It may be the second-smallest state of the union, but Delaware has just earned a big restaurant honor: It’s No. 1 on AllergyEats’ top 10 list of the most allergy-friendly states for dining out with food allergies.
The popular app and website, which lets diners rate restaurants according to allergy-friendliness, released its new state ranking on Oct. 3. Sitting in second position is District of Columbia (though not a state), while Maine takes third spot, followed by Massachusetts then New York to round out the top five.
“This is all built off of AllergyEats’ user-generated review data,” says Paul Antico, AllergyEats founder and CEO. The app lists more than 850,000 restaurants across the United States and considers such factors as staff awareness of food allergies and cross-contact risk.
To create the ranking, AllergyEats averaged the data on all its reviews into state-specific allergy-friendliness scores. The scoring is based on a 5-point scale, with Delaware earning a score of 4.30 as compared to 10th place New Hampshire at 3.46.
Oklahoma topped the list of the five least allergy-friendly states for food allergy dining with Kansas second.
Regionally, the New England and the Mid-Atlantic states fared the best and the West and Southwest lagged behind. While California has a reputation of being ahead of the curve on societal trends, Antico notes that the huge state has not fared especially well in his app’s restaurant reviews.
“I read more critical reviews of restaurants in California, especially versus the Eastern U.S.,” he told Allergic Living.
“While one can only speculate as to the cause of the [regional] difference, there definitely appears to be a greater focus on advocacy, restaurant training and food allergy restaurant laws in the Eastern U.S.,” says Antico. “We are hopeful that this list can provide an impetus for greater efforts in those regions currently lagging, continuing a trend of improving allergy-friendliness by restaurants across the country.”
Following are the results, as rated by AllergyEats users.
10 Most Allergy-Friendly States (plus D.C.) for Dining with Food Allergies:
- District of Columbia
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- New Hampshire
5 Least Allergy-Friendly States for Dining with Food Allergies:
- West Virginia
Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Rankings by Region:
- New England
For excellent resources about dining out, see Allergic Living’s Travel & Dining section.