Costa Mesa restaurant offers free toilet paper rolls with takeout order

A toilet paper tower titled "Roll With It" by sandcastle artist Chris Crosson rises on Balboa Island in Newport Beach.
(Don Leach / Times Community News)

As restaurants across Orange County shutter their dining areas and offer only takeout or delivery in response to coronavirus isolation measures, one Costa Mesa restaurant is providing a bonus: free toilet paper rolls.

Descanso and its owner, Rob Arellano, announced the promotion on Facebook: one free roll for every $20 spent on takeout orders.

Many restaurants are offering free delivery or discounts, but Arellano’s establishment might be the only one sweetening the deal with an item most can’t find elsewhere right now.

“So far it’s been very well-received,” he said, adding that the promotion is getting some social media buzz.


A comment left Monday on Arellano’s Facebook page proclaimed: “Love the toilet paper deal. I’m sold.”

Another person asked for a free taco instead of toilet paper. “Ha!” Arellano replied. “Sure.”

Descanso opened in 2018 and quickly established a following for its la plancha dining, a grill experience that is like a Mexican Benihana.

Arellano said his restaurant was doing well until about a week ago, when coronavirus protection measures in California ramped up. Business then slowed, and he realized he had a stockpile of toilet paper that wasn’t being used in his restrooms.

“We might as well give them out and do something with them,” Arellano said.

“We’re going to see an increase in positive cases today, tomorrow and for the foreseeable future,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County’s public health director.

He said he gave out about eight rolls Monday and expected to do more after his dining room closed Tuesday night to transition to takeout-only through the rest of March. Descanso also will be condensing its menu by the end of the week.

The toilet paper promotion does have an important caveat: It’s good only while supplies last. It’s also good only on call-in orders, not ones delivered through DoorDash or Uber Eats.


“We’re looking to provide a food service to the community,” Arellano said, “and we’re hoping people come and enjoy their takeout.”

Zint is a contributor to Times Community News.