The riders offered this image of their vests to NBC 7 San Diego - the vests they were asked to remove before being served.
A group of military veterans was denied service at an Oceanside restaurant because of what members were wearing.
The American Legion Riders Chapter 328 went on a ride to Oceanside from Norco this weekend as a farewell ride for a member who is about to go on his third deployment to Afghanistan.
When they stopped for lunch at Davina's Cabo Grill, the riders said an employee told them they needed to remove their vests in order to eat.
American Legion Riders 328 president Carlene Warren said the employee explained the restaurant’s policy. Watch video
“They explained to me that they did not allow colors. They were referring to our vest and typically colors are used to refer to motorcycle gangs,” Warren said.
“We're all veterans. These are veteran patches. All the patches that are on there are military based. The pins are all military based,” Warren said adding the group of riders has no affiliation with any type of motorcycle club.
In a statement posted on Facebook the restaurant's general manager offered this explanation:
"Unfortunately due to the location and nature of our business, it has become policy to require that any and all organizations that wear representation on jackets and vests to remove them. Whether they are gangs, bikers, locals, out having fun, weekenders, military, etc….”
It was something the veterans refused to do.
"We would not take them off and it meant going someplace else, we would go someplace else and that's exactly what we ended up doing,” said Warren.
Warren says the group of 28 ate and hung at The Longboarder Cafe and Haunted Head Saloon.
“I sincerely feel that an apology is necessary, it would have been simple in the beginning just to acknowledge the fact they had made a mistake,” Warren said.
The managers at Davina's Cabo Grill said they are also veterans and hate that this happened but they have to follow the rules.
If they allow one group in with the vests, they'd have to allow others.
Oceanside is located north of San Diego and is home to Camp Pendleton which has a daytime population of 70,000 military and civilian employees. More than 77,000 retired military personnel reside within a 50-mile radius of the base.