Firefly owner enlists new PR firm after salmonella outbreak

Firefly Tapas Kitchen & Bar on Paradise Road sits closed Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

John Simmons, the embattled owner of Firefly Tapas Restaurant & Bar, has hired a new public relations firm to represent his restaurant.

The Ferraro Group on Wednesday announced it would replace Purdue Marion & Associates. The PR firm’s client list includes Apple, NV Energy, the Nevada Resort Association and JPMorgan Chase.

Simmons was not immediately available to comment on the switch.

The move comes less than a month after a salmonella outbreak prompted the Southern Nevada Health District to close Simmons’ Firefly restaurant on Paradise road.

Health officials said more than 200 people from 20 states and two foreign countries got sick from salmonella after eating at the restaurant.

“At least 196 patrons and 4 employees who consumed food and/or drinks at Firefly restaurant during April 21-26, 2013 have been determined to be confirmed or probable cases of Salmonella infection,” a report released by the Southern Nevada Health District said.

The Health District closed Firefly after discovering 44 health code violations, three more than the minimum needed to close the restaurant.

Employees handled food with bare, unwashed hands and stored ingredients, including meat, at improper temperatures, Health District officials said.

Inspectors also found a thermometer that read 100 degrees, despite being submerged in ice water.

Although Health District inspectors collected numerous food samples to test for the salmonella source, it still was unclear what caused patrons to get sick.

Simmons has said he has no intentions to reopen the Firefly location on Paradise, because he wants to move ahead with plans that were already in place to open a new restaurant down the street at the end of the month.