Iconic Upstate diner accused of serving roach in burger

The Beacon (Source: WYFF)
The Beacon (Source: WYFF)

SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SC (WYFF) - A Laurens woman has filed a lawsuit against an iconic Upstate restaurant, claiming she has suffered discomfort and emotional trauma ever since she says she bit into a burger with a roach in it three years ago.

The lawsuit against The Beacon Drive-In was filed on Friday. Sharon Harris says she ordered a burger at the restaurant on Feb. 18, 2010. She said as she was eating the burger, she bit into a cockroach cooked inside of it.

The suit says that during and after she found the roach, Harris "suffered intense discomfort and emotional trauma and continues to suffer such discomfort and trauma to this day," and believes that she is entitled to "compensatory damages for negligence."

The suit said after finding the roach, Harris showed the remains of it to Kenneth White, the name given The Beacon's owner in the lawsuit. She said he mocked her and never offered an apology.

We contacted The Beacon on Monday. Employees identified the owner as Kenneth Church, who then spoke to Reporter Mike McCormick and said he was not aware of the lawsuit. We provided Church with a copy of the lawsuit.

Church said about three years ago, the restaurant did have an incident in which someone claimed to have purchased a burger, left the restaurant with it, went all over town, left it in the backseat of the car, ate some of it at one point, ate the rest at home, then came back the next day with a bug in a bottle and claimed to have found it in the burger.

Church says he dealt with a man and a woman at the time, but the man did all the talking and the woman just stood by his side.

The Beacon turned the claim over to the insurance company. The insurance company pursued it and requested documentation and proof from the alleged victim, but never received any so the case was closed.

Church said about a year and a half ago, a man called The Beacon and claimed to be a pastor. He brought up the incident again and asked if The Beacon would be willing to do something to keep this all from going public. The Beacon declined, saying they'd followed protocol, which was to submit the complaint it to the insurance company.

Harris' lawsuit said that she had "endured embarrassment, humiliation and mental suffering," and she is entitled to an award of at least $25,000.

Church said the restaurant will again turn the complaint over to the insurance company.

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