**Recipient of 2018 Most Outstanding Influencer / Best Blogging Branson Blog Award**
Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction serves up a meal that is fit for a king! Of course, when traveling with someone in your family or group who has food allergies, eating out at any entertainment venue like this can increase the anxiety level – just a wee bit. Our family knows that feeling all too well. So, during and after a recent trip to Branson, I looked for opportunities to gather some information on how Stampede provides for guests who are dining with dietary restrictions.
Disclaimer: I attended a media event as the guest of Niccole from The Creative SAHM. While this was an event sponsored by the Stone Castle Hotel and Conference Center, all opinions listed below are 100% authentic and mine alone.
Be it a fast food restaurant, table service establishment or fine dining, eating outside of the house can be daunting for someone who has food allergies. The dreaded fear that an allergen is going to find its way onto the fork or spoon, land on the tongue and ultimately engage in a battle against your immune system is enough to keep many at home. However, restaurants and chefs are becoming more and more familiar with how to prepare meals that “cannot contain this” or “cannot touch that.” The understanding and compassion are growing and it’s nice to see that opportunities are increasing for those with food allergies to venture out of the house and enjoy an allergy-safe meal.
As mentioned above, Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction has a tremendous feast they serve while guests enjoy an evening of jousting, games, musical productions and fun. The standard meal consists of:
- Stampede’s Original Creamy Vegetable Soup, served with a scrumptious homemade biscuit.
- A whole rotisserie chicken
- Delicious hickory smoked pork loin
- Hot butter corn on the cob
- A tasty herb-basted potato
- Stampede’s very own specialty dessert (we had an appleturnover that was to die for!!!)
- Unlimited Coca-Cola®, tea or coffee.
Everything is delivered in an orderly fashion and timed perfectly with the performance. But what happens when you have a food allergy or special dietary restriction? Can Stampede handle these and deliver an allergy-safe meal to the guest? Will it take longer to be served or cause a disruption to the evening?
I had the fortunate opportunity to discuss the above with both Ronda Shannon and John Richardson, two very prominent people at the Stampede. Both were eager to share their thoughts and were more than willing to offer any kind of encouragement and affirmation to their belief that Dolly Parton Sampede Dinner Attraction is fully capable of providing allergy-safe meals to its guests.
We receive many allergy questions and are able to accommodate food allergies such as dairy, peanuts, and gluten…(and)…also offer a vegetarian meal option. We just ask that guests give us advance notice so we can prepare special meals. ~ John Richardson, Director of Marketing and Sales, Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction.
Those words shared by Mr. Richardson above are actually rooted in personal experience. How? In his communication with me, Mr. Richardson shared that he himself in fact has a food allergy and is allergic to the casein protein in dairy. Though he admits his reaction is not as severe as those of other individuals, he does note that it is uncomfortable enough for him to know and realize that all food allergies need to be taken seriously. He completely understands that there are many others who experience a far more life-threatening reaction. Because of this, Stampede stays vigilant and attentive, as well as up to date, on all that needs to be done when it comes to food allergy meal preparation.
While I was discussing the situation with Ms. Shannon, she even shared that Stampede has done some extra leg work and proactively created a few sample menus for those with specific food allergies / sensitivities / dietary restrictions to review. Here are the options provided:
Vegetarian Meal – No soup (contains chicken broth); No chicken or pork
- Pasta Dish – Noodles, Broccoli, Corn, Red Peppers and Marina sauce (side)
- Apple Turnover
- Steamed vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, carrots
- Unseasoned potato
GLUTEN-Free Meal (no wheat) ~ no biscuit, soup or turnover
- Steamed Vegetables – same as vegan
- Seasoned Chicken and Pork
- Seasoned potato
- Snicker doodle cookie
No DAIRY / LACTOSE – no biscuit, soup or seasoned potato
- Steamed Vegetables
- Seasoned chicken
- Unseasoned potato
- Steamed Vegetables
- Unseasoned Chicken (aka Naked Chicken)
- Unseasoned Potato (naked)
- Snicker Doodle cookie
CHICKEN Allergy – no soup, biscuit or chicken
NUT Allergy – The guest receives normal meal just NO TURNOVER – will get snicker doodle cookie
EGG Allergy – No Biscuit
HUGE ENCOURAGEMENT: Did you know that Branson’s Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction also ranks high on AllergyEats.com?? AllergyEats.com is a website that acts as a guide for food allergy families, leading them to restaurants that have been proven to provide safe allergy-safe meals for others. Food allergy families send in their reviews for others to read, giving them more information upon which they can base their own decisions.
To help prepare both you and the staff at Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction for the best possible evening, here are a few things you can do before and once you have arrived. I can honestly say that these are the steps I would and will take when I bring my son to this venue in the future.
- First things first ~ I would recommend calling Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction (the number is listed below) to discuss your situation. Make sure you mention immediately that you will be (or are thinking about) visiting with your family and there is someone in your party with a severe food allergy. Let them know that you would appreciate the opportunity to speak with a manager, or a kitchen manager, regarding whether or not dining there is even an option.
- You should then be connected with someone very knowledgeable on the topic. You can ask them to please review their food preparation and how they avoid cross contamination, as well as discuss menu options and ingredients.
- On the morning of the show you will be attending, if need be, call Stampede one more time. This way you can ensure that everything is in place for your visit that evening. I confess that I would! Review the allergies, discuss the menu options once again and ask any other questions that may have come up since your last conversation.
- When you arrive at the Stampede, be sure to mention your situation one more time (more so for your own comfort). Your server should be well aware of the allergies and be prepared to serve an allergy-safe meal. However, if you feel you need more reassuring, do not be afraid to ask. Your server should be more than willing to review the ingredients once again with you or have someone in management do the same. Food allergies cannot be taken lightly and there should be no fear in asking questions. Ms. Shannon and Mr. Richardson both assured me that the staff at Stampede do all they can to accommodate and protect their guests with any special dietary needs.
TESTIMONY: I have a friend who lives in Branson who has a very unique allergy. She is allergic to something found in many spices. She has found Branson restaurants, including Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction, very accommodating and she has enjoyed many evenings in that arena. In fact, she is a huge fan of the creamy soup!!
~ If Nothing Else ~
The most important advice I can give is this ~ and I cannot stress this enough. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS be prepared. Carry an epinephrine auto-injector (if not two!!) at all times and some form of antihistamine. We carry baby wipes with us everywhere and a set of gloves. Some parents carry something to induce vomiting for littles. I also highly recommend carrying a card with medical information listed. Also, if in doubt, we always bring something with us for our son. I have read reviews where families have brought food of their own in order to avoid the potential for a reaction. It’s always good to have a back-up plan.
~ Sigh of Relief ~
If anything, those with food allergies considering a visit to Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction in Branson can breathe a little bit easier. The staff members there do all they can to provide safe meals for ALL their guests. I know I’m eager to take my son to see the show (it’s a lot of fun!!) and look forward to bringing back a positive allergy-safe experience to share!
If you have visited Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction with food allergies, I would LOVE to hear your story! Feel free to share below in the comment section!
If you’re looking to make reservations at Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction or even just want to call and ask food allergy-related questions, feel free to contact them at the numbers listed below.
- 1525 West Highway 76 in Branson, MO 65616
- Phone: 1-800-520-5544
- Email: [email protected]
Disclaimer: Please note that I am not, in any form, a medical professional. I am simply a food allergy mom who likes to share positive experiences so that other food allergy families may possibly enjoy the same experiences with confidence. I would never, in any way, encourage the ingestion of foods that may be dangerous or life-threatening to an individual. It is important that you take the above information and weigh it according to your particular situation. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to know what you can and cannot eat. I wish you all the best!!