LONG BEACH, Calif. — One out of every 13 children have a life-threatening food allergy, which means about 32 million American families are impacted. One Long Beach restaurant made it their mission to offer a safe space for anyone with any food allergy.
Owner of Noble Bird Sidney Price wants to be as transparent as possible with her restaurant saying, “I want everyone to determine their own level of comfort dining here or not.”
The kitchen is allergy friendly, which means it is free of dairy, tree nuts, and peanuts. These are some of the main sources of food allergies. Price even has a transparency guide listing every ingredient in every dish, including factory-made items.
“Most of our items are made in house or are fresh, raw products, if you will. But, there are some things that we don’t make and you need to know what is physically in a menu item or if you need information on the facility that it comes from,” said Price.
Why open a food transparent restaurant that is meticulous and accommodating? Price’s two sons have life-threatening food allergies that have sent them to the hospital.
“That was the day our world really became challenging, became quite small and became extremely scary trying any new foods,” said Price.
Price and her husband had to stop going to restaurants and be very careful. It was isolating.
“Most of our culture surrounds food. Birthday parties, barbecues, family gatherings, anything being social,” said Price.
So, she quit her real estate career and opened this restaurant in the midst of the pandemic. She wanted to be a safe and welcoming space for all.
“It’s not uncommon to have at least one mom a week on our patio in tears watching their child enjoy something they’ve never been able to do before. The moms cry. I cry. Chef Andrew will never tell you this, but he cries,” said Price.
Chef Andrew Bice knows how important it is to get everything right. He comes from a fine dining, culinary background and had to re-learn everything for this.
“Their allergy is no joke and a lot of families can’t have one mistake, so we have to come up with protocols to separate everything and do the best we can,” said Bice.
Bice can’t use butter, which is a big deal for chefs, but he still figured out ways to make the dishes like the popular corn, potatoes, and green beans elevated and delicious.
The star of the show is the rotisserie chicken. It is brined for 18 to 24 hours then dried for another 24 to 48 before going into the rotisserie. It's best with the G sauce, a play on gochujang sauce made with Korean chili flakes, honey and sesame seeds.
Chef Andrew says at the end of the day it is all worth it to see families come together and share a meal, sometimes for the first time.
“It’s not something you can replace or recreate. It’s special,” said Bice.
Price hopes other parents can breathe a little sigh of relief.
“It’s been a challenging journey, but it’s 100% worth it to see the joy on these family’s faces when they dine with us,” said Price.
Whether you have severe allergies or not, enjoy a happy and healthy meal at Noble Bird located at 6460 Pacific Coast Hwy. Long Beach, CA 90803.