In December, 2008, I had occasion to eat at a Chili's
Restaurant on Sterling Road in Hollywood, FL. My grandson
had phoned ahead to ask if they had a Gluten-free menu and it
was his understanding that they did.
Somehow or other when we arrived and I asked the hostess
for their Gluten-free menu, she seemed bewildered by my
request. After calling for the manager and speaking with him
at length about my special dietary requirements, I was able to
order something I could eat.
My experience there was not favorable. I am of the opinion
that if a restaurant chain is willing to offer a Gluten-free menu,
their staff--from management to the kitchen staff to the
servers, should have some basic familiarity of what that
implies. Perhaps the Gluten-free menu was new to Chili's at
that time (December '08), and while it's unrealistic to expect a
thorough understanding of what eating Gluten-free means, it
was very disappointing that there was so little evidence by the
restaurant staff I encountered of any knowledge of it.
Later that afternoon, I contacted Chili's corporate office with
my comments. I hope that that served as a catalyst to
improve their awareness of providing information to all their
staff on Gluten-free food service and preparation.
Those restaurants, both independents and chains, who have
opted to provide a Gluten-free menu to the Celiac community
are to be commended for their effort, but In the end, it is our
responsibility to be cautious about our food choices when