New food truck Red Lion Grill puts big focus on menu items for those with dietary restrictions

June 8, 2024 | 12:15 am

Updated June 8, 2024 | 6:40 am

Photo by Josh Kelly

Research shows Kentucky is one of the states with the highest prevalence of alpha-gal syndrome (AGS), an allergy to most mammal meat products. Owensboro’s newest food truck, Red Lion Grill, is dedicated to serving people with AGS and other allergies by taking measures to prevent food contamination.

When Owner Deb Mata was diagnosed with AGS, she had to learn pretty quickly how severe her allergy was when things had been cross-contaminated. Many people with AGS cannot eat food from a mammal — such as beef or pork — or food prepared with equipment that touches that type of meat.

“Everything is cooked completely separately. There’s a separate grill, we have separate utensils and everything. Just so we protect people like myself, so you can come to something like Friday After 5, enjoy it, and have some food,” Mata said.

The business specializes in grill and barbecue foods and the occasional taco, so customers can often find bread or tortillas. Mata noted that in her journey with the allergy, she has met people who are also prone to gluten intolerance because of their AGS. With this in mind, she said people can also expect a gluten-free experience.

Mata said her menu doesn’t necessarily specialize in food for those with allergies, but they do make it available for those with dietary restrictions.

For example, the menu is balanced between mammal and non-mammal meat with pulled barbecue and pulled chicken nachos as well as shrimp and steak tacos.

The family-run business has only been open for a few weeks, but Mata said there has been positive momentum thus far. As a mom of 10, she said she’s been used to cooking in large quantities and meeting as many needs as possible. Now, her children are helping her make the food for the company.

“I love that, and I want to teach them and to spread the food out to people. I just think it’s great to work with the family. I always say food is the message of love,” Mata said.

Mata said people can keep up with the food truck on their Facebook page, but they plan to be at Harbor Freight sporadically and get in the groove of the Friday After 5 crowd. Eventually, she hopes to do private events around town.

June 8, 2024 | 12:15 am

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