Celiac Restaurant Blogging Chronicles-Yellow Belly Brewery
Beware of the over confident Server!
I had the…pleasure… of eating at the Yellow Belly recently with my family. The last couple of times I went there it was for drinks. On a previous visit I had been told that their Cider was in fact not Gluten Free because they used a Champagne Yeast which was contaminated with Barley. I was sorely disappointed but extremely happy that the bartender was so informed. I ordered wine and tried not to daydream about the pint of cider.
On this most recent visit I decided to attempt the menu and order some food. Most of the appetizers were deep friend or gluten containing but I narrowed it down to the Mussels and Smashed Baby Potatoes and decided to ask the waitress about the 2 options. I told the waitress that I was Celiac, I just had a few questions and I was sorry in advance! She informed me that the mussels would be fine and the potatoes were baked and not deep fried and she would get back to me about the sauce on the potatoes once checking with the kitchen to see if it was gluten free. I was so happy and she seemed to be super accommodating.
My next question was about the cider. On the menu was an Apple Cranberry option that had not been there last time I visited. I asked her if it was gluten free. She told me yes indeed it was so I proceeded to explain to her about the Champagne yeast and asked if this particular cider was made differently then. She said she would certainly check on that as well but she was pretty sure it was safe. I felt like I was on a roll!
So I pressed on wards and asked about the entrees. Unfortunately if they weren’t on bread or in bread, everything seemed to be battered in or made with a sauce that included their famous beer. I would have rejoiced in previous years or if it had been gluten free beer but it wasn’t so I just asked if it was possible to order anything without the beer sauce or had it been marinated in the beer as well. The waitress explained that everything could be made gluten free by leaving out sauces or buns but she would again check with the kitchen to make sure.
The rest of the family ordered their drinks and I sat back feeling great because the waitress seemed super confident and knowledgeable and didn’t mind my questions or concerns in the least.
A few minutes later the waitress returned and informed me that the cider was safe, the smashed potatoes were as well and the steak could be made gluten free. I was in heaven and immediately ordered a pint.
The meal was delicious and I ordered a second pint halfway through but 30 minutes later I felt the telltale stomach gurgle and I started to get extremely nauseated. At this point we were paying for bills and I just wanted to hightail it out of there and get home to my own house before the inevitable disaster happened. My fiancé ran 3 red lights on the way home and I couldn’t even panic about cops because I was focusing on not throwing up or something more horrible in his car. I was seconds away from asking him to pull over and humiliating myself in the middle of Kenmount Rd but we made it home and I spent the rest of the night in the bathroom after spending $200 on food that I didn’t get to enjoy which had made me HORRIBLY ill. And let’s not forget about the damage it did to my insides. As Celiacs know, we spend a lot of time worrying about the damage and repair to our intestines because later down the road we have higher risks of malnourishment, osteoporosis and bone breaks.
So the moral of this story. Servers, I know you want to accommodate and do your job but if you don’t think it is possible to avoid cross contamination…TELL the customer. I would have sat there and happily ordered wine all night just to chat with my family. I did not need to order food but I had been made to feel confident that I could. I don’t know if it was the cider or the food but it happened and I shouldn’t have to wonder. I asked enough questions and informed the server of my medical issue.
Future customers….Avoid Yellow Belly at all costs…I give it 2 whopping thumbs down and that is ONLY because I have 2!
The Newfie Celiac Dietitian