I love Luby’s. I’ve eaten there since I was a little girl. I still associate church on Sundays with eating at Luby’s because one inevitably led to the other.
Now that I have my own family, we still love Luby’s. But eating there is a downright challenge. Although I am satisfied that Luby’s provides several meats and vegetables that are peanut, nut, and/or gluten-free (and you can forget salads and desserts), they aren’t easy to come by and chances of cross-contamination are staggering.
Everything is served buffet style at Luby’s…so the individuals behind the counter are serving you. The problem is in the placement of the food and the utensils that are used for serving. For example, in the vegetable section today there were some safe items like mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and green beans for my son. However, next to those vegetables were sweet potatoes with pecans. Although each food bin should have its own respective utensil for serving, there is always an outside chance that the wrong utensil could be used. In addition, the food bins are stacked so close together, it is not uncommon for some food to be spilled out of the bin or accidentally dropped into another bin by the serving utensil. It’s more than a little scary.
The same thing goes for meats. Some meats such as the roast beef I’ve found to be okay, but there is often almond-encrusted fish in an adjacent food bin. If the knife that is used for roast beef is accidentally used to half a piece of nut-encrusted fish, there has been contact with the allergen and the results could be catastrophic.
On very rare occasions, I do allow my family to eat at Luby’s. I’m sure the employees almost hate it when we do eat there because I’m polite but firm in requesting fresh food, fresh utensils, and so on and it does slow down the line. So what?! My son’s safety is my only concern.
In this day and age, I see so many restaurant chains and even mom and pop dining establishments making changes to accommodate those with food allergies. So I’m a little stumped as to why a family dining institution such as Luby’s hasn’t followed suit. It’s more than a little disappointing because Luby’s is one of the last places around where you can provide the entire family with a well-rounded and healthy meal for a decent price…if you don’t have food allergies.
So, Luby’s…if you listening…we love your food, your prices, and your commitment to remaining a family dining experience but maybe it is time to begin considering safe-serving options for those with food allergies.
3 thoughts on “Eating At Luby’s Can Be A Challenge for Those With Food Allergies”
I too loved dining at Lubys because of their vegetable and salad selection. I had a very bad experience with their chopped angus steak so I called corporate hq and inquired. Turns out I was ill advised locally, it is not GF. I was not rude or threatening. I did ask for a list of GF options so I could make better choices. I was told this would not be a problem, I would receive one soon. A week later I got a call from corporate advising me and all people with food allergies to avoid Lubys. “They are a cafeteria after all. Cross contamination cannot be managed and they will not make any special meals for anyone, nor do they intend to have a special prep area just for people with food allergies be they gluten, peanut or whatever.” I sat with my jaw on the floor in complete silence while this prattled away. Eventually a voice asked, “are you there?” I said “yes, just taking it all in.” Mrs. Wallace said they weren’t in the habit of turning people away, but it was for our own good. I’m at a loss. Make sense of it if you can.
Wow! That is SO disheartening.
I get it and I think its probably easier for a restaurant to just not bother with advertising gluten free because they can not police and watch employees constantly and its a liability if a customer eats something with gluten and has a bad reaction and then gets hassled and bad reviews by customer or even try to sue the business. Americans are so spoiled to the fact they think every business needs to cater to them.