Thursday, September 4, 2014

Red Robin steps up gluten-free game

I thought my first visit to Red Robin (when the company opened a location in Snellville) would be my last visit there - ever.  I didn't get sick, but my burger came out with a bun and then it was sent back out to the table with bits of the bun left on it...  By the time they actually made my meal correctly, my husband was eating dessert.  It was not awful in the scheme of life, but it was a horrible experience in terms of gluten-free dining.  And to make matters worse, the manager gave us a FREE onion ring card for our troubles....seriously.  It was absolutely ridiculous!

After the chain introduced gluten-free buns and fries, we still didn't go back because I didn't feel the staff would know how to get my meal to the table safely.  Fast forward to a fabulous meal at Red Robin during Expo West in 2013.  The food and drinks were simply incredible and none of the gluten-free diners at our table had the least  pang of pain or sickness afterwards.  In fact, we went back to Red Robin at this year's Expo (to a different location in order to avoid the large crowd and wait at the other location) and the food was again wonderful.

Finally, I decided to give another GA location of Red Robin a chance and it turned out to be a great decision!  The only complaint I have is that you have to order from an iPad (at my location) unless you print up a gluten-free menu and take it in yourself.  In CA, everyone got their own printed/laminated gluten-free menu.  The iPad ordering is tedious because you have to scroll through everything and then remember what you chose when the server gets back around to your table.  From now on, I'll take in my own menu in order to save the time and hassle of using the iPad (it took an unusually long time for someone to bring me said iPad).

The gluten-free buns are so soft you can't imagine they're actually gluten-free!  There isn't a decent (to me) gluten-free dessert to enjoy, but having 'bottomless' sweet potato fries (at no charge!) more than makes up for that.  And if you need to avoid more than gluten, you can use the meal 'customizer' on the Red Robin website to figure out what you can order safely.  For the money, Red Robin runs circles around the trendier (read: pricier) Smash Burger.  My review of SB will be coming up next month.

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