Over the years, as Mexican cuisine has become an increasingly crucial component of the American diet, chips and salsa have become as ubiquitous on the dinner table as baskets of bread and packets of butter. Like with any complimentary snack doled out at a restaurant, customers like to nibble, taste, and pick, but leave the majority of the food behind for the waiter to toss in the trash.
Unwilling to let all those fried tortillas go to waste, Su Casa, a Mexican restaurant in South Haven, Michigan, has been accused of re-gifting its complimentary appetizers, taking chips and salsa that appeared to have been untouched, and placing the food on new customers' plates.
The restaurant's policy came to light last week after a server's mother, Kristie Bowie, shared Su Casa's decidedly unsanitary practices in a Facebook post. Bowie's 16-year-old daughter had only been working at Su Casa for a short time when management explained the restaurant’s rule to her.
"She was told not to throw away the salsa, chips, etc that come back that 'looked' like they haven't been touched!" Bowie wrote. "She did not feel comfortable with this so she asked the owner if it was true. He said it was true so she put her notice in and worked her shift."
While recycling a chip every now and then is maybe a forgivable offense—a basket is meant to be shared anyways, right?—a former employee named Anthony Rigozzi says the restaurant might be guilty of more serious offenses.
"They will have used meat out and just hang it back up after the health department tells them to take it down," he said. "They will put it right back up as soon as they leave."
Su Casa received a citation in the past for a faulty dishwasher, and has been been given a new warning after the fallout from #ChipGate. Still, the restaurant remain open as Suarez and his staff try to clean up their act.