On the advice of a Worry-Free Dinners Florida member, I checked out Seasons 52 in Boca Raton, Fl.
Part of the Darden Group of restaurants (The company owns and operates more than 1,700 restaurants including Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52, none of which I’ve been to), I had called the Palm Beach outpost (who assured me that they could handle my needs) before I headed to the Boca Raton outpost, relatively confident that, as this is a chain, Boca Raton would be similar to the Palm Beach in abiliities.
The upshot: Not merely did Seasons 52 in Boca Raton handle my needs, they exceeded expectations regarding service, communication and an excellent Allergic Girl safe, allergen-friendly lunch in a welcoming and warm atmos.
Here’s how all went down.
Upon entering, I identified myself and my needs to the hostess, asking to speak to manager, if possible. She said the manager would come by my table. Then after we were seated, the hostess swung by to say the Executive Chef Anthony O’Neill would be by my table to personally to take care of me. Excellent!
Chef Anthony indeed strode over very soon after. I introduced myself and told him my allergy needs and asked if he might be able to make me a piece of plain grilled chicken with some roasted veggies? (It helps if you tell the kitchen what you’d like from what’s on the menu.) Easy, done sorted. I kept my order clean, plain and to the point. (I’m sure if I wanted something sauced or more complex Chef Anthony would be able to make that as well. But not on the first visit; next time.) Overall, it was a brief convo, Chef was friendly, helpful and certain that he would be able to meet my needs safely. It was that simple. It should always be that simple.
Basically, Chef Anthony said he is in the hospitality business and that it is his business to make any accommodation he can for any guest. Truly it was as if Chef Anthony had read my website and memorized what every great chef I’ve spoken to has said. Which goes to show you they are out there, even in “chains”: foodservice professionals, who take pride in their industry and can meet the needs of most every guests, even those with special dietary needs. (PS When I asked chef if they get allergy requests often, he said yes very often. They even have a regular patron who faxes in his list of allergies before every visit and Chef makes him a personally tailored allergen-free meal. How wonderful and individualized!)
Generally, the entire communication and expediting process at Seasons 52 worked exactly as it should have during this, my first visit. (Remember, I have only been there once.) However, to have a restaurant handle my needs effortlessly tells me that the Darden Group must be doing some smart food allergen awareness training corporation-wide.
Seasons 52 has a few other compelling reasons to check it out, if being allergen friendly wasn’t enough. Everything on the menu is less than 475 calories; they have nutritional information on their website; the Seasons 52 brochure says, if requested, they can give an allergic patron the entire breakdown of ingredients in a dish; and a meal is priced reasonably (at least to my NYC prices eye).
I didn’t think places like this were out there in strip mall land. Granted, I am woefully uneducated about chain restos, whether high end or family friendly; we just don’t have them in NYC. But now that I’m in Florida for a few weeks, I’m seeing a whole new side to them.
Thank you Chef Anthony O’Neill, GM Carolina Zerboni and the Seasons 52 team for a lunch well done.
On Glades Rd
2300 N.W. Executive Center Drive
Boca Raton, FL 33431
Phone: (561) 998-9952
Fax: (561) 998-9930