Refuting concerns about Bertucci’s

Never doubt that the AllergyEats community is a great one! Whether rating dining experiences on our core website or sharing experiences on our Facebook page, our community is truly one of compassionate people coming together to help one another address a common cause. As part of that, I often receive private emails or messages alerting me to concerning restaurant practices (which I strongly encourage). Often, these are specific to an individual restaurant and really belong in the comments section of an AllergyEats rating. Every now and then, however, the concern seems more significant, particularly if it involves a change in practices for an entire chain of restaurants. These concerns don’t always prove accurate, of course, but they’re worth a few phone calls.

Such was the case recently with a favorite of mine, Bertucci’s Brick Oven Pizzeria.  (They are apparently a favorite of many of you too, as they sport an excellent AllergyEats allergy-friendliness rating of 4.3 out of 5!)  Months ago, I received two separate messages from concerned members of the AllergyEats community, each sharing a fear of new potential cross-contamination possibilities.  Given the details of the two scenarios, I clearly saw the cause for concern and decided to follow-up with Bertucci’s.

In the first email, I was alerted to the introduction of a Chocolate Hazelnut Crostata on the dessert menu of Bertucci’s.  Given that this item is prepared in the same brick oven as all the pizzas and many other dishes, the concern was that those with a peanut allergy would suddenly have to sacrifice so many of their favorite foods at Bertucci’s… or sacrifice dining at Bertucci’s altogether.

In the second message, I was warned of the cross-contamination effects from the addition of whole wheat pasta to the Bertucci’s menu.  The writer informed me that Bertucci’s uses a single pot for all their pasta and, given that whole wheat pasta is actually a combination of whole wheat and various legume flours, all Bertucci’s pasta would now not be safe for those with a peanut allergy (peanut, of course, being a legume). I must admit that I was confused by the connection between whole wheat, legumes, and peanut allergies – particularly since my peanut allergic sons consume whole wheat all the time – but one can’t be too careful, so I decided to check that out too.

To look into these concerns, I went directly to the source – Bertucci’s.  Actually, it was my talented associate, Sharon, who called the managers at four geographically dispersed Bertucci’s.  She made each call at roughly 11AM in order to have as much of their attention as possible.  The answers to Sharon’s questions were consistent across the four respondents.

So, can those with a peanut allergy still comfortably dine at Bertucci’s???  The answer, in my opinion, is yes.  While proper precautions always need to be heeded, I don’t believe that your comfort level in dining at Bertucci’s should be any different than before.  Here’s why.

Regarding issue #1 – the Chocolate Hazelnut Crostata issue – each manager stated that the dessert was prepared in a separate part of the kitchen, then cooked on a small pie tray or pan, thus never coming into direct contact with the ovens and not leaving any residue that could cause a cross-contamination problem.

Regarding issue #2 – the whole wheat pasta issue – none of the managers disputed that the whole wheat pasta and the regular pasta are cooked in shared equipment and water, but one said that the whole wheat pasta is the LAST batch they prepare in the morning (thus it can’t contaminate the regular pasta) and the others said that they could boil new water and cook the pasta in a separate pot if requested.  The whole issue may be moot however.  In my research about the connection between whole wheat and peanut allergies, just about everything I found suggested that those with a peanut allergy do not need to avoid other legumes (unless they have a SEPARATE allergy to other legumes as well as peanut).  I think the answer was best explained in the Food Allergies section of  If you click here, you will see a Q&A titled “I Have a Peanut Allergy. Do I Need to Avoid Legumes Like Soy, Beans and Peas?”  Rather than reprint the whole story here, I would encourage you to read it yourself if you have concerns, or ask your doctor.  The conclusion of the article again being that peanut allergies are generally specific to peanuts only and not other legumes.

So with these concerns refuted, I invite the legions of food-allergic Bertucci’s fans to continue enjoying the mighty brick oven once again.

Have you dined at Bertucci’s?  How have you found their attentiveness to your food allergies?  Do the practices addressed here concern you?  Do the responses satisfy you?  Please share your thoughts and opinions by click on Comments or Reply below.

And as always, please continue to rate all your restaurant experiences on the core AllergyEats site ( or on our new AllergyEats mobile app for iPhone and Android.  Each new rating you add makes AllergyEats a more powerful tool to help all of us in the food allergy and intolerance community.  Please share AllergyEats with your food allergic friends and support groups as well.


    Tom Golota

    Mostly we have had a great experience with Bertucci’s and they have met our needs. However, I find that it is the wait staff that needs more attention. We have had super waiters who pay great attention to detail to make sure our food is what we need. We have had others though, that even when we ask for just steamed green beans (no butter, etc.) they came sprinkled with cheese and we had to send them back. The attentiveness of the waiter and how they communicate with the kitchen is the key to a successful experience. Just because you ordered what you need, don’t always trust that that is what you will get. Scrutinize your food when it arrives.

    Janelle Reagan

    The last time we ate at Bertucci’s, we had a really hard time because our waitress was concerned about possible cross-contamination because of the crostata supposedly being cooked in the ovens with all of the other food. My daughter was pretty unhappy she couldn’t get her normal meal. I am glad to see you addressed this. Maybe now we can go there again, because we had pretty much avoided them since that happened last year.


    The Bertuccis in Bryn Mawr pa is absolutely amazing with food allergies!


    We do not go to Bertucci’s because of the following statement.

    Bertucci’s Allergy Policy

    We received this from someone who had emailed Bertucci’s to inquire about their policy on peanut allergies. Here is their response: “The health and safety of our guests is a top priority for Bertucci’s. As you know, identifying allergens is a complex process for restaurants as there may be minuscule amounts of ingredients our vendors may not list. Peanuts have been hidden in pie crusts, gravies, chili, spaghetti, soups, and cheesecakes. We cannot say with complete accuracy that there are no nuts or possible cross introduction of nuts in our restaurants stemming from our vendors. Our current nutritional database does not include information to the level of detail you require for your safety. Because of the complexity and various vendor sources, we are unable to recommend any items with the confidence that we all need. We trust that you will appreciate our position.”



    My family and I ate at Bertucci’s Wellesley on 3/2/12. We have had good experiences before, and have been very reassured based on the AllergyEats posts and reviews about the restaurant. My daughter is allergic to tree nuts so I alerted the server when placing her food order. The waitress said, “Oh, we don’t have any nuts here” and I said I thought they had a hazelnut crostini dessert. (I remembered reading about it on AllergyEats.) She said they didn’t serve it anymore and there were no nuts used in any of the food. The server later brought the food to us, not the manager.

    I finally remembered to look at the Bertucci’s menu online and saw the hazelnut crostini listed. I emailed the company and received a reply that the hazelnut dessert has been removed and a new menu will be rolling out in April 2012. This was also in the email:

    “We do currently offer a Chef Special beet Salad that contains candied walnuts. You should always inform your server and/or manager of any allergy. We apologize a manager was not involved during your visit. Your comments have been shared with the Management team to ensure proper training for our servers.”

    We were never told of any of the specials and the waitress clearly did not know their special salad contained walnuts. Please be careful if you dine at Bertucci’s Wellesley and have a tree nut allergy – you should make sure the manager is involved when you place your order.


      Thank you so much for adding this important information, Jen. I think your advice should be heeded at all the Bertucci’s units, not just Wellesley!

    Tracy C

    We’re all done with Bertucci’s.

    Used to pay the extra to dine there because they literally had no nuts on the menu; they have now made a calculated marketing decision to add nuts and lots of them.

    We were extremely loyal and ate there all the time- if Bertucci’s had nuts on the menu the whole time I wouldn’t be taking it so personally, but I really feel like Bertucci’s just said to me, “We don’t care about nut-allergic customers anymore.”

    It is no longer worth paying the added cost to dine there.


    We watched ate Bertuccis fairly regularly and they boil my soy, milk, egg allergic son’s pasta in a separate pan of boiling water. It takes a little extra time but we don’t have to worry about cross contamination. He actually just tested negative for milk allergy and our food challenge was a success. We still have soy and egg allergies though.

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