Downtown Tacoma restaurant closed after diners report illnesses

The Melting Pot restaurant in downtown Tacoma was shut down by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Friday afternoon after several people reported getting sick after dining there.

The health department took action after receiving a call from a diner Friday morning and a notification from the restaurant food safety site iwaspoisoned.com.

It appears that all of the sickened diners ate meat at the restaurant on Dec. 23, said Christina Sherman, an environmental health specialist with the health department’s food safety program. Diners reported vomiting and diarrhea.

“Vomiting and diarrhea are the trademark signs (of foodborne illness),” Sherman said. “They don’t necessarily have to be together. It could be one or the other.”

Despite interviewing several of the diners, Sherman has been unable to identify the culprit.

“We do not know the actual pathogen,” she said. “We have to go forward with an abundance of caution for the guests that will be dining there over New Year’s weekend.”

Sherman and health department spokesman Steve Metcalf said the restaurant will be closed for a standard 24 hours to allow for an investigation and cleaning.

The restaurant, which is part of a region chain of fondue restaurants, is located at 2121 Pacific Avenue in Tacoma. Other locations include Seattle and Bellevue.

Diners can order a variety of foods ranging from vegetables to meat that can be cooked in oil or broth.

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541, @crsailor

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