PB&J Café Opening Drives Karens With Allergic Kids Absolutely Nuts

Peanut butter and jelly go together like kids and lunchtime. So it’s no wonder that when the Boston Children’s Museum added a new café to its in-house restaurant, it thought a PB&J café would be just the ticket to entice parents to stay and feed their kids there after a busy morning of play.

“We are thrilled to announce that Stonewall Kitchen’s new PB&J cafe is NOW OPEN inside the Boston Children’s Museum building!” read a Facebook post advertising the opening of the café. Photos showed masked staff ready to receive visitors and an expansive menu board of sandwiches and kid-friendly beverages. “Come on in for delicious bites and refreshments—the perfect pairing after a trip to the Museum!”

Photo: Facebook

Oh, but it is 2020 and food allergies awareness is all the rage. Peanut allergies, while affecting only about 2 percent of children, are particularly dangerous because exposure to small amounts of peanuts can cause anaphylaxis, which is life-threatening. So perhaps it’s no surprise that parents responded with (metaphorical) pitchforks. The main concern seemed to be not just the presence of peanuts but of tiny, sticky hands that touch everything, especially in a children’s museum where the exhibits are hands-on.

“This is so CRAZY and out of touch!” wrote one Facebook commenter. “Why would the Children’s Museum decide that it’s a good idea to feature a major allergen on their menu AND name their restaurant after it?! Boston Children’s Museum PEANUTS ARE THE MOST LIKELY FOOD TO CAUSE ANAPHYLAXIS AND DEATH, you might wanna rethink your menu/name. The Children’s Museum is no longer safe for allergy families.”

“They have lost the peanut allergy community,” another mother warned. “And we are many…”

(Are you, though? There were only 36 comments on the post.)

“Peanut butter in a children’s museum?” yet another mom wrote. “Are you trying to kill children with peanut allergies? Or just lose them as members and visitors? Try again. I’m sure Stonewall Kitchen can run a lovely, allergen-free cafe if they want to.”

Not exactly. Because as one patron pointed out, “For a cafe to be allergen free, it would have to have no food.”

A Stonewall Kitchen spokesperson expressed surprise about the bad reaction (no pun intended) to the café’s schtick. “We weren’t expecting this type of reaction, in part because the café is not inside the museum, and also because the café isn’t really all about peanut butter,” the spokesperson said. “We just thought that ‘PB&J Café’ was a cute name, not realizing that some would think that that’s the only item, or even the primary item on the menu.”

So, folks, before everyone freaks out, let’s chalk this up to a test marketing fail. It appears the restaurant has since removed “PB&J” from its café marketing and made its menu less triggering by 86ing any mention of PB&J. It still offers a “Classic Sandwich” (which is totally a bougie twist on a PB&J) as well as “Build Your Own Sandwich” options with a variety of “spreads,” jellies, jams, honey, maple syrup, and chocolate sauce.

We get it. We totally get it. Sometimes you have to do a PR pivot to keep the Karens off the comments section and get out of a sticky situation.

Cover Photo: mvp64 (Getty Images)

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