Family Life

Celebrating the Holidays with Food Allergies #TheKeg

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Can you believe there are only two weeks left to go? Eek!

Things are looking pretty Christmassy around here! Our lights are up, the tree is decorated, and Mr. Snowman greets everyone who comes to the door. I wanna be clear though, there’s still lots left to do. I need to find the perfect pair of roller blades for Tee, and Kay has her heart set on a queen doll with a crown and real hair to brush. Oh, and my dad. (Why are dads so hard to shop for?) But still, I like to celebrate the small successes, and getting the decorations up is definitely one of them!

It’s a bit of a family tradition for us to kick off the holiday season with a nice family dinner, but the food allergies and intolerances in our family can often get in the way of that. Hubby can’t eat gluten or cow dairy, Kay is allergic to shellfish, and those limitations take a lot of things literally off the table when we want to go out to celebrate.

That’s why we’re grateful to have The Keg Steakhouse nearby. It’s always a popular choice with us for the delicious food, family-friendly atmosphere, and because we know there are plenty of safe choices on the menu for everyone to enjoy. Last weekend, after we put the lights up and decorated the tree, we made our way down to our local neighbourhood Keg restaurant.

The girls asked to wear their holiday dresses for dinner, and of course I said yes. (We didn’t actually have to wait for our table – we just wanted to take a picture of these happy faces!)

Our friendly hostess made sure that our table was kid-friendly as soon as we sat down. She removed the girls’ steak knives, gave us the choice between glass or plastic cups, and set the girls up with activity placemats, crayons, and the kid’s menu. This was a special occasion, so the girls got to order yummy peach smoothies with dinner. How do I know they’re yummy? Well, I might have sneaked a few sips in along the way. Around our house, we call it the “mommy tax.”

When we told our server that Kay was allergic to shellfish, the kitchen manager came out to reassure us that he had alerted the kitchen staff and would have them bake her fries to avoid any cross-contamination issues. That’s another reason I love to eat here – I can relax knowing The Keg takes Kay’s safety seriously.

Gluten-free items are clearly marked on the menu, and there are so many safe choices. Hubby is an especially big fan of The Keg because he knows he won’t get stuck with a limited menu of salads. He can eat almost everything here!

Hubby and I had steaks, and I shared some creme brulee with the girls for dessert. It seemed only fair seeing how I had helped myself to some of their smoothies earlier. I have to admit it was a little hard to share though. Creme brulee is kind of a weakness of mine, and The Keg makes it perfectly! Next time I might come just for the dessert.

But the best part of our family dinner at The Keg was getting to spend the evening relaxing, talking about our plans for the Christmas holidays, and sharing food without any worry about allergens hiding in our meals. Look at those smiles. Trust me, that’s a gift in and of itself!

Speaking of gifts, one of the best gifts we got last Christmas was from hubby’s sister who gave us a gift card for The Keg along with a hand drawn coupon for babysitting. What a perfect pairing! I might just steal that idea this year when I’m finishing up my own Christmas list.

The Keg is a great choice for celebrating the holidays (and year round), especially if you’re dealing with food allergies. See if there’s a location near you and connect on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Disclosure: I partnered with YMC and The Keg and received compensation for this post. Nevertheless, all opinions expressed are honest and based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ.

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  • My son has multiple food allergies so it can be a challenge finding a restaurant that we can safely take him to. I am glad to read that The Keg is one that we can visit without huge concerns.

  • YAY for a family friendly and allergy friendly restaurant!! Those can be tough to find. My hubby and I rec’d a gift card for Christmas a few years ago and we both still talk about the steak! YUM!

  • I am so happy to come across your blog! I also have a shellfish allergy and it’s really good to know that the keg would be a safe restaurant for me. It is always a question in the back of my mind if I’ll have to worry about cross contamination so that really puts me at ease that you have personal experience with this!

  • I got sick to my stomach once after crab at the Keg. At first they thought it was an allergy to the crab. Turns out it is actually due to a sensitivity to a bacteria that grows on shellfish. If not washed properly it can make you sick. Needless to say I dont eat shellfish at a restaurant. Never get a chance to try dessert, always full after dinner

  • sounds like great service and great night getting to dress up and it’s great to know there staff pay great attention to your family’s needs

  • My mother has an allergy to something found in red wine (and balsamic vinegar) and always had a hard time at steak restaurants. The marinade always has something in it that triggers her allergy.
    We’ve been avoiding the keg for this reason (crappy experiences at other steak joints), though after reading how they’ve accommodated you, maybe we can give it a try.

    P.s. I had the keg creme Brûlée at a work fundraiser a couple weeks ago and it was AMAZING

  • Having a restaurant that takes food allergies and cross contamination seriously is so important. I’m impressed the manager came out to assure you. Love the Keg!

  • Keg is usually on our lists every Christmas or when we go to Niagara Falls.
    They always cook the food perfectly and it’s high quality.
    It always amazes me when we go to different steak places that they charge that much for fat and grizzle or that I have to eat around the wrongly cooked part.
    I have never had a bad steak at the Keg.

    If you go to the one in Niagara Falls they have an amazing view (floor to ceiling windows above the horseshoe falls, it’s the best view and you stay warm and have an amazing meal.

  • We are pretty fortunate to not have food allergies in our home. We do have food triggers that enable other health problems and Completely agree that the Keg is great at accommodating.

  • We like the Keg too, though we rarely go. We went to celebrate our engagement years ago and I’m not sure we have been back since! Good to know it can be family friendly too.

  • I love going to the Keg with my husband. We always have a great experience with the food, the staff and the environment. I am allergic to gluten dairy and eggs. Pretty tough list to accommodate at most restaurants. Not at the Keg! Same as your experience, the manager usually comes out to talk to me to confirm my allergies and tell me how they will cook my food. I normally stick to my usual filet mignon with steamed veggies and a baked potato. Also a glass of wine ;). I love it there and always dream about the next time I get to go haha!

  • Baking the fries to avoid cross contamination. I LOVE people who take food allergies seriously… no stress for you then!

  • I haven’t been to The Keg in years but the one downtown in the market here in Ottawa is just lovely. I’d love to bring my friend Cathy and dine and laugh until they close! (‘Cause that’s how we roll.)

  • I love the keg – quality food & great service. I go to the one in Toronto.
    The Keg Mansion could easily be Toronto’s most impressive and haunted mansion. Famous owners like McMaster and Massey, lots of legend, intrigue, and ghosts.

  • Looks like everyone had a great time! It’s good to know they take allergies seriously. Makes it much more relaxing for you.

  • I’m glad to read about your great experience with The Keg – one of my favorite restaurants for date night with my husband. I am very fortunate not to experience food allergies or intolerances in our house but have several acquaintances who are frustrated about the limited options for them at other establishments – I will need to recommend The Keg! As a nurse, I need to add to make sure you bring your EpiPen with you at all times and to ensure it has not expired! 🙂

  • I love this tradition!..and it is great that the Keg can cater to those with food restrictions, I did not know this!..We are lucky that no one in our family has issues with allergies but I will pass along this information to friends that do!

  • I have a severe gluten allergy as well, and the keg is a favorite of ours because we can all enjoy a great meal. Not to mention, their steak is amazing value for money.

  • sounds like a great time was had by all and a great family event; I love The Keg and would be awesome to go with hubby once again as we sure enjoyed it the last time we went.

  • Oh what a relief to know they are allergy friendly! We have a daughter with a peanut allergy and it’s hard to find restaurants that accommodate allergies!

  • Mommy Tax! Genius! 🙂 This makes me want to eat at the Keg so badly! It’s been way too long, thank you for the reminder!

  • I love the keg for the fact they have gluten free items marked for customers who have an allergy to it and that they have a variety of items to choose from not just salads. I’ve been to the keg and their food is delicious.
    Looks like your family had a great night out and for the girls to wear their dresses made them happy too.

  • Mommy Tax! Genius! 🙂 This makes me want to eat at the Keg so badly! It’s been way too long, thank you for the reminder!

  • oh my gosh Creme Brulee is my weakness and I am so shocked right now I have never had it at the keg!! Just means i need to go back there so i can make it through to dessert and order me a creme brulee. I usually get too full after dinner for dessert but cant pass that up

  • Look like you had a lovely night out with your family. I haven’t been to the Keg in a while. Love their stack and BBQ ribs.

  • It’s so great that restaurants are accommodating to food allergies. A lot of people take it for granted that people won’t be affected, but it’s so not true.

  • I’m lucky to not have any food allergies in my family. My kids and I love going to The Keg with my mom for dinner. The food is always perfect.

  • We have a Keg near us and visit at least once a year, as a special treat. The food is always delicious and our steaks are cooked to perfection.

  • I enjoy the Keg for a good steak. One time for some reason they did not have bread to serve us. The server apologized and gave us a huge delicious dessert to share at the end of our meal for free. The service was excellent.

  • When I lived at home we were within walking distance of The Keg. It was a family favorite and a place to treat guests too. I haven’t been in quite some time but would like to treat my sister to an amazing dinner out.

  • We love going to the Keg too! It used to be a regular haunt for us in our university days, and now life gets busy so we go more for special occasions. I really liked hearing how the serving staff and kitchen manager made sure that everything was perfect for your family’s needs. You are a lovely family!

  • Allergies are something I have to consider when bringing a dish for say pot luck or as in tonight a friend’s dinner. Two ladies can’t have seafood, 2 nuts and 1 gluten.

  • Great Customer Service with the Allergies! !! It’s been quite some time since I’ve been in a Keg establishment. Need to go enjoy a steak & glass of Wine.

  • We love The Keg! We recently had a night out with the girls to see Brain Candy at the Sony Centre in TO and had dinner at The Keg first. YUMM!

  • I haven’t been to The Keg in eons! The holiday dresses are great and love that you sat in the lobby for a photo even though you didn’t have to wait. LOL.

  • Wow the server sure went way beyond most restaurants -offering the plastic vs glass drink cups and taking away the knives which could be a problem for that age. I am so impressed. A shellfish allergy is nothing to fool with and so I was surprised when you said the Keg was good since they have a lot of surf and turf. It is great that they took special precautions with her food.