Having a child with severe food allergies can not only be difficult and frustrating, it can also be heartbreaking to watch your little one not be able to participate in certain activities or enjoy life in the same ways as his or her friends do. That’s why when one mom found out about a very special restaurant, she was overjoyed.
Holly Garrett was on vacation in Florida with her six-year-old son, Isaac, who suffers from life-threatening peanut and tree nut allergies, as well as allergies to dairy and eggs. She soon learned that a restaurant called LuLu’s was 30 minutes away. LuLu’s, which is owned by Jimmy Buffett’s sister, Lucy, caters to people with food allergies. When Garrett contacted the restaurant, she was assured by a manager that the establishment could handle Isaac’s dietary restrictions.
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At LuLu’s, Isaac was able to eat tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole, a salad and grilled chicken tenders with rice. Garrett told HuffPost when the chips and salsa first arrived at the table, Isaac was hesitant.
“Isaac looked at me like, ‘Is this OK?’” she said. “He didn’t dig right in.”
Once his mom gave the OK, he enjoyed for the first time the experience of ordering and eating at a restaurant.
“That look on his face was like, ‘This is the coolest thing I’ve ever done,’” Garrett told HuffPost.
Garrett and her family rarely go out to restaurants because of Isaac’s food allergies. When they do, she cooks something for Isaac at home before they leave and brings it with her to the restaurant.
Yes, Isaac’s meal at LuLu’s was the first time he ordered and ate food at a restaurant. His experience just illustrates how trying food allergies can be on entire families. When restaurants like LuLu’s are prepared and happy to cater to customers with life-threatening issues like Isaac’s, they can turn an otherwise mundane experience into the experience of a lifetime.
Garrett was so thrilled for her son’s meal at Lulu’s that she thanked the restaurant on its Facebook page.
“On the way home from our trip, Isaac said, with certainty, the best part of his week vacation at the beach was eating at LuLu’s,” she wrote in her post. “Thank you from the bottom of my worried mother heart for giving him this experience.”
Dear LuLu'sYou are looking at a picture of a boy that has never, in his 6 and a half years, been able to order from a…
LuLu’s has a few locations that offer special menus for people with allergies.
…[W]hen customers alert the staff that someone in their group has a food allergy, the restaurant’s manager assists with the order by relaying it to the kitchen, ensuring it’s cooked in a separate station and delivering the finished food to guests.
“We do this to prevent any cross contact at any step of the order,” Barnett said. “We have been evolving this process over the last 10 years, when our allergy program was started. We feel that it’s important for guests with allergies to be able to have the same experience as any other of our guests.”