This past year, a new location of 110 Grill opened up in Southington. 110 Grill is a regional restaurant group that specializes in “modern American cuisine.” However, what’s most exciting about this restaurant for the ever-growing population of people with food allergies is the absolute dedication they have to providing safe (and delicious) food to those with dietary restrictions.
Most notably, their entire core menu can be made gluten free. For those with celiac disease (1 in 100 people), that sentence is one of the greatest, and rarest, things to hear.
Tom Livengood, culinary manager at 110 Grill, explained the extensive process they go through to ensure that when a guest orders something with a dietary restriction, it’s made safely every time. There is a clipboard kept where orders are put in by the kitchen–this binder has an active list of every table in the restaurant currently with what food allergies are present at the table. Servers write down allergies using a red pen to flag it.
They also have an allergy index which breaks down every single ingredient in every recipe currently on the menu. So if you ask what is in a certain menu item, it’s very easy for the staff to tell you! They also utilize allergy sticks–so if you ordered an item and you have a food allergy, it will come out with an allergy stick in it.
As most people with celiac disease or severe allergies know, the fryers at a restaurant are usually what eliminate so many options from the menu. If your food is made in a fryer that also fries foods containing your allergen, it’s not safe for you to consume that food. For example, fries may be naturally gluten free, but if they’re fried in oil where gluten-filled chicken tenders are fried, they’re no longer gluten free. However, 110 Grill does not place any gluten in their fryers. In fact, they have a special gluten free flour blend that is made just for their restaurant and that is what all of their fried foods are coated in. And for those guests with shellfish allergies, there is also a dedicated shellfish-free fryer.
Once the order comes up to the window, the manager verifies that it was made according to allergy protocols and then the manager delivers the food to the table. Any food item ordered for an allergy is always delivered by a manager! Staff also utilize allergy stickers on any take-out orders which specify that the food was made with your specific allergy in mind and that allergy is noted on the sticker.
At a recent lunch at 110 Grill in Southington, I had the opportunity to try some delicious options. For an appetizer, I tried the Chorizo Totchos–fried seasoned tater tots topped with chorizo sausage, nacho cheese sauce, fresh pico de gallo, avocado, and sour cream. These were gluten free and enjoyed by celiac and non-celiac alike. Another allergy-friendly plate is the Hot Honey Chicken–chicken breast brined in pickle juice, deep fried in cajun seasoned flour, shredded lettuce and pickle chips on a gluten free bun, topped with hot honey.
Guests from all over the area are beginning to discover this gem and Livengood discussed the impact it’s having on families. He told the story of a family with a child that has multiple food allergies. They had never been to a restaurant as a family before because they didn’t feel like it was safe. They recently came to 110 Grill and had such a safe and delicious experience, they’ve been coming 2-3 times a week every since!
“It’s really awesome to see. A woman just started crying last week because it was the first time she was ever able to try fish and chips,” Livengood said.
For those of us with food allergies, the effort put in by the 110 Grill staff is so appreciated. If you’re worried about dining with allergies, this is your new go-to spot.
Meaghan Penrod lives in Connecticut and is the creator of the gluten free food blog Low Key Gluten Free. She shares recipes, restaurant finds, products, and tips for living with Celiac Disease. You can follow her at @lowkeyglutenfree on Instagram and Facebook or check out her blog at lowkeyglutenfree.com.