I had heard that Chili’s had a gluten free menu from a few of the blogs I visit but I couldn’t remember if it was a good menu or not. Then I remembered reading about Stephanie’s glutening but I thought that it wouldn’t happen to me because, what would be the odds? Plus, I would not only tell the server about my intolerance but also I would go prepared with my handy-dandy cards!
Was I naive? Maybe, I was. Maybe it is because I have put too much faith in people or maybe it is because I expect that if you actually have a gluten free menu, it means that you know the meaning of what gluten free is and what cross contamination is. Is that too much to ask? Do I sound harsh? Well, keep reading. I am more than just a little upset, this ladies and gentlemen is by far the worst culinary (if you can call Chili’s culinary) experience I have ever had.
My boyfriend and I were meeting his sister, her husband and their adorable daughter for dinner. I mistakenly suggest Chili’s for dinner because of the gluten free menu. Jared and I get there first, we sit down and we talk the game plan. The game plan includes how I am going to order. I always think this through because I get nervous and never want to leave anything out. Jared orders for me often because it makes me uneasy and he has great attention for detail, but I ordered for myself last night. His family arrived, they decided on their order and the waitress came. She was not very pleasant but I was nice to her.
When it was my turn to order I chose: A hamburger. No bun, with cheese and the garnish. No French fries. Instead of the fries can I please have a side salad? She nodded. I continued: No Croutons. No dressing of any kind. Instead I would like lemon wedges. I have Celiac Disease meaning I cannot have any gluten or wheat because it will make me very sick. It is all on this card. Can you please give it to your cook and their staff?
She took the card and gave me a look. I didn’t care though. I have no clue if she gave it to the cook or not. When she returned with my order, she brought me my burger with a side of ranch on the plate. The ranch was in a separate container so I didn’t freak out but I was still annoyed. Ranch was not on the gluten free menu and I didn’t order it. She wasn’t listening to my needs. I told her again “I am highly allergic to gluten and I don’t want to take a chance, could you please take the dressing back.” I know that celiac is an autoimmune disorder but I didn’t feel like explaining it to her, she wasn’t getting it. I figured the word allergy would work better with this chick. Then she really crossed the line, she replied with, “Yeah, I would be PARANOID too.” I didn’t want to make a scene. I was at dinner with my boyfriend and his lovely family and I was on the verge of tears. It had been such an amazing week for the gluten free community with the release of the G-Free Diet and all of the promotion surrounding it and also with the launch of the Starbucks gluten free dessert. I wasn’t going to let this girl get me down. I wasn’t being paranoid, I was protecting my intestines.
Dinner was awful. My salad tasted old. I couldn’t even finish it and my burger kind of sucked. I started not feeling well during my dinner. My boyfriend said it was the worst steak he ever had. My boyfriend's sister didn't really like her dinner either. I left still hungry since I didn’t finish my meal so my boyfriend took me to In & Out for some french fries. I had a bad feeling about the food I had eaten at Chili’s so I took some Pepto while we were still there, especially since I wasn’t feeling well. I know that Pepto isn’t cure at all, but maybe it helps a little? Hey, kept me from having the craps! So, I would like to think that maybe it lessens it a bit…right?
We were going to this arcade called Golfland to play games and by the time we got there I had this massive headache. After ten minutes I threw up in the restroom. I threw up a total of four times while we were there, but I didn’t want to leave and let stupid Chili’s get in my way. I was in so much pain that it hurt to walk and I felt really bloated. On the way back to my boyfriend’s we stopped at the store and picked up some things so I would feel better.
I can honestly say that Chili’s was the worst restaurant experience I have ever had. It wasn’t the worst glutening of my life but it was by far the worst customer service and pretty awful food. I do not like being insulted by people when I am trying to have a good time. I am saddened by the lack of humanity that waitress showed for me, it is hard enough trying to eat out. I know that there are more and more options for gluten free people showing up all the time but when restaurants like Chili’s has gluten free menus, I expect their staff not to insult patrons and not to cross contaminate them. I am really disheartened by Chili’s. I normally try to not give bad reviews but Chili’s you gave me really crappy service and maybe you should give your servers a bit of sensitivity training.