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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Kilroy’s has killed my vibe for the last time

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I am officially over Kilroy’s. All of the stuffed breadsticks and oversized long islands in the world wouldn’t be enough to get me to stay. The point is, I’m tired of being nice and still being treated poorly.

I’ve visited the Broad Ripple Kilroy’s location a few times and most of those visits were pleasant overall. For fear of sounding overly paranoid, I never tripped off the fact that I have to show two pieces of ID to be seated, or the fact that sometimes the wait staff behaved as if serving me was a chore worse than scraping gum from under tables or emptying a grease trap. “Oh, that’s just their policy,” I’d say about the identification or “Oh, I know how it is being a waitress. Maybe she’s just tired.” Perhaps, I wanted so badly to give this spot a chance despite their horrendous reputation in the Black community. I try my best not to pre-judge based solely off the experiences of others but my personal experiences over the past week have been enough to let me know when to say peace and keep it pushing.

On Aug. 30, I stopped by Kilroy’s downtown location with a friend. It was about 8:30 p.m. and the restaurant was nearly empty. I was stopped at the front hostess stand and asked to present her with two forms of picture ID. I pulled out my driver’s license and my old college ID. My license was examined for about 45 seconds before she finally said it wouldn’t work because it had expired. She was right. My ID had expired on August 29, 2015, my 27th birthday. Two other employees who were standing behind her told her it was fine and I should be let through. I kept it cool, calm and classy. There was no need to get dramatic. I always find myself doing a little pep talk in my head when things like this happens. “It’s not you, Ebony. I’m sure this happens to everyone. Don’t trip out because then they will think we (women, young people, Black people, etc.) all are (fill in the stereotype here).” Nevertheless, we were seated in the back patio (my request) and waited, and waited about 10-15 minutes before a waitress came. I know how this could have happened: a) the hostess may not have alerted her to someone new being seated in her section b) she may have gotten caught up with a very needy customer somewhere else c) simple human error. When our waitress finally arrived, she was very attentive and quick. We finished our meal, she was tipped and I went home.

On Sept. 2, my family and I linked up at my Aunt Belinda’s house. We had plans to go out together and do something, as we don’t see one other often. We toyed around with a couple of different ideas and finally settled on Kilroy’s in Broad Ripple. I wanted to go to Buffalo Wild Wings but we took an informal vote and of course, I lost. No worries. We drove out to Broad Ripple and I got to the restaurant before anyone else, around 6:45 p.m. I called my sister and cousin who were in another car and told them I would grab our table. We, my two sisters (ages 16 and 23) and niece (age 6) and myself, walked up to the door and were stopped by a security guard who asked that everyone who was 21 and over show ID. I informed him two of us were over 21. As we went to grab our identification, he asked about my 16-year-old sister. I told him she was with me and we would like to sit out on the patio. He said she needed to be accompanied by her “legal guardian.” I informed him I am her caretaker while our mother is away. I was cut off before I could say our mother is thousands of miles away for work as he explained, “that is not the way this works.”  

I gathered my thoughts and walked away, shaking my head. My sister Christina (the 23- year-old) was livid. “How do they know her parents aren’t deceased? People have to take care of younger siblings all of the time.” She wanted to go back and demand an explanation. I told her it wasn’t worth our breath in that moment. I would find another way.

I threw a post up on social media and got a slew of responses. None of them were positive.

  • Wow. So are you supposed to bring a letter from the courts? A birth certificate? I mean, what!? I stopped going there after they made us show 2 forms of ID and then tried to charge us to come inside to have dinner.
  • That’s like strike 12 for Kilroy’s… SMH
  • Kilroy’s in Broad Ripple is always being discriminatory! Not directly but always indirectly.
  • I have had bad experiences there EVERY TIME!

And on and on the stories went. I called Kilroy’s this morning and spoke with Chelsea, a manager at the Broad Ripple location. She suggested I reach out to their GM, Stephan Kelly for all media inquiries. We have corresponded via email and I provided him with a list of questions. I have not heard back yet.

This piece is not the start of a boycott and to some people, this whole thing may be silly and frivolous… BUT if you care and feel the urge to keep your dollars in your pocket and out of the hands of the owners of Kilroy’s – in the words of Tupac “I ain’t mad at cha.”

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