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Honolulu Restaurant with E. Coli Past Closes

Some restaurants never recover from a run-in with E. coli O157:H7.

Peppa’s Korean Barbeque on King Street is Honolulu is the latest example of a restaurant failing several months after going through a temporary closure during an E. coli outbreak.

Hawaiian health officials closed Peppa’s last April after the restaurant was linked to an E. coli outbreak on Oahu.  It re-opened in short order, but business did not come back.

“The people, they stopped coming,” Peppa’s owner Chong Kim told local television station KITV 4.  Kim closed the restaurant for good last Friday.

He hung a sign in the window thanking customers for allowing Peppa’s to share its “culture and food with you.”  Some would-be customers Friday learned of the closure from reporters.

The Hawaii State Health Department suspended Peppa’s permit on April 1 after four people who had dined at the restaurant were infected with E. coli.  Peppa’s staff disposed of all food items and undertook a deep cleaning of the facility.  The establishment re-opened after a day.

The investigation into the E. coli outbreak found the restaurant’s practice of mixing raw meat and vegetables was likely responsible for cross-contamination.  No E. coli bacteria were found.

Peppa’s King Street restaurant location will become a Japanese restaurant under new ownership and management.  Peppa’s has two other locations in Hawaii that will remain open.

An E. coli outbreak in 2008 briefly closed Sekiya’s, a Japanese restaurant in Kaimuki.  It re-opened after a few weeks, and managed to recover.   Unlike Peppa’s, Sekiya’s owned its land and building.

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