Food Allergies Aren’t Fun – But Your Food Doesn’t Have to be Boring
Like comedian Janeane Garofalo, I grew up in the era where killer allergies were urban legends — usually involving bee stings and anaphylactic shock.
These days, food allergies and intolerance are on the rise. And no laughing matter. Especially when trying to relax on vacation.
Welcome to your North Oregon Coast vacation! You’re in luck — we’re here to help you find good food within your dietary restrictions!
Allergen Sensitive vs. Safe: Not All Foods Are Created Equal
There’s a lot of confusion out there with many reporting as having food allergies.
Within that group are a small percentage of those diagnosed with severe food allergies.
You’ll note that most on the Oregon Coast serve gluten-free options, but you’ll note these eateries often help those with other sensitivities.
Please be aware for those with severe allergies or issues such as Celiac Disease, these are not typically restaurants specializing in dietary restrictions.
Do you have severe dietary restrictions?
We’ve recently run across great suggestions by Joanna Allen and her blog post detailing Dining Out With Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions. Joanna has Celiac Disease, so she speaks from her own experience:
- Call ahead and speak to the Chef or Kitchen Staff.
- Make a laminated card that lists all of your allergens. It is helpful for the chef to refer to it while he is preparing your meal.
- I also pack a small cooler with something small to eat, just in case. I usually bring my own salad dressing and a small piece of protein because the restaurant may not be able to meet all my needs. That way I am guaranteed something to eat.
- It is estimated that about 50% of fatal food allergy episodes happen outside of the home. Make sure your table and chairs are well cleaned before sitting down and make sure the staff is aware of your allergens right from the start. If you have called ahead, the staff should be aware of your allergens and should communicate it to you.
- Keep it simple. I usually order a piece of meat or fish pan seared in only olive oil. I am very specific about exactly what they can and cannot use. If available, I ask for my salad to be only romaine lettuce and I use my own salad dressing I have brought from home. I avoid fried foods and desserts as they have the highest incidences of allergen episodes me and for most individuals.
- Confirm your order with the person who has delivered your meal to make sure it was prepared to your specifications.
- Don’t eat anything suspect, and send it back if you’re not sure. I recently had a waitress who rolled her eyes at me when I explained my allergens and sure enough the information was not conveyed to the chef. Instead of listening to my gut and sending it back, I ate it and ended up in the ER about an hour later.
Thanks Joanna for her great tips!
Eating Our Way Down the Oregon Coast
One scruptious stop at a time.
Let’s start at the top and go from there, shall we?
Welcome to our #1 allergy friendly town, here on the upper NW corner of Oregon. Astoria takes the prize, quantity of selection wise.
Lots of options, both high end and economy.
Astoria Co-op Grocery, 1355 Exchange Street #1, Astoria, OR 97103 (503) 325-0027
Deli and grocery address all dietary restrictions.
Bridgewater Bistro, 20 Basin St, Ste. A, Astoria, OR 97103 (503) 325-6777
An upscale restaurant with fabulous views of the Astoria bridge spanning the stunning mouth of the Columbia River, this spot is run by a husband and wife team with a history of family gluten sensitivities in their own family.
When last we checked, they were so conscious of the possibility of cross contamination, they even feature a dedicated gluten free fryer for those gluten-free people craving fish and chips! Word is they’ll even triple wash pans to accommodate allergies.
Columbian Cafe, 1114 Marine Drive, Astoria OR 97103 (503) 325-2233
Hipster, vegetarian cafe. Quintessential Astorian. Creative and funky.
Ask for the “Chef’s Mercy” – you name your food allergies, and they’ll prepare a unique creation, from scratch especially for you.
The Wet Dog Cafe, 144 – 11th Street, Astoria, OR 97103 (503) 325-6975
Reports as celiac friendly restaurant. Gluten free breads (buns for burgers, etc.), fries and beer.
McMenamins Sand Trap Pub, 1157 N Marion Ave, Seaside, OR 97138 (503) 717-8159
Separate Dietary Restriction Menu highlighting gluten, dairy, vegetarian, and vegan needs. Gluten free buns, gluten free pizza crusts, beer and ciders available.
Tsunami Sandwich Company, 11 Broadway St, Seaside, OR 97138 (503) 738-5427
Gluten free biscuits, breads, and buns round out this pub type offering. Be sure to ask the waitstaff for assistance in ordering your selections.
Patty’s Wicker Cafe, 600 Broadway Street, Seaside, OR 97138 (503) 717-1272
Gluten free options identified on the menu. The staff is very accommodating and the cannel view charming.
Sweet Basil’s Cafe, 271 North Hemlock Street, Cannon Beach, OR 97110 (503) 436-1539
Gluten and dairy free options.
Crepe Neptune. 175 East Second Street, Cannon Beach, OR 97110 (503) 436-9200
Reported as having gluten and dairy free options, but not necessarily safe for those with Celiacs. Gluten free option for the crepes is a buckwheat substitution. No separate grill for wheat and gluten free crepes.
Irish Table, 1235 S Hemlock St, Cannon Beach, OR 97110 (503) 436-0708
Those with allergies don’t play second fiddle at this upper end Cannon Beach gem, with gluten free menu standards such as Shepard’s Pie. Ask the friendly waitstaff for selection help.
Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters, 1235 S Hemlock St, Cannon Beach, OR 97110 (503) 436-2796
Morning sibling to the above listed Irish Table, the delicious fragrance of roasting coffee greets you while you select from among their gluten free pastries.
Big Wave Cafe, 822 Hwy. 101, Manzanita, OR 97130 (503) 368-9283
While not advertised as allergy friendly restaurant, we’ve had guests rave about how helpful the staff is in accommodating special diets.
We can attest that customer service is a high priority of this owner run establishment!
Blackbird, 503 Laneda Ave, Manzanita, OR 97130 (503) 368-7708
Upscale localvore dining. We’ve heard of a gluten-free menu, but haven’t seen one.
We do know the staff is extremely helpful and accommodating to special requests. And their food is uber fresh as opposed to processed.
Be sure to ask for help.
Bread and Ocean, 154 Laneda Ave, Manzanita, OR 97130 (503) 368-5823
Assorted gluten-free bakery goods, including fresh egg-free gluten-free freshly baked bread on Thursdays sold by the loaf. Sandwiches available with gluten-free option. Lots of other possibilities. Helpful staff in trying to accommodate dietary needs.
Note – not for the extremely gluten sensitive. There’s lots of wheat bread baking going on around here.
Coffee Shop, 60 Laneda Ave, Manzanita, OR 97130 (503) 368-2233
Yep, this is their name!
Limited gluten-free options, including gluten-free blueberry muffins.
They also serve freshly made oatmeal with an offered condiment selection, but the oats are not advertised as gluten-free.
Left Coast Siesta, 288 Laneda Ave, Manzanita, OR 97130 (503) 368-7997
All their sauces are now gluten free. Gluten free tortillas available, as are corn shells. All of the meat fillings are gluten free.
Helpful staff will attempt to adjust to your dietary needs.
Manzanita Grocery & Deli, 193 Laneda Ave, Manzanita, OR 97130 (503) 368-5363
Good gluten free section and organic produce available.
Marzano’s Pizza, 60 Laneda Ave, Manzanita, OR 97130 (503) 368-3663
Always yummy pizzas and salads including gluten-free pizza and beer.
Mother Nature’s Natural Foods, 298 Laneda Ave, Manzanita, OR 97130 (503) 368-5316
Good selection of gluten-free and other allergen-free items, including bulk foods.
Neahkahnie Bistro, 519 Laneda Ave, Manzanita, OR 97130 (503) 368-2722
Lunch and dinner. Gluten-free options designated on menu.
Terra Cotta Cafe, 725 Manzanita Ave., Manzanita, OR 97130 (503) 368-3700
Dinners featuring local seafood and other offerings.
Terra Cotta Cafe advertises they accommodate dietary restrictions. We’ve heard positive reviews in this area, but also some difficulties.
Be sure to talk to the servers to see if they can accommodate you before ordering.
Buttercup, 35915 N Hwy 101, Nehalem, OR 97131 (503) 368-2469
Allergen free food seekers heaven! Chowders, both meat and vegan options, made to order, right in front of you.
Artisan house crafted frozen treats, from ice-cream and semifreddos to sorbets – all offered in a cup or house made cones, including gluten-free.
Plenty of non-GMO/gluten-free, dietary restricted options. And they’re there to help!
Pizza Garden, 35815 N Hwy 101, Nehalem, OR 97131 (503) 368-7675
Offering gluten-free crusts and cheese substitutes.
Wanda’s Cafe, 12870 H St, Nehalem, OR 97131 (503) 368-8100
Helpful owner and staff. The offer gluten-free bread, and will help find something, as much as possible, that works for you.
Note that Wanda’s is also a bakery, so there’s wheat flour on premises.
The Roost, 495 N Hwy 101, Wheeler, OR 97147 (503) 368-2625
Charming local coffee shop serving breakfasts and lunches. Gluten-free items available including granola and bread.
Rising Star Cafe, 92 Rorvik St, Wheeler, OR 97147
A local favorite, but the secret’s out. The owners are extremely helpful with tailoring selections to your need and rice noodles are always on the daily menu for all their pasta or special dish.
To top it off, they typically have a gluten-free dessert selection. The owner makes them, so you can ask about specific ingredients of concern!
Dinners, with limited lunches and Sunday brunch.
Kelly’s Brighton Marina, 29200 N Hwy 101, Rockaway Beach, OR 97136 (503) 368-5745
You’re looking for gluten-free and allergen-free? How about freshly cooked crabs, clams and oysters? Shucked, prepared and cooked right in front of you.
For those that love seafood, you’re in for a treat.
Advice for Eating on the Coast with Dietary Needs
We’ve left off the chain restaurants that advertise accommodating allergy restrictions. You’ll find a McDonalds, Subway, A & W, up north in Astoria; Subway and Taco Bell in Warrenton; and McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Subway and Taco Bell in Seaside.
We personally prefer to experience the local, independent businesses. Their food is typically fresher, and the owner is usually on hand to make your experience as wonderful as possible.
We’ll leave you with a last bit of advice. You’ll notice that everyone loves heading to the beach during sunny Pacific Northwest days. And as a result, these small independent businesses often get extremely busy.
Patience will get you much farther ahead when you need to meet a special dietary restriction.
So order the laid back, Manzanita Beach way, and savor the wonderful offerings!
Interested in staying? Contact us for information about our oceanside vacation rentals on beautiful Manzanita Beach, Oregon.
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