Costa Mesa restaurant’s special: Spend $20 on takeout, get a free roll of toilet paper

Sandcastle artist Chris Crosson built a toilet paper tower titled "Roll With It" on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, a lighter look at the recent rush on toilet paper by people trying to stock up.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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

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

Restaurants everywhere are offering free delivery or discounts to help keep up demand for their menus, 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 food version of 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.

As social distancing deepens in an effort to stem the worldwide outbreak of the virus that causes the respiratory illness COVID-19, many local restaurants and retail stores are seeing precipitous drops in business.

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.”

Descanso is at 1555 Adams Ave. The phone number is (714) 486-3798. To see the menu, go to

Bradley Zint is a contributor to Times Community News.

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