I had to go to the Cheesecake Factory for a business lunch recently. Considering cheesecake is probably my all time favorite dessert (& I’m not normally that big on dessert), this was cruel and unusual punishment, but I’m always a good sport about going where the majority vote rules and making the best of it.
I asked for a gluten free menu and was told they are working on it, but don’t have one yet. Our server was very nice and helpful. She had a boyfriend with Celiac so was familiar with the items that are safe and not. Our table had ordered two appetizers, neither of which were suitable for me. I scanned the appetizer menu and asked the server, but was told they literally didn’t have one appetizer that was gluten free.
Our server went back to the kitchen and asked numerous questions for me and made suggestions on a few dishes that might work well. I decided on plainly grilled salmon with fresh lemon, mashed potatoes and asparagus. I requested she double check with the kitchen on the mashed potatoes just to be safe, which she did and she assured me they were fine. Salmon is sometimes hard to get just right, but all of the food had a really nice flavor and was prepared well.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling very well a couple hours later. I never got seriously ill, but I definitely had “the fog” and felt under the weather that evening. My stomach also never got that upset, but seemed a little “off” for 2 or 3 days afterwards. Obviously, it’s hard to tell with Celiac since it’s usually a somewhat delayed reaction (at least for me), but I hadn’t had anything else unusual that day and I’m guessing there was some type of cross contamination issue in the kitchen. This tells me Cheesecake Factory has a ways to go (like further than just a gluten free menu) to understanding the seriousness of a gluten allergy and proper kitchen methods to minimize risk.
Has anyone else had a good or bad experience at Cheesecake Factory?