Popular restaurant in Ballard closed after E. coli outbreak

SEATTLE – A 16-year-old girl is one of 10 people recovering from E. coli infection after some ate at a popular restaurant in Seattle's Ballard restaurant.

The Seattle and King County Health Department shut down The Matador restaurant last week after it found five people with the same strain of E. coli were ill after eating there. Five other people outside of King County came forward, with only one of them saying they ate at The Matador.

“Just walking by one day and (thinking), oh, I’ll get some nachos or something,” said Ballard resident Damon Delvechio.

But not today.

Delvechio said won’t be dining at one of his favorite spots after an E. coli outbreak linked to The Matador.

“Our clients have significant medical bill;  the adults have wage loss. They’re all been through a profoundly miserable illness,” said Bruce Clark, a lawyer for Marler Clark.

Clark is now representing three clients, including a 16-year-old girl who was hospitalized and needed a number of blood transfusion after becoming anemic and suffering from kidney failure.

The health department said  it all came from this Ballard location. “We found there was the potential for cross contamination based on inadequate cleaning of food processing machines and there was inadequate cleaning of some produce.”

Tuesday night, we saw a floor cleaning crew coming in and out.  Q13 News was told there was another person inside the building cleaning the restaurant itself.

Clark said restaurants that use fresh ingredients imported from around the world are at the highest risk for bacteria.  We’ve seen this before with large chains like Chipotle just recently.

“It’s a real problem for restaurants and retailers who have to be really careful about where they get their foods from and are they taking all precautions necessary,” said Clark.

The health department is also looking at a possible supplier who could be to blame.

“The number of cases identified is usually just a fraction of the actual cases out there,” said Clark.

Despite it all, Delvechio can’t wait to eat here again.

“Usually after something like this. they’re 10 times more clean ... than they were before, so usually that’s the best time to come,” said Delvechio.