SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Papa Woody’s Wood Fired Pizza has officially launched their allergy menu and it’s already making a difference in the lives of Sioux Falls residents. 

Ashly Norman’s son is five years old and has a severe allergy to dairy and egg. When her family wants to go out to eat, they have to call the restaurant ahead of time to ask about the allergies on the menu. She said the process is time consuming and the staff don’t always give her the right information. 

“I think every place needs to have it,” she said. “There are allergies out there and it’s nice to go out to eat and not feel like you have to stay home. I think every restaurant should have it so you’re confident what was on the menu won’t make my child sick.”

Norman was thrilled when she called Papa Woody’s and they were able to direct her to their new allergy menu online. 

“The menu was beyond helpful,” Norman said. “It was reassuring and it was very easy to read.” 

The menu, made by Allergy Aware, lists every item offered at Papa Woody’s and indicates whether it contains the top nine food allergens– milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, wheat, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and sesame. 

Brady Barr, a Sioux Falls native and 2022 Minnesota State University, Mankato graduate, created his business to help restaurants provide accurate allergy menus. Barr himself is allergic to milk, eggs, nuts and peanuts and finds it difficult to eat out. 

Barr spends months working with restaurants by going through every menu item and documenting any potential allergens. He then creates a menu and signage for the business to promote the Allergy Aware menu. 

“For people with food allergies driving by, they see our teal sticker in the window and they know that’s an allergy aware restaurant that they can eat at safely,” he said. 

Papa Woody’s owner Lisa Esser said she’s noticed the positive impact the menu has had in just a few short weeks and hopes more businesses start adopting a similar approach. 

“It gives a little more comfort to us and the customers because we have a little more knowledge on what we’re serving them,” Esser said. “They can feel safe ordering something knowing what’s in it and we can feel safe serving it to them knowing that it’s gonna be safe for them to eat.”

Right now, Allergy Aware only has menus for Papa Woody’s in Sioux Falls and Pub 500 in Mankato. Barr said he is currently in the beginning stages of talking with other Sioux Falls restaurants about creating menus for them too.