AllergyEats named One Dish Cuisine Café, Deli, and Bakery, in Ellicott City, Maryland, the most allergy-friendly restaurant in the U.S. This independent restaurant goes to amazing lengths to offer a best-in-class allergy-friendly environment, where dining out with food allergies and celiac disease can be a relaxing, enjoyable experience.
One Dish Cuisine is free of most common allergens, including peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy, as well as gluten. While the restaurant does serve dairy, all dairy-based meals are made in a separate kitchen with strict protocols in place to avoid cross-contact with milk, butter, and cheese. To further avoid possible cross-contact risk – and to increase the comfort of One Dish Cuisine’s food-allergic customers – owner Maureen Burke prohibits outside food from being brought into the restaurant.
“Each year, AllergyEats spotlights the most allergy-friendly chain restaurants. This year, for the first time, we’re showcasing the most allergy-friendly independent restaurant in the nation—One Dish Cuisine Café, Deli and Bakery. As with our top chains list, the determination of this esteemed title is based on input from AllergyEats users and their reviews of restaurants across the U.S.,” says Paul Antico, founder and CEO of AllergyEats.
“One Dish Cuisine has raised the bar, setting a whole new standard in the food service industry,” Antico says. “They have received unanimously positive ratings and feedback on AllergyEats from food-allergic diners who have visited from all over the country.”
“Maureen has created an allergy-friendly environment that’s above and beyond any restaurant I’ve visited before. Her restaurant’s food allergy procedures are second to none—completely avoiding most common allergens, having a separate kitchen for dairy-based meals, making all food from scratch, ensuring all employees are extremely knowledgeable about food allergies, vetting all vendors for cross-contact, testing food products for possible allergens, prohibiting outside food in the restaurant, and even choosing a location for One Dish Cuisine that would not share a ventilation system with another restaurant to reduce the possibility of accidental airborne exposure for her food-allergic patrons,” Antico continues.
Maureen understands the need for safe food firsthand. After a variety of severe health issues for much of her life, Maureen was eventually diagnosed with celiac disease and a severe dairy allergy. Once she completely cut gluten and dairy from her diet, her health improved significantly.
“All of our products are handmade from scratch and free of the top allergens. I bake my own breads and make every component of each meal, including the sauces, in house. That means our chicken nuggets, meatballs, barbeque sauce, pizza—everything is allergy-friendly,” Maureen says.
It’s Maureen’s exceptional attention to detail and understanding of food allergy protocols that has earned One Dish Cuisine a tremendously loyal fan base. Customers have come from all 50 states and from around the world to dine at this restaurant.
“One Dish Cuisine is my Disney World,” says loyal customer Max LaMonica, age 13, from Rochester, New York, who has anaphylactic food allergies to wheat, dairy, eggs, barley, rye, oats, peanuts, tree nuts, and sesame. “There’s no rides or anything, but it’s all about the safe food and it’s so special. I think I gained eight pounds that first day we visited. For the first time ever, I could order anything off the menu like a normal person. I was so happy that I wanted to cry.”
“One Dish Cuisine was a game changer for us,” says Courteney Monroe, food allergy mom, One Dish Cuisine customer, and chief executive officer at National Geographic Channel. “There are very few people who cook for my food-allergic son—myself, my husband, our babysitter, and now Maureen. I see the level of care that she puts into what she does. She’s so unique—she really understands food allergies and I wouldn’t trust anyone else like I trust her. She’s concerned about even the smallest details.”
According to Maureen, 90 percent of One Dish Cuisine’s guests have food allergies and/or celiac disease. She estimates that the 10 percent of customers without food allergies originally came in with a food-allergic guest, and now they come back – even without allergies – because they love the food.
In addition to the food served within One Dish Cuisine’s restaurant, they also provide allergy-friendly foods to local hospitals, who often struggle to feed food-allergic patients.
Plans are currently in place to open a second One Dish Cuisine in the Bethesda, Maryland, area within the next year.