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I know where not to eat in Westminster, Colorado

Today, after church, we decided to eat lunch at a Mexican restaurant we’ve enjoyed in the past.

It was filthy. It was grimy. The carpet under and around the table was covered in crushed, dried food. The seats in the booth were dusted with crumbs. Water rings and crusty patches of sauce coated the table.

We sat down, looked around, looked at each other. My stomach lurched and recoiled. We couldn’t eat there. What changed in the past few months? Did the guy who took the bath in the Burger King sink become manager? Had they already exceeded their yearly budget for vacuum cleaner bags and tabletop cleaner? Did they decide the family of eight would feel right at home in a booth decorated like the underbelly of a wild dog?

Baskets of chips and bowls of salsa were quickly placed. The waitress took our drink order. We answered without looking her in the eye. She returned to the kitchen with her list. We got up, told another server we were leaving, and left a few dollars on the table.

If the public areas of a restaurant are less clean than the underbelly of a wild dog, then imagine the kitchen.

Some of the kids started to cry as we left. They were hungry and baffled—you don’t leave a restaurant until your food comes, you pick at it, you order 52 refills, you color the menu, and you beg for dessert. None of these requirements had been met. We barely sat down when we decided our immune systems couldn’t handle what was coming.

I’ve worked in restaurants. I know that if the seating area isn’t clean, the kitchen certainly isn’t. If the bathrooms are disgusting, so is the kitchen. Flee! Flee! And, quite possibly, flea! The embarrassment is nothing compared to the embarrassment you’ll feel when you have to provide a stool sample to a medical assistant.

If you’ve ever wrinkled your nose at a crusty salt shaker, tried to guess the shade of lipstick on the rim of your ice tea glass, or had to ask for a new fork more than once, you are eating at the wrong place.

Unless you are home.

18 comments to I know where not to eat in Westminster, Colorado

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