Black man describes a bizarre act of racism in lawsuit against high-end steakhouse

A server at a California Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is being sued for racial discrimination by a Black patron, the La Jolla Light reports.

The suit alleges that plaintiffs Mychel McKillian, who is Black, and Denise Grimaldo, who is Hispanic, were dining with others at the San Diego-area restaurant on May 29 to celebrate Grimaldo’s brother getting engaged.

“McKillian, Grimaldo and Grimaldo’s mother each ordered a salad and a steak plate for dinner,” the suit states. “Grimaldo and Grimaldo’s mother received a salad, but McKillian did not. When the dinner plates began to arrive at their table, Grimaldo received a hot plate of steak, but McKillian and Grimaldo’s mother did not. Instead of steak, McKillian was served an empty hot plate sprinkled with parsley. McKillian’s plate was delivered by a male server. While delivering the empty plate, [the server] looked at McKillian and said: ‘You’re probably used to a loud sizzle with your hot plate, but ours is silent. Enjoy.’”

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“McKillian never received an explanation on why he did not receive his steak [and] never received an apology from anyone in the restaurant,” the suit states.

The suit adds that the server told McKillian that he had once “spilled a drink on a Black guy” while working as a bartender and thanked McKillian for “your good behavior for not acting out.”

“McKillian felt belittled, humiliated and racially profiled,” the suit states. “Grimaldo felt her husband was being stereotyped, humiliated and discriminated against, as he was the only African American guest in their party. ... Grimaldo sat in her chair feeling humiliated in the presence of her family but didn’t leave for the sake of not ruining her brother’s engagement dinner.”