New York Grilled Cheese Co. Stands With Trans Waitress After Customer Goes Off

"We would never choose the revenue of an intolerant patron over the dignity of our employees."

Some customers at New York Grilled Cheese Co. in Wilton Manors, Florida, have been leaving negative reviews on the restaurant’s website—not because of the food but because one of the servers is a trans woman, and the eatery has adopted a trans-friendly bathroom policy.


Last week Mary Bolda complained about the terrible service she received from a certain “waiter”—actually a trans waitress named Mia.

According to Florida Agenda, Bolda continually referred to Mia as “he” and “him” while at the restaurant, shouting loudly and making a scene. (Other customers reportedly became so uncomfortable they left.)


Then another online reviewer complained that, while the food at New York Grilled Cheese “was delicious,” she wouldn’t go back because “they only have transgender restrooms.”

NYGCC owner Leor Barak is willing to take his lumps when it comes to his food, but not his staff: On Friday Barak posted on Facebook that “the company culture at New York Grilled Cheese Co. is and always will be one of acceptance, equality, and support of our transgendered community and any other walk of life.”

Barak said he was sorry to hear the customer wouldn’t come back, but declared “we would never choose the revenue of an intolerant patron over the dignity of our employees.”

The restaurant shared a “Love Mia” graphic across its social media to show support.

Wilton Manors has a highly visible LGBT community, and New York Grilled Cheese was one of the first restaurants in the state to implement a gender-neutral bathroom. It also hosts fundraisers for the Smart Ride to fight HIV/AIDS

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.