On June 12th, 2014 a woman met with her friends for a celebratory “Mom’s Night Out” at the Iron Abbey Gastro Pub in Horsham, PA. She ordered the Grilled Veggie wrap with a House Salad on the side. What she got was a surprise. On one of the leaves at the top of the salad was a large insect larvae. When she touched the outside of it’s cocoon, it wiggled within. Iron Abbey offered a new salad, but failed to correct the situation until the woman had been waiting for a manager for over an hour. A manager never did actually come to her table and she left the restaurant hungry after paying for her drink.
Who was this woman?
Me. I found an insect larva in my salad at Iron Abbey.
First let me say, I am more disappointed with the way the incident was handled than the finding of the larva itself. I understand that when you are working with fresh ingredients, these things can happen. And although I’m not sure if the salad leaves were washed, I would like to think that they were and this larvae just survived that process. I hope.
Once our waiter was made aware of the problem, he said a sincere, “Oh, I’m very sorry about that. I’ll let the manager know.” And whisked the plate away with the leaf and the living insect larva. I then expected someone to return and perhaps offer me something else to eat or ask what can be done to make the situation right, but that didn’t happen. I sat there feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable while I looked at my veggie wrap and the lettuce within it and contemplated whether it would be rude of me to decline eating it. My friend said it was probably fine, so I forced myself to eat some of the wrap, feeling more disgusted with each bite. The manager never came, and the waiter seemed to be ignoring our table despite the restaurant not being very busy.
30 minutes after the larva was taken from the table, our waiter quietly took the old salad away and slipped a new salad next to my plate and muttered, “Sorry about that,” scampering away quickly before I could decline the salad. I did not want another salad. I would have happily eaten anything but a salad.
Sitting uncomfortably for another 25 or 30 minutes, I made conversation with my friends while not touching the food at all. Much of our conversation was about the larva and what “should” happen next, but none of those things happened. I had hoped that the waiter might come and perhaps offer to bring me something else, and I could ask for the nachos with no lettuce. I would have even paid for it. But he seemed to be avoiding our table.
Another friend at the table finally flagged him down and asked what was up. The other ladies wanted refills on their drinks and the manager still hadn’t been told about the larva issue. My friend was polite, but much more direct about his need to bring this to the attention of the management sooner rather than later. The waiter made an excuse that the manager is upstairs and the waiter was just waiting for him to come down so that he can let him know. I finally jumped in and said, “I’d really just like to leave because I feel very uncomfortable. Can you bring me my bill for whatever I owe you so that I can just go?” Then the waiter said, “Well, we will probably take care of your salad, but I have to get the manager to do that.” By this time, I was really annoyed.
About 10 minutes later, a tall man came to the table and asked, “I understand there was something found in your salad?” I reply, “Yes, did you see it?” He had not seen it, so I offered to show him a picture I took of it with my phone. He tried to decline seeing the picture, saying “I really don’t need to see it,” but said, “We are going to comp your salad.” A friend asked, “Are you the manager?” Then the tall gentleman said, “No, I’m not the manager on duty tonight, and I don’t usually do the floor management.” I was a little baffled by everyone’s inability to figure out how to take care of the situation.
Not long after, the bill arrived and the waiter explained that, “Instead of offering you a dessert or something, he took off 20% from your total bill and comped the salad.” I said “Thank you”. He offered to box up my salad and wrap, and I told him I was not interested in it at all.
Actually, they only took off $7.22 from the $8.50 dish, but I can’t complain about that since they deducted 20% from the entire table.
What I really wanted was something to eat. I went to a restaurant and ate part of a veggie wrap and came home hungry. Next time I will be more direct with the waiter and tell them what I want, even though I am very uncomfortable and embarrassed in these kinds of situations. And next time I will NOT be going to the Iron Abbey.