clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Denver Taqueria Owner Refuses to Serve Homeless Man

The story is going viral and the backlash against Taqueria Mexico and its owner is growing strong.

If you buy something from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Taqueria Mexico
Taqueria Mexico

When a homeless man looked at the menu at Taqueria Mexico, a casual restaurant located at 3800 West Colfax, Vanessa Varona offered to buy his food. Little did this regular of the restaurant know what would follow. The waitress told Varona that the man had to take his food and leave. When the woman stood up for him, the waitress acted rudely throughout the experience. In hopes of some vindication for the incident, a friend of Varona called the owner of the establishment. He mocked them and informed her that she's no longer welcome to the restaurant.

That is when Varona took to Facebook to share her experience.

#PleaseKeepSharing I'm sure you'll love this! So I went to Taqueria Mexico off 3800 West Colfax right at the corner of...

Posted by Vanessa M Varona on Saturday, January 9, 2016

Her post went viral and currently has upwards of 3500 likes and more than shares.

Local news channel KDVR Fox 31 picked up the story and interviewed both the woman and representatives from the restaurant. A staffer, Adiel Estrada, who shared a surveillance camera video with the reporters, said the man was asked to leave because he was drunk not because he was homeless. He added that "the owner's policy is we can't have homeless people coming in to disrupt customers that are enjoying their meals," but admitted that the waitress in this case went too far.

On a call with Eater this morning, Rosio Campos, the cashier on the day of the incident, said that the man in question was bothering customers and he was drunk, which is why he was asked to leave. She added that the waitress was never rude to him or Varona but was rather trying to deal with the disturbance. Also, Campos said that Varona is welcome to return to the restaurant like any customer and that the owner never told her she is not allowed back.

Those who became familiar with Varona's post quickly took to online reviews sharing the post on the restaurant's Facebook location page as well as on Yelp. Here are some highlights:

Matt Marion/Facebook — 1 star If I could give you a - * I would. I hope everyone stops buying your food and you go out of business so you understand what it's like to be homeless. If the staff and ownership is that cruel to not let a homeless person inside to eat even if someone else bought the food why should we eat your food? Definitely never going back and I will tell people to not go there. Disappointed to have you in my city. oh and the food isn't that great either. Just an FYI.
Brett Brave — 1 star You should be ashamed of yourselves!! See what happens when you treat people like this... You think no one will find out or no one will care.. Well now look at the publicity your getting. Absolute misery at its best. You deserve every word of hate you get at this point! Hopefully your doors will have to close soon because people who have good hearts will not pay a cent toward people like you and your establishment! Good job.
Antonia CM — 1 star I don't care how or if the food here is good cause if the owner and the staff is so hateful towards homeless people then I don't want anything to do with this place cause when I was a kid I was homeless so I won't bother with this place.
Eric B 1 star Wow, the fact that ANYONE would refuse feeding someone whom is less fortunate is beyond me as a human being. Additionally, the fact that they refused service to the person who bought the homeless man food is out of control and the reason why I will not go here ever again. Although I understand the owner isn't trying to create a habit, there is NO excuse for this inhuman behavior. Colorado is FREEZING this time of year and to be hungry, never mind hungry in the freezing cold or watch someone be hungry in the freezing cold is unreal.
Brenda C 1 star is it not discrimination to refuse service to homeless people if they or someone else pays for the meal? how would this be any diffrent than refusing service for race dissability religion or any other discrimination? if it happened to me id find a good lawyer and take them to court. and to answer a previouse post no i have not invited homeless people to my home but i have bought them meals and at one point in my life i was homeless and a friend helped me out after being on the streets for almost a week. so why would i decline a homeless person a meal.
Sylvia S 1 star Would not eat at a place that would refuse service to a patron just because they are willing to buy a homeless person a meal and is not ashamed to sit with that homeless person to have a descent dinner. How can a you refuse to allow a paying customer to buy a meal for a homeless person or show some humanity? The meal is paid for. An establishment like this doesn't deserve a good review or my patronage. The word will get around.