Sunday, June 22, 2014

Red Robin (Towson, MD)

After a hot and exhausting day meeting with different departments on campus to get a better picture of what my college experience will be come this fall, my mom and I were exhausted and not feeling up to a grandiose dinner outing. Though I had planned to eat at a Thai restaurant that evening, I postponed our plans there and opted for a nearby Red Robin wanting a more familiar and stomach friendly fare (for the record, I love Thai food, but have to be in the right frame of mind to eat it). I have heard great things about Red Robin's gluten-free offerings from fellow bloggers and had been wanting to check them out for a while now so I seized this opportunity to pay them a visit. Like TCBY, which I also reviewed during my trip, Red Robin is a national chain and has two locations in Central Florida- Winter Garden and Sanford- with a third on it's way (International Drive). I found it quite ironic that I'm getting an opportunity to try restaurants I've been meaning to get to back home but the great thing about it is that their service and options should be pretty consistent at each locations. 

Once seated, I immediately informed our waitress Regan that I was both gluten and dairy free. Without missing a beat, she assured me that there were plenty of safe options on the menu and promptly brought out a big binder of the ingredients of each menu item. It was partitioned into the top eight allergens so it could accommodate guests with a variety of allergies/intolerances. Flipping between the wheat and dairy free options, I narrowed down my choices to a chicken sandwich or turkey burger favoring these white meat options to the chain's famous burgers. I've heard that in some locations, an iPad is used to deliver the allergen-free options for customers but the binder worked well for me because it allowed me to see all the ingredients- not just the ones I was intolerant to.



I decided on the turkey burger without the chipotle sauce and with red onions and gluten-free bun added. It came with lettuce and tomato already so I left those on. As a side, the turkey burger usually comes with bottomless (and they do mean bottomless) steak fries which were prepared in a dedicated fryer. One thing to note though is that the Red Robin seasoning which usually comes on the fries is not certified gluten-free. Request fries without the seasoning just to make sure that the seasoning is not mistakenly applied. As a point of preference, I opted to sub out steamed broccoli for the fries wanting to add some "green" to my meal. One other item of note: the restaurant offers gluten-free burgers and sandwiches with two different presentation methods- a gluten-free bun or a lettuce wrap. I was sold on the buns thanks to Regan's glowing recommendation and eagerly awaited my first bite.



When my meal arrived a short time later, I was genuinely impressed by the gluten-free bun. It was so "normal" looking and feeling that I double checked with Regan to make sure. Sure enough, the bun was to believed. Taking a bite out of the burger, I was blown away by the fluffy, bread-y bun, fresh vegetables and juicy turkey burger combination. My one complaint was that the burger was bigger than the bun which proved a good, but messy problem to have. I ended up eating it with a fork and knife to minimize the messiness but this didn't cut down on my enjoyment of it. The broccoli had a good flavor and was steamed perfectly so that it was not too dry or water-laden. Just as the steak fries are "bottomless," the broccoli also happened to be "bottomless" but I didn't take advantage of this feature because one serving was enough for me. I was pleasantly surprised by the whole meal's quality and amount of food which exceeded my expectations. 



After polishing off my meal, my mom and I chatted with Regan a little while longer and asked about the buns. She said they were available to purchase for $1.00 each and came individually wrapped for easy storage and usage. Though she didn't know what company made them, I did some sleuthing online later that evening and found out that Udi's makes Red Robin's buns. Leave it to them to create such a authentic and delicious burger bun! As we were wrapping up, I thought to ask about their loyalty program: Red Robin Royalty. Regan happily put our meal on a fresh card and directed me to register it online to earn rewards such as every 10th item free, a free birthday burger, and other perks that are sent via email and text. I love restaurant loyalty programs and will definitely be using it in the near future in Florida and Maryland or wherever my travels take me. 


The Basics

Address: 1238 Putty Hill Avenue (Tenant #16), Towson, MD 21286
Website: www.redrobin.com
Cuisine: Burgers, Salads, Sandwiches
Ideal For: Lunch, Dinner
Price: Under $15 per person. 
Accessibility: The restaurant was wheelchair accessible. 
Special Features: They offer promotions and deals to members of Red Robin Royalty, their loyalty club. Find more at this link.  

Disclaimer: This review is based upon the information I have at the time of the review and does not reflect changes in ingredients or availability of items. Please contact the restaurant directly for up-to-date information and feel free to to contact me with any questions or comments. I was not compensated for this review and it is a reflection of my personal opinion.

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