Hey Applebees: We're Celiacs…We're Not Psychotic

does applebees have a gluten free menu

So I blew my back out on Thanksgiving. Not the first time…and won’t be the last time. But it’s been a painful couple of weeks for me. Real painful.

Mrs. Dude’s cousin was staying with us for the weekend. He also has a pretty messed up back.

Friday night, as I was moaning and groaning, he offered me a pill to help ease my pain. Nothing illegal mind you…just a muscle relaxer. I said thanks but no thanks.

Saturday night, still moaning and still the same offer. This time I took the pill.

And guess what? I forgot to look it up first to see if it was gluten-free. Me…a celiac veteran…making an inexcusable, idiotic rookie mistake. It was stupid, stupid, stupid. I was pissed. Mrs. Dude was pissed. The cousin felt awful.

Turns out the pill was gluten free and I dodged a major bullet, right before vacation mind you.

So what’s my point and what does this have to do with Applebees?

My point is that being a celiac is a gigantic pain in the ass and we cannot let our guard down…even for a minute. And going out to eat? Multiply that “gigantic pain in the assness” by 1000 and that describes a celiac’s night out many times.

So when we order our food and we’re real particular, we’re not trying to make the server’s job difficult. We’re simply trying our best not to damage our intestines and ruin the next X amount of weeks/months of our lives.

Well listen to what happened at an Applebees to a fellow celiac the other night. This came to me via Facebook and here is the woman’s story.

“I went to Applebees with my son tonight. They now have tablets on the tables [to order your food]. I ordered the Fiesta Lime Chicken and made sure the server understood my needs. After we finished, my son noticed the word “psychotic” was placed with my order. Seriously? For ordering gluten free and trying to stay safte? I wanted to cry.”

That’s right. For asking the kitchen to be extra careful with her meal, she was labeled psychotic. And in case you are wondering if there is proof, I give you Exhibit A.

applebees celiac disease

Every day, I lose more and more faith in humanity. Compassion and empathy have disappeared. Those who have special needs are deemed as difficult and demanding and contributing to the “pussification” of America.

Again…reason number 193 why I hate the gluten free fad. For too many people outside the celiac world, gluten free is complete bullshit. Thank you Jimmy Fallon. Thank you Jimmy Kimmel. Thank you Rachael Ray. Thank you Dr. Oz. You can seriously all go f**k yourselves now.

We’re not psychotic. We’re celiac.

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46 thoughts on “Hey Applebees: We're Celiacs…We're Not Psychotic”

  1. That person should contact the manager immediately!!! There are days that I just hate people. I went to an Applebee’s for the first time in three years last week and I was SO nervous ordering. I wasn’t labeled as “psychotic”…..at least I am unaware of it, but it was nerve wracking to say the least.

  2. i tried Applebee’s once and felt entirely uncomfortable. I ate, and I probably shouldn’t have. I was ok, but I felt like I dodged a bullet like GD did with the pill.
    This is completely inexcusable. Gotta wonder how many think that without writing it down.

  3. This is absolutely terrible. When a restaurant has a gluten free menu it seems so inviting, then you get inside and interact with the servers and VOILA – totally wishing you would have just stayed home and cooked yourself!

    1. My sentiments exactly! I have had bad experiences at Applebee’s as well. Rude staff, don’t care about your “needs”, food is not good, etc. If I’m going to spend my money eating out I’m going to go somewhere that takes my Celiac needs seriously or I’ll never go there again. It’s just not worth it at all.

  4. Went to Applebee’s for the very first time the other day, I didn’t care for the food so I won’t be back….but…I did see the tablets and asked too not use it….a person can put their own comments in there when ordering so I am wondering in this case…the customer could have put that word…it could have been an auto correct if someone on the staff didn’t know how to spell celiac?….thanks for the info tho….the waitress was very attentive for our gluten free questions during our visit…she handed me the managers three ring binder that explained what they do and have for food allergies. I didn’t get sick but based on the comments from other diners, and the fact that that I didn’t really enjoy the food….we won’t eat there again….thanks for keeping us informed!

      1. I used to work for an Applebee’s few years ago, sadly this abuse does not shock me. When you have abusive management, it trickles downward. I know the store I was at treated allergies, intolerances and illness lightly. I had one time I had it out with a cook who put cheese accidentally on her burger. I sent it back, the cook peeled it off tried again as I told him genius the allergens still there and went to clean a spot on the grill and cooked it myself. This was pre celiac disease but I always took that stuff deadly serious as I didn’t want someone to get ill and sue possibly.
        Ali is correct once there no going back to revise it, and honestly I can’t see patron doing it themself. As most of know why add a bad light to our cause by faking that. We already put up with enough thanks to my now growing boycott list of no watch celebrities who mock something so serious.

        1. Sorry for grammatical mistakes and of the such , was writing this on the road and tired. Few more hours and I am finally home.

  5. I am on that celiac disease Facebook Group and was one of the ones to see it last night. It was unbelievably insensitive and cruel are the Applebee’s employee and I really feel that person should be fired and the restaurant chain reevaluate the terrible way they treat anyone with food allergies or celiac disease. This makes me not want to go there ever again

      1. My mom was the person this happened to last night. Just to let everyone know it was the Applebee’s in Turnersville, NJ.

  6. i will never go to Applebee’s again. Last time I was there, the service was horrible and the food was cold. This waiter should be reported immediately. How awful. It’s crazy how people cannot understand food issues. Why are Celiacs always the bad guys?? I get so tired of talking about what I am eating and why.

  7. Why the hell would you eat in that shithole in the first place? Those are not chefs preparing your “food” in Crapplebees!!! They are underpaid microwave operators!!!

    1. I’ve never heard it called “Crapplebees.” I love it! I had a horrible experience at an Applebee’s in 1995, 15 years before my celiac diagnosis, and I vowed I’d never eat at one again.

  8. It’s sad but this is one of the main reasons I don’t dine out anymore. Either the looks I get or the label I get is annoying enough, and on top of that I get glutened probably 8/10 times. It’s not worth it anymore unfortunately. PF Changs and Bonefish Grill seem to get it right but this just shows it’s hard to trust any food chains now-a-days.

    1. Yes, you are so right about PF Chang’s and Bonefish Grill. I also get great treatment at a few other chains: Maggiano’s, Biaggi’s, Red Robin, Mitchell’s Fish Market and Outback. But, honestly, I think these are all restaurants known for the quality of their food, separate from having GF protocols in place. To me, it says a lot about a restaurant in general if they have a positive and smart attitude toward serving their GF customers.

  9. That’s just horrible, insensitive, unthinking, and rude. While I don’t go out to eat because I don’t trust restaurants to handle my celiac needs, I know others do eat out and no one should be treated like that for trying to have a safe meal. I agree that the GF fad is contributing to the mentality that we are all weird insane people who are doing this on a whim or some indulgence or to lose weight. And people get sick of the fad dieter types and all the claims, so they don’t take the medical need to be GF for some people seriously. Over saturation and tiring out is hurting us. I hope that the community forces some kind of response or investigation for more information or action on what happened.

  10. They act the same when you have food allergies. They act like we’re just a royal pain in the butt. Years ago I worked in a deli and there was a customer who was allergic to certain ingredients. Nobody wanted to wait on her and told me to. I had to read ingredients for her like on the cheese and salads etc. I didn’t mind cause I have many food allergies myself but people are really impatient about stuff like that.

    1. When I went to a gluten free local bakery for the first time I asked the proprietor a few questions about how she got her goodies to be GF: Not even the usual interrogation. But you should have heard the poor dears in line behind me, sighing and shuffling their feet making sure I registered their displeasure. Deep breath, el Hefe, deep breath

      In the case of pills, I’d say FDA is taking a ridiculously long time figuring out where its head is at on gluten in drug products. Maybe even an unreasonably long time.

  11. Too bad this stupidity goes on by some people. I was called weird at a local coffee shop for bringing my own gf wraps. Okay then, just take me out back and shoot me! haha Lets call some pranks to CBS again, GD whats that number again? CBS Celiac Broadcasting Services

  12. The notes on the order can be used for good. I was at a restaurant in Dallas that signaled the kitchen to change protocols by placing **CELIAC ** CELIAC ** on the order. I ate there all week and didn’t get glutened once. I’m going back next time I’m in Dallas. Applebees, not so much. They have much to learn.

  13. I get that kind of response in so many different areas. Today it happened trying to make sure I got the right medication at the pharmacy. The girl kept sighing and acting as if I had no idea what I was talking about when I asked if my filled med was from a certain manufacturer. When I tried to explain I had Celiac and I had to have the medication from a certain manufacturer, I got, “whatever”. I tried to explain to my husband, who was standing next to me not saying a word when all of this was taking place, that I really could use some back up in that kind of situation because I was in tears when we left. People have no idea that it isn’t just at one place that you run into this. It is everywhere we go and a daily occurrence that we have to question what is going to be put into our mouths (or on our skin, or hair, etc.) So when we run into this kind of judgement time after time after time, and especially when all in one day … well, sometimes it can trigger some very major depression. I just don’t eat out anymore, and haven’t for years.

  14. I have to say that I have not eaten at Applebees, but I have found some great places that are accommodating. For instance, Red Robin has a dedicated fryer for it’s fries and I’ve never had a problem. Outback is also a great place to eat if you want to go out.

  15. This is absolutely NOT okay. I would encourage this person to call the manager as soon as possible, or perhaps schedule an in-person meeting to address what happened. I would likely have burst into tears. It’s already so hard to feel normal in social settings revolving around food, and then to have this happen is a huge blow. After working in the service industry for 5 years, I truly hope this person is fired.

    On the other hand, I would encourage my fellow Celiacs not to discount Applebee’s as a safe eating place just yet. I was not thrilled to be going there with family the other night, and I was very nervous. However, I went, I spoke in depth with my server about what needed to happen for me to stay safe, and she treated me with such kindness and respect, and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner and did not become ill. This is clearly an example of a hostile, poor-mannered, RUDE waitress, and not an accurate reflection of an entire company.

  16. You’re a pathetic whiner, a professional victim. You’re the Al Sharpton of the hypochondriac world. You’re nothing but a hustler, profiting off of other people’s stupidity. Deuche…

  17. I have food allergies-bell peppers and I also have fibromyalgia and suspected lupus so I strictly stay away from certain foods to prevent my inflammation from flaring. All nightshades…potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, chili peppers and bell peppers. Wheat. Tea. Coffee. Corn. White rice Limited dairy. And I basically try and stay away from high carb and simple carb foods. I was in the hospital 3 weeks ago for a planned abdominal hysterectomy and because of my many other health issues was scheduled to have several pre-op appointments to address issues like diet. So even after this diet consult the first post surgical meal I was served was cream of wheat, pudding and coffee. The next was tomato soup and pudding and soup. For dinner, because the nurses kept sending messages down to the kitchen that they were sending me food that was potentially harmful, I got 3 portions of pudding. The next morning was wheat toast with some sort of scrambled egg ‘puck’ and then lunch was potato soup. I know hospitals aren’t known for the palatability of their food but if you can go to the hospital and be fed food that isn’t going to make you violently ill, dining out almost seems hopeless. Having said that…when dining at a chain, and it shouldn’t matter if it’s McDonald’s or Ruth’s Chris, your food should be safe. But in the matters of food safety…forget about complaining to the shift manager. You can let the head manager know but ALWAYS TAKE YOUR CONCERNS AND COMPLAINTS TO AT LEAST A REGIONAL MANAGER but IDEALLY REGIONAL and NATIONAL. This is how problems are identified and this is how things are changed. Are food allergies and medical conditions like Celiacs a pain in the ass to them? Yes, but it’s a reality and they are on the rise and as businesses they must adapt to us. And if they’re not willing to do it, we have the power to take our money and support consumer friendly businesses that take our health seriously.

  18. A work friend had her going away get together at Applebees. I hadn’t ever eaten there, and after a long look at their online menu decided the only safe thing for me was the baked potato. The waitress was super kind and very helpful and even brought diced onions to put in my potato with vinegar and oil. While I wont be eating there on a regular basis, at least there was something I could eat safely.

  19. I know I’m a little late with this comment but I used to love going to Applebee’s. Key word being “used to”. They did have a gf menu a while ago but now they give you a clipboard with all allergies on it and you have to go through line by line to find something that you can actually eat without getting sick. My husband said it would be easier to just bring it home and write up my own menu to bring with me when we do go (my daughter loves the place so I go because of her). I have been celiac for about 5 years now and you are absolutely correct with the whole”fad diet” thing. I now work at a small gf retail store and I absolutely love it! I don’t have to worry about getting sick because everything that we sell I can eat. It makes me so mad when people ask if I am just doing it because I want to be more healthy. No I’m doing it because I don’t want to get sick you Dumba**!

  20. I was just recently diagnosed with Celiac so I’m new to everything. I went to Applebee’s tonight and felt like such a outsider. My husband asked for a gluten free menu for me which I didn’t have any time to read it. The waitress was coming back constantly asking what I wanted and it made me feel like crap because I was taking so long. Got so frustrated so I just ordered a salad, which she brought with croutons. I will never go back!!

    1. First of all, it’s not your fault: you didn’t decide to have celiac disease. Let me repeat: you didn’t decide to have celiac disease.

      Don’t let an impatient waitress make you feel like crap– you’re a customer and you will be paying for the meal, and you have every right to take the time you need to read an unfamiliar menu. If the waitress gets annoying, be annoying right back: “Look! I just found out I have celiac disease and I’m new at this, so give me some [*] time to look at the [*] menu!” She’s supposed to be serving you, not vice versa. Ask the manager for another server if appropriate.

      You’re stuck with this problem for the rest of your life (unless some miraculous cure comes along, don’t hold your breath), so be polite when you can and assertive when you need to be.

      (BTW, I wouldn’t go back to that Applebee’s either.)

      *insert expletive, if appropriate

  21. Ugh, I’ve been to that Applebee’s and had our own experience there. A friend realized that he is sensitive to garlic and asked the server if they could recommend items w/o garlic. We had a fairly large party and were all appalled at how the situation was handled. The manager came out and was very alarmed to hear that a sensitivity was at his restaurant and asked to know how severe it was. Our friend explained that it was stomach issues, nothing life-threatening but something he wanted to avoid. The manager seemed relieved that it wouldn’t cause throat swelling. The manager went page by page with the menu and kept saying, “Not for you”…when asked if food could be prepared without sauces or seasonings, he got very upset and said he would have to spend hours in the back figuring out what items had seasonings and if they contained garlic and that was impossible…so Applebee’s is not for us.

  22. When I was in college (early 2008), right after I found out I had celiac, I went on a date to Applebee’s in my college town. The waiter had no idea what celiac was, so I explained it and he seemed to listen patiently. He then brought out my salad with croutons and dressing all over it, so I sent it back.

    He then shook his head at my date and said, “Man. I’m glad I’m not your boyfriend” as he picked up the plate. I was furious, and while my date wasn’t the greatest of guys by any means, agreed that the waiter should NOT have said that. We called the manager over and told him what had happened, thinking I would get an apology or something. The manager then looked at me and said in all seriousness:

    “Well, it’s your fault for coming out to eat. People like you ruin the experience for everyone, you should just stay home and not bother anyone with your issues.” Issues was surrounded by air quotes.

    I left and have not darkened the door of an Applebee’s since.

  23. I just ate at Applebee’s the other night myself. I also have celiac and hate eating out because of people that just don’t get it. I explained to the server who was very helpful, used the book, which is a pain in the ass, and they still managed to gluten me. I was miserable for the rest of the night and now my system is still sensitive every time I eat. People just don’t seem to understand that gluten is like arsenic to us.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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