Person Claims To Have Found Cockroach In Quesadilla From San Diego Restaurant

March 28, 2022

A customer of a San Diego Mexican restaurant is claiming she received a chicken quesadilla with a dead cockroach inside.

A since-deleted post on a Coronado-based Facebook Group has caused quite the stir with allegations by a professed customer of Clayton's Mexican Take-Out in Coronado who claims she received a chicken quesadilla containing a dead cockroach on Friday, March 25, at approximately 12:30pm. The person has claimed she was so disgusted by the incident that it resulted in her vomiting multiple times and eventually going to an area hospital. 

"I would Never return to Clayton's Mexican takeout," reads a flagged Yelp review about Clayton's Mexican Take-Out. "There was a big ass cockroach in my chicken quesadilla, grossed me out and I had taken eaten two bites. I was sick as a dog, throwing up all day and had to go to the hospital. The cashier was preparing the small salsa cups with no gloves touching the inside of every cup before adding the salsa after bringing it to her attention she kept working and this was after I brought the roach quesadilla back. Nothing was thrown out or changed when I showed them what was in my food. For my sickness, they offered me a $30 credit as if I would return."
The alleged customer further contends that the owner of the restaurant called to check on her while she was getting checked out at Sharp Coronado Hospital. 

"The owner kept saying she doesn’t know how it happened and she told me to come back and eat there again and was apologizing and said to call her for anything and handle the hospital bill," stated the customer. 

We reached out to Clayton's Mexican Take-Out ownership for comment about the incident and received the below response:

On Friday 3/25 at approximately 12:30pm, Ms. Washington purchased a quesadilla from Clayton’s Mexican Takeout. About an hour later she returned to show the quesadilla to staff with a cockroach placed inside it. Staff immediately issued an apology and a total refund of her entire purchase. In addition, the Lead on duty offered a gift card for her trouble (no monetary value was offered, contrary to what Ms. Washington says) to which her response was "do you think I would ever come back to eat?" The cashier replied with another apology, she was incredibly embarrassed, and felt terrible about what had happened. My entire staff continues to feel very bad about this. They are dedicated employees who have been with Claytons MTO for many years, and are taking this very seriously with the understanding of the impact of Ms. Washington’s experience.

After the incident my Lead on duty notified me of what had happened. I then personally called Ms.Washington, speaking to her for several minutes and offered her my sincerest apologies. I told her I was mortified that this had occurred and that I could not understand how this could have possibly happened given how we cook and prepare our quesadillas; it makes no sense! I informed her we take the health and safety of our guests seriously, have regular pest service and that I was completely shocked that this had happened. I told her if she needed anything at all to please contact me directly by my personal cell phone and to let me know if I could be of assistance in any way, including covering any medical expenses; I had the assumption while I was speaking to her she may have been at the hospital. I reiterated how terrible I felt for her experience and apologized many times and also offered for her to come back with a gift card “on us.” Her reaction to my apology and support was an immediate dismissal. She further went on to state “this situation was stupid,” she would “never come back” and I would indeed be “hearing from her.” In response to her remarks, I told her this incident was incredibly upsetting and has never occurred before at Claytons. She then reiterated a few more times that I would indeed “be hearing from her.” I told her she had my number and could contact me regarding anything whatsoever.

Once I was off the phone, I reached out to our pest service, spoke with our tech who said he would come by in the afternoon to check on everything again. He too seemed shocked, said everything had been great with regards to any pest and/or rodent issues with no signs of any activity per his very recent report. He then reminded me he had serviced Claytons on Wednesday, 3/23, just two days prior. He then asked me to forward Ms. Washington's images to him and I reviewed his service report to verify it was good. This report was on the heels of our annual health inspection on March 3rd, 2022 where we maintained our “A” rating. The pest control service tech, who has been servicing Clayton's since 2008 when I took over, contacted me and pointed out the cockroach looked like a species of cockroach which only lives outside. He reiterated to me it didn’t make sense to him either and also commented as to how intact the insect was inside the quesadilla considering how our quesadillas are cooked.

Later that Friday, I was told Ms. Washington had posted her images and video to Coronado Happenings, one of the local community Facebook pages. Because I am not a personal member of this site, nor is my business, I reached out to the site's administrator via personal message and asked if he could, on my behalf, post a response to Ms. Washinton’s post for our community to see, which he gratefully did. I reiterated again what had occurred, publicly letting her and any other readers know what actions I had taken to remedy this event. In my post, I expressed my concern, was terribly sorry and mortified when it had been presented to me. I explained the health and safety of our guests is paramount, that we maintain a pest control service, and I would be speaking to my staff to investigate how this could have occurred. I continued stating, again, that I encouraged her to reach out to me directly if she wanted to discuss this further and I would do my best to remedy the situation. I was told by many that she personally had responded to all, or nearly all, of the roughly 150-200 comments to her post. The post was later removed for reasons I do not know? Ms. Washington, the following day, made another post on the same site questioning why her post had been removed. The commentary continued.
This morning Ms. Washington wrote a Yelp review of Claytons Mexican Takeout providing the same story she had made on Coronado Happenings but also adding a grievance about how employees were filling the salsa cups, their lack of empathy and overall disdain for what had occurred, a slight for being offered a gift card and posting pictures and video as well. I have not responded to the Yelp review and as of this evening, the review has been removed by Yelp or Ms. Washington.

I have expressed my concern and care directly to Ms. Washington both personally and publicly. I have offered to be responsible for any necessary costs incurred. As the owner, I take full responsibility for her experience and have made that very clear to her. From my personal perspective, Ms. Washington appears to have been eating her food at an outside location, and took over an hour to come back and return her food and express her anger. Regardless of whether this happened in our kitchen or possibly elsewhere, I take responsibility for wherever this fluke occurred.

Is it possible the fluke occurred on her end? Is this the mistake of my employee visibly missing something so obvious and seemingly impossible to miss given the step-by-step process of building our quesadillas layer by layer? Or is this a crazy restaurant fluke? I have no idea and it is obviously terribly upsetting for everyone involved. I completely understand how awful this would be for any of our guests, but I also know what our kitchen and business practices are, how hard we work to do things right. This situation is damaging at best, to our business and affects the livelihood of everyone employed. No restaurant is perfect, we do make mistakes, but I know our Clayton's team, and I can say we honestly do our best everyday to handle mistakes correctly. We make no excuses and once again apologize for Ms. Washington’s experience at Clayton’s Mexican Takeout.

Sincerely and Respectfully,
Mary Frese
Claytons Mexican Takeout

This is a developing story. We will update this post as we learn more.