Warwick restaurant owner alerts public, apologizes for norovirus outbreak

Sam Khouri, who owns Sam's Inn at 2227 West Shore Road in Warwick, is apologizing to customers regarding a recent norovirus outbreak. (WJAR)

A restaurant in Warwick is apologizing to customers regarding a recent norovirus outbreak.

Sam's Inn, which is located on 2227 West Shore Road, made the announcement on Facebook Thursday night.

NBC 10 News later reached out to the restaurant's owner, Sam Khouri, who confirmed the information that was posted on social media.

"We cleaned up everything in this building, including the chairs, the tables (and) all the hard surfaces," Khouri told NBC 10. "We're doing everything humanly possible to correct and move forward."

Khouri also made a public apology to the community on social media.

"To any and every customer who got sick after eating in our restaurant, we are deeply saddened and sincerely sorry that this happened," he wrote.

Khouri went on to note that their salad bar "was exposed to norovirus through human contact" during the weekend of January 20.

"Neither we, nor the health department, were able to determine exactly how this happened, especially with the national epidemic of illness and viruses plaguing our state and country right now," Khouri said.

Khouri also defended the integrity of the establishment, adding that they did not "recklessly" continue to serve customers knowing that there was a problem.

"We were not aware of any issues until Wednesday, January 24th when we received several phone calls and messages from our customers," Khouri said. "This is also the same day the health department came to inspect our facility. While a number of health violations were found, we corrected all of them immediately, and continue to work with the health department to ensure the safety and sanitation of our restaurant. Had the health department determined we needed to close to address these issues, we certainly would have."

Khouri said they changed several policies and procedures, as well as hired a food health and safety expert that will help them in the upcoming weeks.

We do understand that people are upset that they" got sick. We are truly devastated that something like this could happen at Sam’s Inn," Khouri said. "We have spent years of tireless commitment and hard work building our business, establishing trust and respect within our community. We absolutely do not take that for granted and we’ll redouble our efforts to ensure that trust is well placed."

Khouri said the restaurant re-opened on Friday, with a large crowd dining in. He apprecates the support of his loyal customers.

"To the entire community and beyond, you have our deepest and most sincere apologies," he said. "Our mission has and always will be to provide the highest standards of quality, value and safety to every single person who enters our building."

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