Five things that should always be free at a restaurant

I'm not looking for handouts, and I don't think any restaurant is obligated to give things away for free. Upcharges for higher quality substitutions, a bill for chips and salsa and even an auto-gratuity is all well within a restaurant's prerogative.

But there are a few things that enrage me when I see them appear on the check, especially if a server didn't warn me first. Here are five things that I've been recently charged for in Denver restaurants or venues that should have been free.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk