Industry Haven Fig & Olive Hit by Salmonella Outbreak

THR Fig & Olive - H 2015
Lisa Cohen

THR Fig & Olive - H 2015

Food poisoning at the West Hollywood restaurant may have sickened at least a dozen people and might also be linked to salmonella incidents at the upscale Mediterranean chain's Washington, D.C., location.

A salmonella outbreak earlier this month at West Hollywood dining nexus Fig & Olive may have affected at least a dozen people, according to a personal-injury law firm that's preparing to file a lawsuit against the restaurant, which placed No. 14 on THR's competitive annual Power Lunch industry survey in 2014. (Caitlyn Jenner recently sipped rose there with Candis Cayne over branzino and tagine.) The food poisoning scare follows a similar recent incident at the upscale Mediterranean chain's Washington, D.C., location, which the law firm alleges may have sickened more than 150 individuals. "There is a strong likelihood that these illnesses on opposite sides of the U.S. are related," the Minneapolis-based firm PritzkerOlsen announced in a statement.

The source of the problem is still under investigation by the L.A. County Department of Public Health, which acknowledged reports of seven confirmed salmonella cases at the restaurant between Sept. 6 and Sept. 11 to the Los Angeles Times (three cases were Fig & Olive employees). PritzkerOlsen claims the restaurant has since removed its truffle oil from both locations. Fig & Olive declined to address the matter.

The Melrose Place location, popular with the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Halle Berry and Selena Gomez, closed briefly but has since reopened for business. Two Emmy-related events — a gifting luncheon and an Entertainment Weekly-hosted pre-party — were held there last week.

In a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter, the restaurant noted, "a week ago, we voluntarily closed our West Hollywood location for a brief time after some diners and employees reported they had become sick. We immediately hired a third party food safety firm and worked with the Public Health Department in Los Angeles to address the situation. After taking steps to ensure that all food preparation and safety standards were being followed, that food stocks were safe, and all employees had been screened, the restaurant reopened the same day with the Health Department’s approval. We are confident we have adequately addressed the situation. We remain committed to delivering the highest quality food and excellence of preparation and service that is the hallmark of the Fig & Olive brand.”