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Vegan lies to restaurant about life-threatening food allergies; gets charged $200.

Vegan lies to restaurant about life-threatening food allergies; gets charged $200.

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I’m vegan, have been for over 5 years. I’m lucky to live in a major city with a plethora of entirely or partially vegan restaurants, but, when I visit my family in rural Pennsylvania, my options become nonexistent.

Attitudes toward veganism here range from ignorance to outright hostility. I try to avoid eating out with my family when I’m home, at ALL costs, but sometimes it simply isn’t avoidable—for example, my sister’s wedding rehearsal dinner.

My sister had her dinner at the foremost “fine dining” establishment in this town. It’s a big old tavern that bills itself as a “French-influenced steakhouse”. Menu fare is every imaginable cut of steak drowned in butter, with some chicken and fish drowned in butter, plus sides of veggies and mashed potatoes that are—yes, smothered in butter.

The one or two vegetarian dishes are buttered and drowned in creamy sauce. Given that my little brother used to wait tables here, I know that they frown upon substitutions and don’t use much veggie oil for the sake of “quality”.

I’ve had two negative experiences here, too. I tried to explain my vegan diet my first time here, in depth, yet my sad little plate of steamed Broccoli was drizzled with butter and my iceberg lettuce salad came with ranch.

The second time, a chef came out personally and promised me that his tomato pasta dish was vegan—only for me to find that they’d swirled parmesan cheese into the red sauce to disguise that they’d accidentally sprinkled it on top. That incident broke my trust completely.

For my sister’s dinner, I called ahead and told the chef that I have life-threatening food allergies to meat proteins, dairy (including butter), and egg. Finally, they took me seriously. I was served a dish of plain pasta with salt and pepper with fruit, which sucked but I appreciated the consideration.

For those allergies, though, they had to scrub down the entire kitchen, clean the fryers, check the ingredient lists of their products, etc. That prep apparently cost them an extra 2 hours, and—I didn’t realize this—they charged my parents (who are paying for the rehearsal) an extra several hundred for their time.

My sister and parents are LIVID. I already sent my mom the several hundred needed to cover the extra cost, but they’re upset at me for lying and humiliating the chef and restaurant, whom they have close ties to.

My sister’s wedding is this weekend and something tells me that it’s gonna be tense. Personally, I think that if this restaurant is gonna continue with their ignorance and inconsideration, they got what they deserve.

AITA for ensuring my needs are met?

Q&A

SammiiSamantha says:

NTA It's not like it was an event easily avoided and I'm sure drama had you just not gone because they can't accommodate you.

The examples you gave make it clear they DO offer something you SHOULD be able to eat and if they can't stop themselves from putting cheese or ranch or butter in something that doesn't need it/ that's been requested to be without that's on them. They shouldn't be cooking at a fine dining establishment

Loquacious-Box8284 OP says:

Yeah I couldn’t exactly skip since I’m a bridesmaid and I wouldn’t want to anyway, I love my sister, as knuckle-headed about veganism as she is. I would have been shitty elitist vegan had I refused to go at all—or if I’d brought my own food—so it feels very lose-lose.

baconmaverick says:

You were shitty elitist vegan

Loquacious-Box8284 OP says:

How’s it elitist to have steer clear of animal products? Am I going to sacrifice five years of ethical code just to eat some non-vegan food, after being lied to numerous times by the restaurant, an inevitable seaway into my parents being like “I told you so” about veganism? I’m sticking to my guns, nothing elitist about that.

Effective-Slice-4819 says:

As a restaurant worker NTA.

This is not a restaurant that takes dietary needs seriously. They have served you food that could make you sick twice and tried to lie about it. When I have guests who haven't eaten meat/dairy in years I flag it as an allergy because they will be physically ill if they consume it

They also lied to your family. There's no way in hell they needed to shut down the entire kitchen for two hours to clean it.

You shouldn't have lied, but that pales in comparison to the massive amount of bullshit that is happening in this story.

Loquacious-Box8284 says:

It’s absolute sticks, Pennsylvania—peak Pennsyltucky. They can get away with a lot there, in terms of circumventing health directions.

tnahrp says:

Yes I understand what you're saying. I'm saying that it's surprising to me (and honestly not very believable) that no staff member would mention an extra cost. I'm talking about the angle of the restaurant and how they work.

You're responding about something a bit different and we're just not talking about the same thing. So I don't understand your reply except to reiterate what you had already said.

Loquacious-Box8284 OP says:

They mentioned an extra cost but I assumed it was a sort of upcharge on my meal only, not a separate large gratuity to my parents.

Budget-Ad56 says:

YTA

Hi someone with an actual food allergy (lactose and potentially gluten ), please don’t use an condition that can and is life threatening to make your life easier. Also you their job 10X harder

Edit: My allergies are not life threatening but they are a pain in the assets.

Proud-Geek1019 says:

100% this. 20 yr vegan here AND the parent of a child with life threatening but allergies. People who lie about this to get their way literally makes my blood boil. OP is the AH.

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