If you’ve never been to Austin, then you may not have experienced the unique TexMex heaven called Chuy’s. It’s long been one of our favorite places and we were thrilled when a new one opened in Round Rock a few years ago. When my father-in-law wanted to take us out for my birthday a few weeks after my diagnosis, it’s one of the first places I thought of going.
My wife called them and spoke with the manager. I believe her name was Sandy and she was extremely helpful. She knew what celiac was and said they set aside some of their chicken each day specifically to use for people who can’t eat gluten. (Their normal meat preparation apparently includes some type of beer-based marinade.) When we arrived, our waitress recognized celiac and immediately warned us they couldn’t absolutely guarantee there wouldn’t be any cross-contamination. She didn’t know the details, but spoke with the manager to find out exactly what I could have. She came back with the list of sauces I could have. Most of their sauces are thickened with corn starch, so were on the available list. I chose my personal favorite, their hatch green chili sauce for my chicken enchiladas. The rice and beans were also safe. The manager came by to check on us and see that everything was OK.
I knew when I was diagnosed that Austin, being the sort of place is it is, would be an easier place to live with this disease than many other places. And my first experience with a home-grown restaurant bore that out. They knew about celiac, were prepared for it, and were as helpful as they could be. Obviously, the risk of cross-contamination in any restaurant is such that I don’t eat out much anymore and I wouldn’t risk it as a regular event. And my menu choices at Chuy’s were seriously limited (which I knew would be the case). But it was an encouraging encounter. And it’s great to know that I’m not forever barred from Chuy’s. 😉