When a Restaurant Messes Up Your Food Allergy Order - What Do You Do?


This past weekend I took my girlfriend out to one of her favorite spots in Cincinnati, OH called The Sleepy Bee Cafe. (Seriously it is an amazing restaurant so please don't let this story deter you from ever going.) I'm always weary of dining out no matter how long I've been gluten-free. At each place, I go through my standard protocol when placing my order by telling the waiter the following.

The Sleepy Bee Cafe

"First, before I start off, I wanted to let you know that I have celiac disease and I'm severely allergic to dairy and gluten." (I know one can't be allergic to gluten but the use of these terms allows for them to often take me seriously)

I then proceed to place my order with the allergy restrictions in place. This time around, my girlfriend and I both placed an order for an omelet with no cheese since we are both lactose intolerant too. With each comment, we were given a pleasant response of "no problem, we get customers with food allergies all of the time so we will get that taken care of for you." Truly, I believed the waiter and felt very excited for my meal. Why would I expect anything to go wrong?

Picture of our gluten-free and dairy free food

It was my girlfriend's 20th birthday and we were super excited for our food to show up. Keep in mind, we were starving! The food arrived looking delicious and totally safe. (Check out the picture!) We began taking bites of our omelets and I felt very satisfied with mine. No cheese, no immediate reaction. I felt good! As my girlfriend dived into hers, she noticed tons of cheese start to ooze out and tangle in her fork. Obviously, since she asked for it to be dairy free, this was not ok.

We specifically told them not to include any dairy in our meals yet dairy somehow winded up in it. Now I know that accidents happen but it's always bad when it happens to those with food allergies. My girlfriend was