Food Allergy 101: Welcome to The Hill


What if my food allergy was a real, live person? And what if I could talk to him about what he's taught me over the years? Every Thursday, I get that chance...

I decided to change it up and meet Mr. A, my allergy, at my Uncle Jon’s restaurant.

Jon is actually my dad’s first cousin, and he’s always been one of my fiercest advocates when it comes to my food allergy. Uncle Jon owns the The Hill, a restaurant in Ephrata Pa, which is about an hour and a half from Philadelphia. Growing up, I always knew that I had a safe space whenever I wanted a meal. Long before any restaurant was accommodating food allergies, Uncle Jon made sure I could eat in a restaurant like every other kid I knew. When I was little, he walked me through his kitchen and told me every thing I could eat. Then he made sure it was made safely.

Even last week, when I was home, he made sure my hot wings were awesome and safe!

I thought it would be cool to meet Mr. A here. And so I sat there waiting for him to arrive. When Mr. A walked inside, Uncle Jon approached him and put his arm around his shoulder. They talked. And that’s when Uncle Jon showed him the door.

“What happened?” I asked as Uncle Jon returned to my table. “Why did Mr. A leave?”

“It’s my restaurant, and Mr. A is not welcomed here,” he said. “Your wings will be right up!”

 JJ Vulopas is a senior at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. An advocate for young people, JJ has lived with food allergies his entire life. He is the author of the children's book, Land of Not. You can read his daily blog at Follow him on Instagram & Twitter @thelandofcan.