A couple weeks ago the U.S. World Cup Soccer Team was slated to play Portugal. Our son is an avid soccer kid (well as much as an unfocused 7 year old can be) and was really itching to watch this game. We don’t own a television, and even if we did, I really wanted the group experience anyway. That’s the only way I like to watch my sports other than live.
With multiple food allergies, this is always a challenge… Where to go? We can’t just go post up in a restaurant or sports bar and not patronize the place, but here in Atlanta there are not a lot of options for people with a list of food allergies, even if they are the 10 most common. The usual spot we like to go in the neighborhood to get out of the house, that has safe margaritas for me, was standing room only, which is okay for us, but not so much for our son.
As luck would have it, we got to experience the hospitality of a new place in the neighborhood that just opened up… Elmyiachi in Kirkwood. They have a GREAT porch I’ve been wanting to sit on and drink my alki beverages, but the couple times we had ventured there, it was a long wait, and we were short on time. Fortunately for us this time, there was a table ready and waiting for us on the deck with the rest of the soccer revilers and no wait!
We did our usual pre-sit interview we do when it’s our first time at a place. I told hubby as long as I could have a drink, I wouldn’t worry about the food this time. And, that was a definite go ahead… Elmyriachi uses freshly squeezed juices for their sour mix in the margaritas instead of bottled stuff that is full of improperly labelled crap! So, we situated ourselves on the deck among “the natives” for a World Cup Soccer treat…
The atmosphere was great! People were shouting at the screen, high fiving, oooo-ing and ahhhh-ing, and “Oh man!”-ing. Bring me my margarita and I’m good! We got our son a juice spritzer and we ordered a pitcher. Then, hubby and kiddo decided to do some chips and salsa for them, so I thought, “Why not see what can me done for me?” I commenced to inform our wait staff about my food allergies and asked if I could do some sliced veggies and salsa. She asked me to hold on a moment, and the manager on duty, Jeff, came back to the table.
I always feel better when a restaurant has this policy, because I know they are more informed and attentive to food allergy issues. Jeff talked with me thoroughly about my food allergies and what I’d like and then headed off… What he came back with was a happy accident! There must have been a miscommunication (the crowd was yelling afterall) because instead of coming back with a plate of sliced veggies and some salsa, Jeff came back with this bowl of vegetable LOVE!
It was something the chef has whipped up especially for me… Julienned cabbage, with avocado, chopped zucchini, and IDK what all other types of veggies, with fresh cilantro and one of their in house orange vinaigrette dressings with a dash of salt and pepper… ummmmm… not what I had ordered… but HEAVEN!
Jeff brought me back what we had intended to order, and left the ramekin of love for me to enjoy, no charge… I was MAD (not really) when that little bowl was empty, as I settled in to nosh on my slices of green bell pepper and cucumbers with salsa.
I was in Jessica nirvana (well maybe I shouldn’t go quite THAT far…lol) with my appetizer, my drink, my family, and world cup soccer, and Jeff checking on me personally to make sure I was satisfied… what a delight! I felt safe… I was relaxed… and I was enjoying my time with my family and all the other Kirwood-ians who came to cheer on the U.S. soccer team, and every person working at Elmyrachi who passed our way was SO helpful and in a great mood.
Unless you have food allergies, I don’t think I can explain to you haw PRICELESS it is to be in a public space and feel that way… The fact that this manager and chef went out of their normal routine to make sure I could have something to eat while there, so that I could relax and have a good time with my family, is outstanding and certainly above the bar when it comes to restaurant culture.
After the game was over, I had time to talk with the manager about some of the other options available to people with multiple food allergies. They were very limited from off the menu, but as you can see this group of people are really willing to put in the effort to make something work!
I was told that one of the chef’s has a child with food allergies, and I think that helps to add that awareness and willingness to the culture of this place, for which I am thankful. I have since offered to help Elmyrachi expand their entire menu to accommodate people with multiple food allergies with simple things they can add that won’t break the bank, and they have taken me up on the offer.
So, be on the look out Atlanta! Soon you will be able to come enjoy Mexican Fusion with many options for people dealing with food allergies (top 10 specifically) AND who are also vegan!!! YAY!!! …right here in the lovely little neighborhood of Kirkwood ❤