Going out with friends for a casual bite is a common ritual for most of us, but for those living with life-threatening allergies it can easily take a turn for the lethal. Dominique Dion understood this perfectly when he came up with the idea for Zero8 in Montreal.
A restaurant with a menu entirely free of the eight most common fatal food allergens: gluten, dairy, eggs, fish or shellfish, soy, sesame, nuts or peanuts.
Dion hit a nerve. In Zero8, patrons found a venue willing to work with suppliers at length to verify the safety of their meals. But it wasn’t just that, it was also the variety and the deliciousness. We’re talking house-smoked duck “poutine” and coriander and caramelized onion lamb burgers, among others.
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It didn’t take long for the place to develop a strong following, a following that became extremely disappointed when the restaurant was forced to close due to a rent hike. When that happened, Dion admitted he didn’t have it in him to reopen, but a group of customers convinced him to launch a crowdfunding campaign. The result? A grand re-opening and a new, grander idea: Dion now wants to turn the restaurant into a food-allergen-free chain, and is counting on crowdfunding, among other things, to get the project off the ground.
Like they would say in Montreal: L’union fait la force!
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