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At Miss Shirley's, our guests know that our team takes food allergies seriously. That's why, in celebration of 16 years of support from the community, Miss Shirley's is helping to raise awareness & educate students about the severity of food allergies, by donating the children's allergy awareness book, Austin Goes to a Birthday Party by Erin Mandras, to Baltimore & Anne Arundel County public elementary schools!

Managing Members of Miss Shirley’s Cafe, Mr. & Mrs. David Dopkin, both former elementary school teachers, who have a daughter with life-threatening food allergies, hope the donation of Austin Goes to a Birthday Party - a rhyming story about Austin, a kid who has serious food allergies - will give Baltimore City & Anne Arundel County students the tips and advice they need to be careful around their peers, or anyone, that has food allergies.

Over seven years ago, our restaurants implemented an extensive allergy policy, which requires our servers & hosts to ask if guests have food allergies, before taking any dine in or to-go orders. If a team member is alerted of an allergy, they are required to discuss the concern with the Manager, who then speaks with the guest and the Chef, to take extra precautions. 

In addition to our extensive allergy policy, all Managers, Chefs, and Management Team Members are required to complete the ServSafe Allergens Online Course and Assessment through the National Restaurant Association, as part of our allergy training every 3 years. We also review allergy procedures and training at our Mandatory Team Member Meetings four times a year.  

Every three minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room in the United States. This is why as a family-friendly restaurant, it is important for us to not only ensure that our guests with food allergies feel safer and more comfortable dining with us; but also to support Food Allergy Research & Education and The Allergy & Asthma Network, to help make an impact on a larger scale as well.

"We value education and advocacy about a topic so near and dear to our hearts in schools,” says Mrs. Dopkin.

In fact, Managing Member Brandy Dopkin had the chance to do a storytime reading & discussion about the donated book for 2nd graders at Roland Park Elementary Middle School this week. Each student was also gifted educational printables about the book, as well as our Kids Games & Activity Mats with a Shirley's Pencil and Crayons!

In addition to the new book Austin Goes to a Birthday Party by Erin Mandras, Miss Shirley’s Cafe Roland Park, Inner Harbor and Annapolis also offer a variety of breakfast-themed children’s books for our little misses & misters to read while waiting to be seated or enjoy quietly when eating breakfast or lunch including:

  • Everyone Loves Bacon by Kelly DiPucchio
  • Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk
  • Woodpecker Wants A Waffle by Steve Breen
  • If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff
  • Guinness World Records Fun with Foods by Christy Webster
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess
  • Max's Breakfast by Rosemary Wells
  • Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle
  • Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie DePaola

Miss Shirley's Cafe has earned many Kid Friendly awards including Best Family Dining & Best Restaurant with Entertainment/Diversions - Baltimore’s Child Magazine Readers’ Choice, Favorite Kids’ Menu - Chesapeake Family Life’s Family Favorites, America’s Favorite Family Friendly Restaurant – Food Network and 5 Spots for Kid Friendly Eats - Annapolis Discovered. 

In 2018, Miss Shirley's Cafe was also presented with the Cornerstone of the Industry Award from The National Restaurant Association of Maryland for our work & advocacy with Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) - an award is given to a Maryland company who best illustrates that the foodservice industry stands as the cornerstone of their community by supporting their local community through financial support to non-profits, schools, and sports teams.

ABOUT THE BOOK: 

Meet Austin! He’s a kid just like everyone else but with some serious food allergies! In this rhyming story, you’ll get tips and advice on how to be careful with allergies.

Birthday parties are the absolute best. With food allergies, Austin is different from the rest. He discusses details about food allergy safety. And what friends can do to help him navigate bravely. Austin even offers ideas for a party favor. Nonfood items definitely keep him safer. Finally, by following his rules, he won’t miss the fun. Food allergies won’t stop him from being with everyone.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Erin Mandras is a mother to three boys: Levi, Austin, and Nolan, and wife to Jon, a dentist. Erin’s passion for helping others has led her down a path of writing and speaking. Her son, Austin, has multiple life-threatening food allergies, and as a result of her personal experiences, she is on a mission to raise awareness and educate others. Erin also publicly speaks and writes for Kick The Scale about eating disorders and body positivity all based around her story of developing, battling, and overcoming an eating disorder as a college athlete. Her story and more information can be found on kickthescale.com.

Erin was also a Loyola University Maryland Soccer Coach and lived in Baltimore, MD for several years. To learn more, visit www.austinallergies.com

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