Popular Vegas tapas restaurant shut amid outbreak

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A trendy Las Vegas tapas restaurant that's racked up hundreds of rave reviews on the website Yelp is closed after more than three dozen patrons reported food poisoning symptoms.

Southern Nevada Health District officials said the flagship Firefly restaurant on Paradise Road was shuttered Friday and will remain closed while they run tests to try to determine the source of the outbreak.

"Everyone's kind of devastated. This is a big deal and we take it very seriously," said John Simmons, who owns the restaurant and two other Firefly locations in greater Las Vegas that remain open. "We've got to get to the bottom of it."

Amy Irani, the district's acting environmental health director, said 39 people who visited the restaurant last week reported symptoms, and 10 said they sought medical attention. Symptoms included diarrhea and vomiting.

Firefly is a block from the Strip and is one of Las Vegas' most commonly reviewed restaurants, with a coveted 4 1/2-star rating on Yelp. Customers rave about the sangria and bacon-wrapped dates.

Irani said Firefly, which was established a decade ago, had an "A'' grade from the health department before the apparent outbreak.

Simmons said the restaurant takes sanitation seriously and called the outbreak an isolated incident. He said he plans to reopen the restaurant when the health department gives clearance.

"We're going to do the best we can to maintain communication with the customers and get people's confidence back if we've lost it," Simmons said.

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