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'Top Chef' Contestant's Restaurant Investigated for Possible Norovirus Outbreak

The restaurant temporarily closed for cleaning

Herringbone Waikiki voluntarily closed on Thursday for cleaning after health officials traced an outbreak of norovirus to the restaurant.

Chef Brian Malarkey’s Herringbone restaurant in Honolulu temporarily closed its doors on Thursday after health officials announced that at least 45 people got sick after eating at the restaurant, according to the Washington Post. Officials from the Hawaii Department of Health confirmed that six of the cases were norovirus.

The health department investigated a possible outbreak on Monday after a patron reported that their party of five all fell ill after dining at the restaurant. All together 29 customers and 16 employees got sick, Hawaii News Now reports. All of the people who were ill have since made a full recovery.

Rob Mora, a spokesperson for Herringbone, says in a statement to the Associated Press that the restaurant was cleared to reopen on Friday. “In alignment with the Department of Health, we cleaned four times everything top to bottom, up to seven feet,” he says. Staff will also undergo additional hygiene training.

Norovirus is a leading cause of illness and outbreaks from contaminated food in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Large outbreaks have been tied in the past to a variety of restaurants and venues including Chipotle, Noma, and even the 2016 Republican Convention in Cleveland.

The virus is highly contagious and spreads through contact with infected individuals and food that touches contaminated surfaces. Foods such as oysters collected from contaminated water or fruits and vegetables harvested from contaminated fields can also transmit the illness.

The Waikiki restaurant is one of five Herringbone locations operated by former Top Chef contestant Brian Malarkey. The San Diego-based chef owns several restaurants throughout the U.S. including Herb & Wood, Searsucker, Green Acre, Farmer & The Seashore, and Herb & Eatery.

Rob Mora, marketing manager of Hakkasan Group, supplied the following statement regarding the closure of Herringbone Waikiki to Eater:

“Following our voluntary closure, Herringbone reopened for dinner on Sunday, October 15. We have been working closely with the DOH who have thoroughly inspected the restaurant following a complete sanitization in compliance with their standards. The well-being of our guests and staff remains our absolute priority and we look forward to welcoming guests.”

Health officials: 45 Ill From Dining at Honolulu Restaurant [WaPo]
45 Sickened in Norovirus Outbreak at Upscale Waikiki Eatery [Hawaii News Now]
All DOH Coverage [E]

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