A group of drag performers say they were recently denied service at a Daly City Denny’s because they were wearing too much make-up.
Some in the group had just competed in the Mother: Star Search drag contest at San Francisco’s Oasis nightclub, and several of them had donned Marie Antoinette-style makeup and dresses. The five friends got to the Denny’s at 2 Serra Monte at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday (February 12).
Nereida Alvarez, 25, who goes by the name Crème Fatale, said when she got to the restaurant, she looked around inside, mistakenly thinking that her friends, who’d taken another car, were already there.
A security guard approached her and said, “You can’t be in here with that face make-up on,” Alvarez said.
She “automatically assumed it was a joke,” laughed it off, and continued talking to the friends who’d come with her.
The guard repeated his statement, but other customers were complimenting her on here make-up, and Alvarez didn’t quite hear him, she said.
Then, the guard said, “I need you to leave,” and she and her friends realized he was serious.
When one of her group asked why they had to go, the guard said, “You can’t be here with that face make-up on. It’s company policy,” Alvarez said.
The man kept repeating that they couldn’t be there. Alvarez said part of the reason she was surprised was that other customers were also made up – it was a Saturday night, and many people had gone heavy on the cosmetics to go out to nightclubs. Alvarez said she and her friends didn’t have that much more make-up on than anyone else in the restaurant.
She and the others eventually walked outside. She called her friends Mitchell Erickson, 25, (a.k.a. Laundra Tyme) and Quinn Monroe, 26, (a.k.a. Scarlett Letters) and told them, “We just got kicked out of Denny’s for being in drag.”
Erickson said that when he and Monroe got there, he asked the guard about not being let in because he and his friends were in drag.
The guard replied that it wasn’t because they were in drag, it was because of the make-up. However, Erickson said that when he asked whether the drag attire was the problem, the guard “got flustered and uncomfortable,” and it appeared he was “afraid” of seeming homophobic.
“He had a very clear problem with it, but he would not say” the issue was their drag get-ups, Alvarez said.
“There was nothing offensive about the way we looked,” she added. “We were all in pink and white … very demure, very covered up.”
Alvarez also said that the guard told them “if we got popped” – or shot – “nobody would know who we were,” as though they wouldn’t be able to check identifications.
“I wasn’t aware this is the most dangerous Denny’s in the world,” Alvarez said to the guard, who actually asked for their IDs.
After Erickson said, “We’re hungry drag queens looking for a milk shake,” the guard told them it would be alright that time, “but you can’t come here a lot.”
Monroe said that when she got to the restaurant, she went inside to ask about why they couldn’t be seated. She was initially ignored, but a hostess eventually told Monroe she’d seat the group. By then, though, they’d decided to go elsewhere.
The group went to a nearby Nation’s hamburger restaurant, where they had no trouble being served.
Alvarez, who didn’t know the guard’s name, said not being allowed into a business because they were in drag was something “I don’t think any of us have experienced” before.
An employee at the Denny’s Friday (February 17) referred the Bay Area Reporter to the restaurant chain’s corporate office, where no one was available.