POSTED: 7:04 p.m. HST, Apr 15, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 1:58 p.m. HST, Apr 16, 2014
HENDERSON, Nev. >> Owners of a popular tapas chain with three locations in the Las Vegas area announced Tuesday they would close a branch that recently received a bad evaluation from health inspectors.
John and Tabitha Simmons announced they would shut down the Firefly restaurant on Eastern Avenue in Henderson, while trying to absorb laid-off employees at other sites.
"We based our decision on changing demands and market competition at the locations where our restaurants are located," the Simmonses said in a statement. "Although a difficult one, this decision will enable us to sharpen our focus on our two highest-performing Firefly locations."
They said they also want to focus on new eatery in the works called Tacos & Beer.
The announcement came two weeks after the Henderson restaurant received 38 demerits and a 'C' grade during a health inspection. The score was three demerits short of the number that would prompt an automatic closure.
A follow-up inspection by the Southern Nevada Health District yielded eight demerits and restored an 'A' grade.
The trendy chain, which draws rave reviews on the website Yelp for its sangria and dishes such as bacon-wrapped dates, suffered a major publicity hit last spring when it was linked to a large salmonella outbreak.
Nearly 300 people reported food poisoning after eating at the Firefly restaurant on Paradise Road. Epidemiologists tied the outbreak to chorizo and said it was likely cross-contaminated in the restaurant itself.