UPDATE: Fleming's Steakhouse Set to Reopen Friday

County health officials cleared the restaurant to open after a norovirus outbreak forced the restaurant to close on Wednesday.

UPDATE, 3:30 p.m.: Fleming's Steakhouse will open Friday at 5 p.m. after getting a clean bill from the health department. 

Original Post: County health officials closed Fleming's Steakhouse in Walnut Creek Wednesday after confirming that the restaurant was the source of a norovirus outbreak that had made several diners ill earlier in the week. 

The restaurant was closed all Thursday, and health officials were investigating Friday morning to see if the restaurant could open later in the day, according to Erika Jenssen, Contra Costa Public Heath communicable disease programs chief.

Jenssen said that the department inspected Fleming's after receiving reports of illness from several people who had eaten there Monday and Tuesday. An employee at the restaurant tested positive for norovirus. 

In January, a deli in Concord was closed because of norovirus, and a school in Lafayette also suffered an outbreak of the highly contagious gastrointestinal illness. It often circulates during winter months, but can cause illness throughout the year, according to an information page on the website of Contra Costa Health Services.

Dive Turn Work February 08, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Totes scury and icky.
Chris Nicholson February 08, 2013 at 07:14 PM
I love that place. If they offer me 1/3 off, I will eat there tonight with my family. Best >$50/plate steak place around, IMHO. Norovirus can strike anywhere. They deserved the closure and should tighten up their education/hygene, but I'm not putting them on my blacklist just yet.
Dive Turn Work February 08, 2013 at 07:28 PM
In all seriousness, now's probably the time to go. They're probably going to be extra vigilant and very eager to please returning customers.
Patrick J. McNamara February 08, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Exactly my thoughts. It will be hard to find a more thoroughly scrubbed, inspected and accommodating eatery in the Bay Area today. Reservations may finally be easy to get....for a few days anyway.
Douglas Home February 08, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Do they charge extra for a side of Norovirus, too?
Maureen Williams February 08, 2013 at 11:00 PM
I don't know what storefront that first picture is, but it isn't the Fleming's on Mt. Diablo in Walnut Creek...
Leonard Vinci February 09, 2013 at 04:35 AM
Mr. Nicholson you should have you head examined....$50/plate Steak . You are obviously the new money folks...good strong old money folks have a much more since of responsibility in their life. You people have an attitude as easy come easy go. Very self centered. $50.00 steak dinner...get a life
Chris Nicholson February 09, 2013 at 04:52 AM
@Leonard: ??? I'm not sure if you are saying my estimate of $50 is too high or too low. I was just thinking meat+potato. With a salad and a decent cab, tax & tip, it wold be hard to get out of there for <$175/couple. And the place is packed with people who don't appear to be East Coast characters off the pages of Great Gatsby. If paying that much for a meal (even on a special occasion) is offensive, then don't go. It's a free country (for now).
Leonard Vinci February 09, 2013 at 04:58 AM
By the way just another note regarding Fleming and Norovirus. When we were kids and complained about not enough food on the table or that we had too many veg's that my mom prepared for the family...My dad always said...be happy you have food on the table. and remember you will eat sh** if it's flavored right. I hope Flemings get their cheap labor problems resolved...maybe they should put signs in different languages in their restrooms
Dive Turn Work February 09, 2013 at 05:59 AM
Paging Bitter, party of one.
Valerie Sloven February 09, 2013 at 06:53 AM
@Maureen: I think you are mistaken. I have never eaten at Fleming's but I have driven by a hundred times and it looks like Fleming's on Mt. Diablo to me.
Dive Turn Work February 09, 2013 at 07:07 AM
The picture has been updated since Maureen's comment.
Jeff Donofrio February 09, 2013 at 08:26 AM
Just to let you all know I was there tonight and it was packed and it was a guest who brought the norovirus in. This could happen anywhere, from anywhere. Very clean and the staff was very honest about the situation.
Dive Turn Work February 09, 2013 at 02:56 PM
Gotta agree with Chris. Although I'm usually more of a fan of Ruth Chris, but only because I can get to its valet from the street whereas with Flemings I have to reach the valet by driving into the parking deck. If Flemings had on street valet I'd venture there more often.
Dive Turn Work February 09, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Bingo. It happens. It's happened on cruise ships with some frequency. However, I don't let that keep me from my 2 annual trips aboard a cruise ship. Life is about chances. If you want no risk, move into a bubble and never leave your home.
Patrick J. McNamara February 09, 2013 at 05:13 PM
I don't know what cheap labor you mean. My son works there and is thrilled with his job, and takes great pride in his service to guests. I wish I made the money he makes when I was 25--even adjusted for inflation. It's the kind of work that rewards on the merit system. Dive Turn Work: Good one. You just beat Hemingway's six-word story by one word.
Fleming patron February 09, 2013 at 10:50 PM
How do they know it was a guest who brought it in???? I was there Tuesday night and my friend got deathly sick!!!!!! Luckily I didn't but noted to a coworker the next morning the food didn't really agree with me. Proper handwashing is key for food service workers !!!! How could that possibly be brought in by a patron.
Patrick J. McNamara February 10, 2013 at 01:21 AM
I don't know for sure how they eliminated staff as the cause, but my guess is that staff who worked during a given time frame are identifiable and tested by the health department, and so, easily eliminated or identified as a possible source of the virus. What happened at Fleming's is no different than if I showed up to your house party with the flu, coughed on my hands and touched all of your doorknobs. Other guests in your home would inevitably contract the virus. When the outbreak was reported at Fleming's, they took the initiative to throw away just about anything that could not be bleached and power washed, and scoured every square inch of the restaurant, from head to toe with disinfectant, as well as replaced their entire food inventory. They can't control the state of health of those who enter their restaurant, but I'd be willing to bet that Fleming's is currently more sterile than a hospital.
lovelafayette February 11, 2013 at 06:09 PM
Noro viruses requires discarding any food prepared or served by patient, quarantine, sanitize dishes and linens, handwashing, chlorine bleach based cleaning product left on hard surfaces for one minute. NO food handling if you know you have been exposed/ during symptom phase/continued for 3 days after all symptoms are gone. The virus can be spread by someone with no symptoms, so knowing if staff or customer was the Fleming's index case is not possible. Norovirus is not an indicator of an unclean restaurant, it literally could be one customer who touched one door knob once! I have always been surprised that restaurants are not required to have seperate staff bathrooms, this is not a respiratory virus but gets on hands and airborne from vomit and feces. The sick leave, disinfection and lost business is a huge expense for any restaurant. I agree with Patrick, this is as clean as this restaurant will ever be! Take home message : SICK? STAY HOME FOR THE ENTIRE QUARANTINE period, and keep your bugs out of schools and businesses!


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