New U.S. Gluten-Free Restaurant Site

If you or a loved one is prone to food allergies, you know the challenges of finding a restaurant where everyone will feel comfortable.

That search has just gotten easier for Americans.

A new website, www.allergyeats.com, combines the Internet technology with peer-to-peer information to help people know in advance how well (or poorly) a restaurant responds to people with food allergies and other food intolerances, such as Celiac Disease.

The website lists over 600,000 restaurants in the United States and is searchable by geographic location, provides maps and driving directions, lists phone numbers and includes menus, industry certifications and other information of interest to food allergy sufferers when available.

Users are encouraged to help the rest of the food allergy community by answering three simple questions (takes less than a minute) about their dining experience. The answers are compiled into an objective “allergy-friendliness rating” that gives users instantaneous at-a-glance information about the “allergy friendliness” of specific restaurants.

There is also a place on the site for written comments, which will be monitored to ensure they contain only food-allergy related opinions.

“This site is an outgrowth of the difficulty I have in finding a place where my two food-allergic children can eat,” said Paul Antico, who spent 20 months researching and designing the site.

There are about 12 million people with food allergies in the United States. Over 2 million people have Celiac Disease.

AllergyEats is endorsed by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) of Washington, the AAFA New England Chapter of Boston and the Gluten Intolerance Group of Auburn, WA, among others.

“In addition to helping people with food allergies, AllergyEats is a good tool for the restaurant industry,” Antico said. “Restaurateurs can see how their individual locations are faring, and can learn from comments about other restaurants what works and doesn’t work for people with food allergies.”

While there are other online sites for people with food allergies, none combines the comprehensiveness of the AllergyEats listings with objective ratings and comments area.

“AllergyEats is really a living, breathing organism that will grow and become increasingly useful as people share information on the site. I am happy to offer this to the food allergy community, and I can’t wait to see how it develops,” Antico said.