Allergy-Friendly Thomas Jefferson University Campus Guide

I am a sophomore in the PA program at Thomas Jefferson University and had to be on the 19 meal a week dining plan for my entire first year. My family and I met the dining staff, including the manager and chefs of all the dining halls, in the beginning of the year. I was able to eat on campus on move in day and was so excited to have the independence and freedom eating away from home. My process would be to email or text the chef three times a day with whatever I wanted for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This was tedious, challenging, and took a lot of time-management/trial and error, but it was the easiest way for the chefs to hand make my food.

However, I did have two anaphylactic reactions in my fall semester because of mistakes in the dining hall, but they quickly changed the process with which they made my food. For example, the dining manager and head chef met with me and created a paper specific to my needs where the chef making my food had to sign off on the ingredients they used in my meal. Christopher Grant, the head chef, is amazing and I have never had any issues eating his or his Sous Chef, Steve’s, food. They’ve made me meals from salmon bowls, to ramen, to Philly Cheesesteaks, to shrimp scampi, and everything tastes so good.

With that being said, I would recommend to someone with more severe allergies to commute or request a kitchen, because there will be human error in a college dining hall and it is difficult to prevent when there are many students. However, Jefferson has treated me well and I am well-acquainted with all of the kitchen staff. You must take the steps to meet with the chefs and speak up when you see something or have questions, which is all part of advocating for yourself. I also fought to get a single apartment for my second year so that I would not have any issues with cross contact in the kitchen with roommates and with the help of Student Accessibility Services, it all worked out and I have had a wonderful experience (and no hospital visits!) this year.

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Liv Wong – Spokin App User @livwong

Allergies: Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Milk, Egg, and Soy
Class: 2026
Major: 3+2 Health Sciences BS/Physician Assistant Studies MS
Post Graduation Plans: I am studying to be a physician assistant (interested in working in pediatrics)!
Instagram: @liv.ingwithalleriges
TikTok: @liv.ingwithallergies

New Leaf 2 Chinese and Japanese Cuisine

New Leaf is the first sushi restaurant I’ve ever ate at! My go-to’s to order are the salmon avocado roll, salmon nigiri, and sashimi appetizer (8 pieces of fish!). They also have gluten-free tamari for my gluten-free friends and the waitstaff/chefs are knowledgeable with cross contact. I 100% would recommend for some safe sushi in Manayunk!


I always get the arugula taco salad and sweet potato fries when I’m in Center City, Philadelphia. I order takeout so I can study in the library with friends, but I always make sure to call ahead so they can watch out for my order. I also make sure to add the note to change gloves due to my allergies, and I’ve only had positive experiences!

The Landing Kitchen

I got the grain bowl with roasted butternut squash and pears! It was free of dairy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, and soy. When I emailed and called ahead, Kathleen was amazing and she even remembered my name when I asked for her when I got there. The chef came out to meet me and took my chef card, ensuring proper food preparation without cross contact. When they brought my food out, they also gave me disposable, environmentally-friendly utensils to use instead of their cutlery to be safe. I will absolutely be back!

Le Bus

Le Bus has been great with checking ingredients and limiting cross contact. I get soup and potatoes all the time on Sundays!

Ultimo Cafe

I always get a jasmine tea here; the staff is amazing and there’s never been a cross contact issue! They have nice ventilation so I don’t have problems with the steamed milk either.


This is my absolute favorite bubble tea shop in the entire world! I always get the peach tea with nata jelly and the staff is great with using clean utensils.

Vault and Vine

Just a cute plant cafe with the best selection of allergen-free chips and tea!


I go for a safe tea and nothing else, but there’s a great clean seating area!

Safa Plant Co.

I always get the throat therapy tea with marshmallow root whenever I’m feeling sick. The cafe is such a peaceful place and the staff are kind.

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