GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - After being shut down by the State Department of Health, a well-known Gulfport restaurant has reopened.
It's been a rough few days for the owners of Captain Al's Steak and Shrimp on Lorraine Rd. On Jan. 3, the health department ordered the restaurant to close after an estimated 40 people got sick.
The health department said the illnesses reportedly happened between Dec. 16 and Dec. 28. E. coli is the suspected culprit.
Owner Stacey Magnusen took to Facebook and posted this apology:
Hundreds of people commented on the closing and the apology. Many of the posts had harsh words for the restaurant.
Magnusen declined to do an interview on camera with WLOX News Now. She told us she's upset with the media coverage of this story, but the facts are 40 people reported getting sick after eating at the restaurant back in December and the health department did close Capt. Al's on Jan. 3.
The health department gave the green light to reopen Wednesday. When they opened at 11 a.m., some longtime diners turned out to show their support.
"It's very important, because this is an institution. This is a well-known and established place. If he had not have had trouble, I'd be here today," said Fred Fayard.
"These things happen. Humans make errors. Maybe it was that. We don't really know. We've always gotten good food here and have enjoyed coming," Laura Slade said.
Capt. Al's was about half full 30 minutes after reopening. The illness is serious, and the health department doesn't take closing a restaurant lightly. It remains to be seen if the restaurant recovers from this episode.
The department of health said the reopening is an ongoing process with more inspections to come.