The excitement in Spring Hill/Brooksville Florida area increased as the opening of Cheddar's neared closer. It's new, different, and the perfect location. When it comes to chain restaurants, for good reason, I'm skeptical. However, when Cheddar's opened their doors, a few of my close friends went and assured me I would love it.
Again, I wasn't thrilled. New restaurants come with hiccups and mistakes. It doesn't instill confidence in someone with a food allergy. On the flip side, how are restaurants going to learn if they aren't put to the test?
Per Cheddar's website: At Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, we’ve been graciously serving made-from-scratch goodness since 1979. Our founders, Aubrey Good and Doug Rogers, believed that when a meal is prepared and cooked fresh just for you, it not only tastes better, it makes you feel good.
We use quality ingredients and take the time to prepare them in our kitchen. It’s the right way, not the easy way, because it tastes better that way. And really, isn’t that the point?
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen serves made-from-scratch goodness in a welcoming place. Enjoy House Smoked Baby Back Ribs, hand-battered Country Fried Chicken, Scratch Burgers, Homemade Onion Rings.
I do appreciate the nutritional information at the bottom of their website, but even on their menu, there isn't any mention of what oils they use or any food allergy information.
Upon arriving with five of my dear friends it was a 25-30 minute wait. Understandable. It was six o'clock in the evening and still new to the area. They do not take reservations. We only waited about 15 minutes. The front of the house was pleasant and helpful. Thumbs up.
The decor is rustic with an edge of modern. Southern vibe. Wood beams. Brick. Stone.
Our server was prompt though he was quite busy. The dining room was hectic but he never rushed us. Their menu is extensive, especially the cocktail portion. Our server answered all our questions. I informed him of my food allergy and he wrote it on the ticket in the large letters. He asked what I was thinking of ordering and he would have a discussion with the chef. Perfect. Exactly what I wanted to hear. I was leaning towards the Grilled White Fish (that night it was Grouper) - Lemon pepper or blackened over rice. He went to have a chat with the chef.
I was feeling a bit less skeptical but it was early.
He returned and assured me the chef would use olive oil and prepare it away from the other food to eliminate any risk of cross-contamination. Bonus.
The meal did come with two sides but I was good with one and chose a house salad with oil and vinegar.
My plate was a little awkward because of the lack of side but the Grouper smelled delicious. I went the lemon pepper route. The fish was cooked perfectly. Not dry. Opaque in the center. Took a bite. Waited. Because you never know.
Okay, I can still breathe.
The seasoning was spot on. I didn't need to add any salt. The bite of the pepper was nice. The rice was heavy on the onions -- not a fan -- but I picked around them. Now, the other dinner plates on the table were quite different. If you choose to dine at Cheddar's you better be hungry.
Our server I was pleasantly surprised by the food and experience. My food allergy fears faded away but that doesn't mean I'd let my guard down next time I dine at Cheddar's or any other place. It's important to emphasize the severity of the food allergy. I always say "I will die if I ingest soy." I don't care if I'm that annoying guest. I've received plenty of eye rolls in the past and I actually had a server once say to me "Oh, is that like the gluten allergy trend?" Oh, yes. That happened. As did a lovely lesson from yours truly in food allergies to the server and the manager.
Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen has locations from Arizona to Pennsylvania. You can find yours on their website.
They offer an EClub sign up, Be the first to know about new menu items and have access to special offers. Not to mention, you’ll receive free Chips & Homemade Queso just for signing up – what a delicious way to seal the deal! Per their website
Cheddar's is a step up from similar chain restaurants. I didn't die -- a good thing -- and another promising option for those with soy allergies.
12280 Cortez Blvd
Brooksville, FL 34613