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Merle’s: City Was Wrong About Food Illness Outbreak Source

The owner of Merle’s Barbecue is speaking out against the City of Evanston.

is asking the city to retract a press release from Feb. 25

A spokesman for the restaurant said the city sent out the release without solid evidence that Merle's was to blame. He said the restaurant served the same food that was brought to the school at their restaurant the same night and heard no reports of illness.

"We’re trying to make good on our name," said Spokesman Scott Anderson. "We’re trying to clear up our reputation and we’re trying to let people know that the city screwed up."

Anderson said the restaurant has seen a decline in business ever since news of the outbreak hit the media.

Larry Huber, owner of Merle’s, said in a press release that the city accused Merle's of the outbreak before any solid evidence was available.

"The Evanston Health Department told me that none of the samples removed from Merle’s tested positive for any foodborne illness of any kind," Huber said.

The restaurant did not actually cater the event, they only delivered the food. Therefore, Anderson said, the school was responsible for safe handling of the meat after it arrived at Haven.

He said he is not sure what kind of action the restaurant will take against the city, but said he wants people to know that Merle's is a safe place to eat.

Shortly after news of the outbreak came out,

City of Evanston Community Information Coordinator Eric Palmer said he has seen Merle's statement but the city has no comment on the issue at this time.

Deborah Krueger March 05, 2011 at 02:37 AM
Our family used to eat at Merle's and were rather frequent diners. Within the past year or two, their food lacks quality from before. Strangely, during one visit a few months ago to the restaurant, our family of 4 had upset stomachs. Also, do NOT order for delivery! Tbey have mixed up orders (delivering our order to someone else and we got someone else's order!), have been very late in their orders, etc. We have lost our interest in EVER eating there again....we are Evanston residents!
Emmanuel Slefo March 07, 2011 at 06:03 PM
I can't believe this?!?! Good to know!

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