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Dining Out Gluten Free: Denny’s (Yes! Denny’s) February 18, 2011

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in : Dining Out , trackback

Denny’s, San Diego Harbor with National locations
American
Gluten free menu: no menu, yes allergens list
Gluten friendly staff: yes

I was pleasantly surprised to find an allergens information list for Denny’s menu items when I stopped in for breakfast. Despite the fact that much of the menu is essentially prepackaged frozen food, they get mad props for giving their staff the resources they need to know what ingredients are in each dish. An often overlooked requirement for chef’s and servers.

The way Denny’s managed my gluten free and lactose free needs was five star. And, I let the manager know. As a rule, I try to provide as much good feedback to restaurants about their allergy request service as I do constructive. It’s a nice experience when a restaurant educates their staff and they are attentive to ensuring your meal will not get you sick. When this is a smooth experience your conversation doesn’t end up revolving around ‘the talk’ which ultimately becomes the conversation over your meal with the people your dining with. Are you tired of talking about your food allergies over the table? I am. I am desperate for normalcy.

One piece of education I want everyone to leave with is that a nutrition fact sheet is not the same as an allergens information list. Every restaurant as of 2011 is required to make nutrition facts available to you, whether within the menu itself or another document. I’ve seen it both ways. I’ve also been offered this nutrition facts by many servers in place of a gluten free menu or allergens information. There are no allergy facts in a nutrition fact sheet – it’s purpose is to count calories, fat etc.. We’ve got to take our health in our own hands and be advocates for education where restaurants are falling short. 

And BTW, my go-to gluten free, lactose free breakfast item is…the potato and egg Sizzlin’ Skillet. It comes to the table literally sizzling. I was so excited the first time I had the skillet I burnt a hole in the roof of my mouth with the firs bite!

 

September 28, 2011 Update:

On a recent visit to Denny’s I took home a copy of their allergy information and found that the hashbrowns are gluten free. I originally stated in this post:

Potatoes are gluten free but stay away from the hash browns they are not.

This was based on the server translating the allergy information for me. I will not make that mistake again, lesson learned, take control of your food choices and read ingredients lists yourself. It is rare that a restaurant server, manager or even a chef is more educated than you in selecting the right food choices for food allergies and intolerance.

I would still stick with the red potatoes because they are not processed and the only potato product on the menu that does not contain lactose or milk.

View (PDF) Denny’s Allergy List 2011

 

3 comments
Jas
Jas

Looks like you got it backwards. According to the allergen info the skillet potatoes contain wheat while the hashbrowns do not.

Melonie Gallegos
Melonie Gallegos

Hi Jas, I was at Denny's over the past weekend and picked up a copy of the full allergy list. We were all wrong, both the hashbrowns and red potatoes are gluten free. See the update to this post and link to the full allergy list. Thanks for looking out.

Melonie
Melonie

This information was provided to me at the restaurant and verified by a manager. I do not have the allergens list on hand and unfortunately it is not posted online. If you have an information source you can share that would be great. I'll update this post when I confirm the facts. Thanks so much for reading and bringing this to my attention Jas.