Dozens of patrons have spoken out on Facebook in support of Doug Sauls’ BBQ and Seafood Restaurant in Nashville after it was shut down Friday because of 14 reported incidents of Salmonella infections.
“The closing has hit us hard during the holiday season, but it would have been hard in any season,” Steve Sauls, owner of Doug Sauls’ BBQ, said in an interview Monday. “We are so thankful for all the support from everyone and we are so grateful for such a supportive community.”
The Nash County Health Department sent out a notice on Sunday notifying the public that they suspended the restaurant’s operating permit Friday after finding Salmonella present in equipment and food that “is likely to cause an immediate threat of serious adverse health effects.”
The finding came as part of an investigation into 14 recent cases of Salmonella London infections, a rare type of Salmonella. Ten of the 14 cases were tied back to likely exposure at Doug Sauls’ restaurant.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, the restaurant owner’s daughter addressed these concerns and apologized for the incidents.
“For everyone that has seen the post concerning the restaurant and what’s going on, our family wants to sincerely apologize for anyone who has gotten sick,” Magan Sauls said in the Facebook post.
Megan Sauls also said the restaurant plans to reopen as soon as possible.
“We will not be closing permanently; we will only be closing temporarily. Starting tomorrow, we will be sanitizing and fixing any problem in the restaurant,” she said.
She also thanked the restaurant’s customers for their show of support.
“We want to thank everyone for all the support and positive comments. We will open soon once we get everything straightened out and will let everyone know when that day will be. Thank you to everyone for supporting our business and being great and loyal customers. We know that God has control over this, and we trust him 100 percent that he is going to help us during this time,” Megan Sauls said.
She pointed out that this is the first incident like this to occur at the restaurant in its 42-year history.
“Doug Sauls’ BBQ opened up in 1977. Throughout these 42 years of business, this is our first incident. We hope that you will all be understanding. Steve is working with Nash County Health Department now to fix these problems. Again, thank you to everyone for supporting us during this time,” she said.
Larissa Williams, coordinator of health services at the Nash County Health Department, said Monday that the length of time of the closure will depend on how long it takes for the owner to address a list of concerns by the health department and to obtain an inspection before reopening. However, she added that the restaurant owner is being very cooperative with the health the department in clearing up this issue.
Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy people infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea — which may be bloody — nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in more severe illnesses, Mills said in a press release Sunday.
People who became ill with diarrhea within three days of eating food from this restaurant and are still currently ill should consult their physician, Mills said in the release. She also advised anyone who may have taken home leftovers from the restaurant to throw the food away.