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I’ve been excitedly awaiting the opening of Hype Food Co. since I first heard whispers of it in late 2017. My son can’t safely eat at most “allergen-free” spots in the city due to his sunflower allergy, so I am thrilled to say we’ve finally found our go-to safe spot.
Owner, fellow allergy mom, and friend, Pauline Osena, assured me from the very beginning that her eating spot would be A-OK for my little guy. Yes, there would be sunflower seeds in select dishes, but they would be safely contained elsewhere. Cue ginormous sigh of relief.
After months of anticipation, Hype Food Co. finally opened its doors in the Leslieville-Riverdale area this weekend, and for the first time since my son began eating solids, we were able to eat at a restaurant without fear. We ordered from a menu that was free of top allergens, and my husband and I got to let our kiddo eat off our plates without worry.
After trying several of their savoury options, a couple of cupcakes, and their famous Dole Whip ice cream, I’m seriously considering moving to the east end.
I don’t know how they pulled it off, but for an eating spot that is free of peanuts, tree nuts, egg, sesame, soy, seafood, gluten and dairy, their food doesn’t taste like it is missing anything. And even my picky Irish husband concurs. Don’t believe me? Below is an ‘after’ shot of his meal. (Since we aren’t dealing with wheat or dairy allergies, we both find we can often tell when an item is gluten- or dairy-free. But at Hype Food Co., the flavour is not compromised one little bit.)
The fun thing about their savoury bowls is that you get to create your own meal. You choose from 4 bases (white rice, rice noodles, gluten-free pasta or zucchini noodles) and 3 proteins (beans, chicken or beef), and a selection of freshly prepared veggies, some healthy seeds (no sesame, of course!) and some wonderfully flavourful sauces. My hubby and I are both coconut lovers, so we got the coconut cream sauce, and I ordered my little pasta lover some red sauce for his dish.
(Note: The chickpeas are bursting with flavour. I highly recommend them as a topping.)
Next up: Dessert! To my toddler’s absolute delight, we got 2 cupcakes (vanilla & chocolate) and some fruity ice cream. If you can’t tell from the photos below, he LOVED everything. (So did we!)
A final note: For parents of little ones, the books, toys and interactive play area/wall is a wonderful way to enjoy a coffee and treat while the kids keep themselves entertained. Speaking of which, our very first #AllergyMom Meetup on June 9th is happening at… Hype Food Co! Learn more about the event and grab your ticket before we reach maximum capacity.
I also love that you can enjoy a satisfying meal and treat, pretty much guilt-free. Delicious, healthy and allergen-free. Could you ask for anything more? (Well, maybe a west end location! Pauline…? Kidding… sorta!)
P.S. Did you know that Hype Food Co. is participating in the AllergyBites discount card program? Cardholders get 1 FREE medium-sized coffee/espresso/Americano when they buy a baked good. More details/buy your card here.
This post was written by AllergyBites founder, Kathleen O’Hagan. Kathleen is a writer, a foodie, and the mom of a toddler with multiple food allergies. She loves seeking out accommodating eating spots and sharing them with the food allergy community. Want to help make a difference? Contact Kathleen about volunteering for a food allergy fundraiser she is organizing.
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