Mark Gadala had a bad Monday afternoon.
The 25-year-old founder of Lucid Digital, a Brickell Avenue web design company, typically eats at the Brickell Plaza Chicken Kitchen a couple of times a week. Around 3 p.m. Monday he once again visited the location and ordered a Mexican Chop Chop, a variation of the company's signature dish of chopped grilled chicken over yellow rice. But when Gadala went to spread curry sauce over his plate, he noticed something light brown floating in the green sauce; assuming it was a chicken bone, he began to dig it out with his finger.
It wasn't a chicken bone. Gadala had found a used Band-Aid. "It was just the most appalling thing you can imagine," he tells Riptide.
Gadala didn't feel like finishing the meal. Instead he went back to the store, where he says the manager offered a refund but also pleaded with him not to alarm other customers. "She was like, 'Don't say anything,'" Gadala recounts. "Like, 'Let's just ignore this.'"
He then called the company's corporate office, which also offered a refund, plus a free meal. "They were like, 'We can give you free food. You want a free Chop Chop?'" Gadala says. "That's the last thing I want."
Reached by Riptide early the next afternoon, a manager at the store said the inquiry should be directed to the corporate office. Mayi Sabadini, a corporate Chicken Kitchen representative, confirmed the company had offered a refund and a free meal. "We did what we could to remedy the situation," she said.
Informed of Gadala's claim that he hadn't yet actually received the refund, Sabadini told Riptide that he could easily get it by returning to the store or by check, and then she questioned whether he was actually interested in finding a resolution.
"So it really doesn't matter what I say or what my company offers," she said. "He just wants to make Chicken Kitchen look bad."
Indeed, Gadala does. He says he'll never eat at the restaurant again.
"It's so nasty -- I just don't want anybody to eat there," he says. "I want people to understand the risk."
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