A few weeks ago my husband and I took our kids on a winter road trip. I had read many articles about a new allergy-friendly restaurant in Montreal, Quebec, so we planned an overnight detour in the city just so that we could eat at ZERO8, a restaurant that is completely free-from the top 8 allergens.
Eating out is complicated for my family. Two of my three children have multiple food allergies, which requires my household to avoid 7 of the 8 top food allergens. We don’t take risks when it comes to food, so we usually pack meals for our kids, because most restaurants are unable to accommodate for food allergies. I was looking forward to enjoying a stress-free night at ZERO8 where I didn’t need to worry about keeping food warm, wiping down table and chair surfaces and vigorously washing up my own hands and face after eating food that could make my children sick. But even more importantly, I was excited to give my child a menu and tell him that he could pick anything he wanted on it, because that’s a huge deal for us.
ZERO8 implements rigorous allergy-friendly processes, including supplier validation and ELISA testing that detects food allergens at extremely low levels, to ensure that the restaurant is entirely gluten & top allergen free – even the soaps in the restrooms are top allergen-free! They also do their best to accommodate for allergies that fall outside the top 8 – you can provide this information when you are making a reservation or tell the server and they will make recommendations. My son has a mild chicken allergy, and when we told them, they made accommodations so that his beef burger was not cooked on surfaces that touched chicken (wow!).
The menu is full of delicious options and the portion sizes are generous. They serve comfort foods like soups, burgers and sandwiches, but they also have items that show off the local gastronomical culture like bison flank steak, smoked duck and a poutine style dish. There is an option for everyone to enjoy, whether or not you live with food allergies.
The way I see it, ZERO8 is completely inclusive and an ideal restaurant for families and friends to enjoy meals together. People with food allergies or intolerances can safely eat there, and people that don’t have food allergies won’t feel like they are “sacrificing” by eating an allergy-friendly meal, because the food is actually really good. I’ve lived a life free from food allergies, and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal.
ZERO8 is a crowdfunded company. A large portion of the funds used in the restaurant opening was provided by customers who encourage their mission to allow everyone to enjoy a restaurant moment. They plan to start new campaigns to open restaurants in other cities … so, stay tuned, because allergy-friendly dining could be coming your way!
For more information, visit their website at zero8.com.