Celiac-safe fast food represents a real conundrum for the gluten free. We are seduced by nutrition guides, allergen lists, gluten-free notations and sometimes, even entire ‘gluten-aware’ menus. But can any given fast food chain really deliver on their gluten-free promise?
This was the question posed by Victoria, BC mom Paula, on behalf of her teenaged daughter, Grace, about Original Joe’s Restaurant (OJ’s). At 15, Grace is wanting to spread her wings and enjoy a social life that is sometimes, sans parents. On a fact-finding mission, Paula turned to her support team at Celiac Parents and Parents with Celiac Kids.
“This will be my daughter’s first outing like this on her own … time to push her out of the nest!”
- My daughter eats at the OJ’s in Nanaimo and loves it!
- I’ve eaten at OJ’s in Victoria as well and they are fantastic! They always go above and beyond to accommodate. Most servers know the answer to any questions with confidence, if not they will find out, no problem.
- I’m pretty sensitive, I always get the chicken burger on a gluten free bun.
The Celiac Scene piped up to direct Paula to it’s Fast Food Listing for Canada with links to more than 60 chains making reference serving the gluten free.
As Mother Lion to a Gluten-Free Cub, Paula had to go one step further, reaching out directly to the Manager of OJ’s location at Tuscany Village in Victoria to pose her best Gluten-Free Grillers! She reports back to us here.
“Just had an excellent conversation with the Manager, Amanda,” Paula shared. “My daughter should be very specific when ordering that she has a wheat allergy – not just a sensitivity. If she wants a burger there is a GF bun option or she can have it plain.”
That’s when things got amazing!
Amanda continued, “Since wheat items are cooked on a shared grill, Original Joe’s uses an ‘Allergy Kit’ to prepare gluten-free meals. This means staff would cook her burger in a sanitized pan in the oven and would do the after prep on a allergy kit (separate) cutting board.
Because OJ’s Gluten-Sensitive Menu indicates ‘some ingredients are cooked in a deep fryer with items that contain gluten,” Paula inquired about mashed potatoes. Amanda noted that they were sourced from a supplier and might not be safe for someone with celiac disease.
Amanda goes above and beyond!
“Amanda then sent me an email outlining all of the food items that Grace could have, including dips etc. She added that she will be on site when my daughter is going and will be happy to personally assist her. Bravo!” said Paula.
What a wonderful example of a fast food chain taking gluten-free needs seriously by incorporating an Allergy Kit into their protocol! Chefs are trained to use it and managers and servers are ready, willing and able to tell us about it! Bravo indeed! (The Celiac Scene™)
And a Big Bouquet to Paula for personifying how communicating leads to collaboration and a safe and delicious outcome! Grace – get ready to soar!
Original Joe’s Gluten Sensitive Menu (remember – a guide – not a guarantee)
Original Joe’s at Tuscany Village, Victoria: 1654 McKenzie Avenue (at Shelbourne). For best results, call ahead 778-265-5225.
Find Original Joe’s in British Columbia and across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.