Disney Springs restaurant where doctor dined before allergy death now asks about food allergies up front

Disney Springs restaurant where doctor dined before allergy death now asks about food allergies up front


ORLANDO — The Disney Springs restaurant where an NYU Langone doctor ate before she went into anaphylactic shock and died now asks diners about food allergies when taking orders, a manager told The Post.

Staffers at the tourist hotspot were trained to take food allergies “very seriously” even before the death of Kanokporn Tangsuan, according to the employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Tangsuan’s husband, Jeffrey Piccolo, alleged in a lawsuit that she alerted the waitstaff at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant multiple times to her severe nut and dairy allergies — and workers insisted they were able to make allergen-free food during their Oct. 5 visit.

Raglan Road now asks diners about any food allergies when taking orders, a manager told The Post. berkielynn/Flickr

The pub is owned and operated by Irish partners John Cooke and Paul Nolan.

Both Disney and the owners were named in the suit.

The manager at the bustling restaurant told The Post on Tuesday that all staffers are told to work with customers to find alternatives to an foods with allergens — and to check with the kitchen if they are unsure.

“I don’t know if this is because of the incident, but now the first thing we ask when we take the order is whether anyone at the table has any allergies. We’ve been doing that since late last year, at least before Thanksgiving,” they added.

A diner’s allergy is noted in the restaurant’s system and anything being ordered to their table that could cause an issue is flagged, according to the staffer.

“We treat the table as one entity. So if one person says that they’re allergic to tree nuts, we’ll flag if anyone at the table is ordering something with tree nuts,” they added.

While some menu items can be modified, others cannot, the manager explained, noting that the batter for most of their fried food is made with dairy unless the customer specifically asks that it be made vegan.

Tangsuan ate onion rings, scallops and a broccoli and corn fritter, according to the lawsuit.

It’s not clear whether she ordered the vegan option on the fried food.

An anonymous employee at the tourist hotspot insisted that staff were trained to take food allergies seriously even before the death of Kanokporn Tangsuan (right). Jeffrey Piccolo/Facebook

“I don’t know which ones she ordered, but she should have been given the vegan ones, and she would be fine. The other ones have milk,” the manager said.

The employee conceded that with such a fast-paced kitchen, the restaurant still has needs to figure out some safeguards to avoid cross-contamination.

Disney fans who in online forums generally laud the resort for its inclusiveness and accommodations for various dietary restrictions and allergies.

However, on its website, Disney warns they do not have separate allergy-free kitchens and cannot guarantee a menu item is completely free of allergens.

The restaurant, located in Disney Springs, is not owned by Disney. SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Online commenters noted that that Raglan Road’s attention to food allergies appeared “nearly identical” to what they’d expect from Disney-owned bistros.

“We dined at Raglan Rd and one member of our party had [a] shellfish allergy. All went well (we also have Dairy, and Gluten allergies)” another person responded.

A post about Tangsuan’s death on WDW News Today’s social media also drew a shocked response from many Disney revelers who have had great experiences at resort eateries.

“I’ve eaten at several different Disney Springs restaurants with friends who have severe allergies. When mentioned to the servers, the chef would come out and speak to them taking notes. So sorry this happened. Heartbreaking,” one person wrote.

The lawsuit claims that Disney failed to educate its staffers about serving allergy-safe food. Vajiradhammapadip Temple Ltd./Facebook

Though most forum posters praised Disney for its allergy accommodations — some shared horror stories of their experiences receiving food that they were told was allergen-free, only to realize the error later.

One DisBoards poster said her 9-year-old son was also given nuts at Raglan Road despite warning the restaurant staff of his allergy.

“My 9-year-old gets his dessert and had a bit but decided he didn’t like it so he stopped eating it. After a bit I happen to notice what looked like an almond in it and sure enough it is silvered almonds!” the poster wrote, adding that the manager was “completely cavalier” about the incident.

It’s unclear what portion of Tangsuan’s meal had been contaminated. According to court papers, the medical examiner’s investigation revealed she died as a result of anaphylaxis due to “elevated levels of dairy and nut in her system,” the lawsuit said.

Tangsuan’s husband, Jeffrey Piccolo, slapped Disney with a lawsuit, citing negligence and seeking damages in excess of $50,000. Jeffrey Piccolo/Facebook

Court papers alleged that Disney advertises and makes it clear to the public that food allergies and/or the accommodation of persons with food allergies are a “top priority” at its parks and resorts. 

The suit claimed that Disney “failed to educate, train and/or instruct its employees” to “make sure food indicated as allergen-free or requested to be made allergen free, was in fact free of allergens.” 

Tangsuan’s husband is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 pursuant to Florida’s wrongful death act, in addition to mental pain and suffering, loss of income and funeral expenses.

Neither Disney nor Raglan Road has responded to the lawsuit, or requests for comment from The Post.



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