us page, I wasn't hopeful. But VOILA! within an hour I had a reply from a real person!! Only two flavors of Jelly Belly contain soy - Chocolate Pudding and Dark Chocolate. Jelly Belly's advice: "We have a couple of brown colored beans - Chocolate Pudding, Dark Chocolate, and A&W Root beer, so as long as you stay away from the brown colored beans, you should be alright!"

Thanks Jelly Belly for being so on top of it!!!

FYI... Jelly Belly does have other information on other common allergens on its FAQ page.


Review: - New Web Site for Eating Out with a Food Allergy

Editor's Note: I got this press release today about a new web site offering basically the same thing we offer here on Can I Eat There?, information on where to eat out with a food allergy. So I was anxious to check it out. I went to the site and tested it out for restaurants, etc. offering soy-free options (that's my allergy). Well, only about 5 places in the whole world came up and when I looked closer it was actually giving me gluten free options, not soy-free options. Maybe they are still working out the kinks in the site (?), so I'll check back again in a month or so. I'm all for resources for eating out, especially while traveling, but my initial review of good idea, but not helpful. Check it out and let me know if you have a different experience. In the meantime, we'll continue to keep our blog updated and easy to use. I posted the press release below.

Eating Out Gets Easier For People with Food Allergies and Celiac Disease

New online community makes dining and traveling an easier, safer and more pleasant experience for those with special diets.

Sao Paulo, Brazil (PRWEB) July 24, 2008 -- Origem Scientifica, a scientific consultancy company specializing in health research and data analysis, is pleased to announce the launch of (, a community-driven guide aimed at making eating out and traveling a safer and easier experience for people with food allergies and celiac disease.

Born out of the founder's own need for such a resource, Specialgourmets ( is an innovative Web application built with the information and feedback from users themselves, who can use the guide to share their experiences and contribute to make eating out an easier and safer experience for those with these dietary restrictions.

With the help of a map platform, users can:

* Search for suitable places (restaurants, hotels and shops) in any geographic region

* Add new establishments where they had positive experiences

* Rate and review the places listed

* Edit the information about a place

* Print lists to take when traveling

* Share their favorites and receive e-mail alerts about new places suitable for their diets in a chosen area or about new reviews about specific establishments.

Specialgourmets has been initially launched in English, Spanish and Portuguese, but plans to include other languages soon.

Millions of people worldwide suffer from some kind of food allergy (such as those to tree nuts, peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, fish and shellfish) or from celiac disease, an auto-immune condition triggered by the ingestion of gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley). For these people, even tiny amounts of the wrong food can make them ill or, in the more serious cases, be potentially fatal.

With these factors in mind, eating out and traveling is not only limited but can turn into a stressful and even dangerous situation. According to the founder of Specialgourmets and biologist Cynthia Schuck (PhD, Oxford University), finding a place that can safely accommodate these special diets can be hard, and there is no one better to make a suggestion than people sharing the same restrictions.

The map guide is the first of its kind in this sector and is being launched simultaneously in many countries.

"By providing a number of technological resources and tools to enable users to easily share their experiences, as well as a comprehensive search and alert system, Specialgourmets should make it easier for those with food allergies and celiac disease to enjoy the culinary riches of the world," said Schuck.

Another aim of the Web site is to facilitate the search for associations and support groups acting on particular areas and, therefore, support the wonderful work performed by these entities in raising awareness about the problem. The Web site also features a section on tips that users can follow to make their dining experiences safer, as well as customizable chef cards and a summary of basic procedures that food caterers should have in place to serve allergen-free and gluten-free meals.

All services are free, both for users and for establishment owners.



"Safe" Places to Eat with a Peanut Allergy

Check out the July 2008 "Safe" Places to Eat with a Peanut Allergy posting on Peanut Allergy Kid for information on where to eat with a peanut allergy.


Peanut-Free Baseball in Illinois

Kudos to Kane County Cougar General Manager Jeff Sedivy for his efforts to bring baseball to kids (and adults) with food allergies! Read more about it...

Event allows safe game viewing for allergic kids
Kate Thayer, Kane County Chronicle


Food Allergy Death at Ruby Tuesday

Here are some links to news coverage about the man with a shellfish allergy who died of anaphylaxis after eating crab at a Ruby Tuesday in Lovejoy, GA earlier this month.

Atlanta Journal Constitution:

FOX News:,2933,378064,00.html


Ruby Tuesday does provide information on gluten-free, dairy-free and peanut-free menu items in the FAQ section on its Contact Us page. No information is available for other common allergens.

Editor's Note: Nowhere in any of this coverage do I see a mention that the man made it very clear to the server that he had a shellfish allergy. Don't forget, your life is in your hands... if you have a severe food allergy make sure anyone who has anything to do with what you're about to eat knows it. When eating at restaurant clearly explain your allergy to your server- and the manager if necessary.


Summer Eating with a Food Allergy

Here's a good reminder for those of us with allergies that hope to grab a bite at those many fairs and festivals that summer brings.

Food allergy sufferers must be on alert at fairs
Kimberly Hayes Taylor/The Detroit News


Sandwich Chains

Restaurants are listed in alphabetical order. If you have info on a Sandwich Chain please email us at


Jimmy John's

Web Site

Allergy Alert: Will not provide allergen information for menu items

Editor's Note: I recently contacted Jimmy John's to request allergen information for their menu items. This is the response I got via email.

"We do not give out ingredient lists. - Jimmy Johns"

I followed up with an email saying I didn't need specific ingredient information, just information on common allergens, I got no response.

If you are looking for a sub fix, many of the other national sandwich chains do list allergen information on their web sites. See links to that information in "Sandwich Chains" list in the right rail of this blog.


Web Site

Allergy Alert: Beware of cross contamination

Article about one person's experience dining out at Subway with a food allergy...

Subway: You’ll need to be extra careful if you want to "eat fresh".
Providence Food Allergy Examiner
August 29, 2008

Restaurant profile: Made to order sandwiches with fresh bread and meats and an array of fresh toppings. Sandwiches can also be toasted.

Taste and nutrition: Pretty good considering your alternatives. The overall calorie count on many of the Subway subs are going to be a better choice than a Whopper any day. And, you have the option of getting some veggies in your sandwich too.

Allergen alert: While Subway has been very proactive in providing allergen info on their sandwiches, they failed to take into consideration cross contamination. I experienced this first hand after having a reaction after eating at a Subway restaurant. I was careful about selecting my menu items, but did not consider cross contamination. I know, what was I thinking? Oh well, hopefully you won’t make the same mistake I did.

After I had my reaction, I called and emailed Subway customer service and explained the problem. I was assured that someone would contact me back. The owner of a few Subway locations near my home called me today. We actually had a very productive conversation and she was able to give me some great info. She even agreed that the nutritional info was misleading and gave me contact info for headquarters, where she suggested I encourage Subway execs to add disclaimer info to their advertising regarding these risks.

Here are the problems we identified:

  • All the foods are in open bins and any food could potentially drop into another bin.
  • Workers wear gloves while making sandwiches, but do not change them between orders. This is probably how I got sick.
  • The knives used to slice the sandwiches are not cleaned in-between sandwiches.
  • Breads containing cheese are baked with other breads. This is not a likely contaminant, but worth a mention.

The bottom line: If you do not have severe, anaphylactic allergies, you should be ok. If you are severe (like I am), use extreme caution. If you choose to eat there regardless, here are some tips to make your visit a safe one:

  • Ask the worker behind the counter to change their gloves.
  • Ask them to refrain from cutting your sandwich.
  • Check their online nutritional info as a guideline.