I may have looked like an ordinary family vacation dinner, but for six-year-old Isaac Estes, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Isaac and his extended family were vacationing in Fort Walton, Florida, earlier this month when his mother, Holly Garrett, learned about LuLu’s, a restaurant in nearby Destin that caters to diners with food allergies. Isaac, who has life-threatening allergies to dairy, nuts and eggs, had never been able to eat out before. Hopeful, Holly called the restaurant (which is owned by Jimmy Buffet’s sister, Lucy) to confirm they could accommodate Isaac’s dietary restrictions.
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“I called and talked to the manager, Justin, and he was absolutely amazing,” Holly recalled in a Facebook post praising LuLu’s service. “After explaining that there is a complete separate area for cooking the food for food allergic people and the different items you all offered for his allergies, my whole family of 13 people drove the 30 minutes to give it a shot.”
HuffPost reports that Isaac was able to eat tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole, a salad and grilled chicken tenders with rice. Not a bad spread at all!
When the chips and salsa first arrived at the table, Holly said he was hesitant. “Isaac looked at me like, ‘Is this OK?’” she recalled to HuffPost. “He didn’t dig right in.” With thumbs up from his mom, the little guy began to eat.
“That look on his face was like, ‘This is the coolest thing I’ve ever done,’” Holly told HuffPost.
On their way home to Tennessee, Isaac announced that the best part of the vacation was, without a doubt, dinner at Lulu’s. “Thank you from the bottom of my worried mother heart for giving him this experience,” Holly wrote in the Facebook post.
Both LuLu’s locations in Destin and Gulf Shores, Alabama, have a separate allergy menu with options that are free of dairy, egg, gluten, shellfish, soy and seafood. A third location, set to open in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, will also have the special menu.
Now doesn’t that just warm your heart?