A Haven for Families with Allergies

By Lauren Neuschel

Native Foods Cafe

We’re so excited, at Native Foods, to not only be known for our delicious, fun, fresh food as well as a place for plant-based eating, but also as a haven for guests with severe allergy restrictions. A food allergy can be terribly restricting and limiting, even crippling. For those dealing with an allergy, going out to eat, or eating outside of the home can be extremely difficult. And, as our recent River Forest guest put it, there are more “allergic families” than meets the eye. According to FARE – the source for Food Allergy Research & Education – up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, and 1 in 13 children are faced with the disease.

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So it’s no surprise that Native Foods has always been an amazing oasis for kids and families with dairy, or egg allergies. It’s the best feeling in the world opening a restaurant in a new market and talking to families who are so thrilled to have our restaurant in the area to FINALLY be able to take their family out to eat.

Just last week we opened a new Native Foods in River Forest right outside Chicago and hosted a lovely family whose daughter had a food allergy. The next day, this heartfelt letter arrived at our office.

Dear Native Foods Friends,

I am writing to you with a very big THANK YOU. My family (2 adults, 2 kids under 10) attended the complimentary meal November 14th at Native Foods – River Forest. It was beyond awesome and allow me to tell you why!

My daughter is severely allergic to milk, eggs, fish and pork. She is almost nine and shows no sign of improvement regarding these allergies. We’ve been vegan, kind of by default, since her birth. You might imagine how difficult eating out – safely – is for us. Your restaurant is a godsend. We’re thrilled you’re now open in Oak Park. We plan to eat at your place often…even for our first time ever, dine out with friends since your menu is so accessible and tasty for all preferences. Such a watershed for her, and us.

Already have planned a birthday outing to NF OP!!! With pals!! She’s thrilled, feels like a “regular kid.” Thanks for that. So, now I want to tell you about the 14th experience. Eating out is so rare, this family thanks you for not only the chance for a night off from cooking but a FREE meal for four. Feel like I won the Powerball, seriously. That was very generous.

The food was great, as usual, as we’ve had at West Loop, Loop, and Wicker Park locations. Your new wait staff was kind, enthusiastic, and seemed to be pretty happy folks. Lovely launch party.

Sending you thanks, and best wishes for continued success.

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We’re so grateful that we can provide a second safe haven for families across the country dealing with allergies. If you or someone you know has an aversion to any ingredient, please ask our one of our team members for an allergy menu and we’ll be happy to provide more information on our ingredients! 

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