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House of Prime Rib fans are clamoring for canceled tables after food poisoning allegations

3 min read

It turns out not even news of potential foodborne illness will stop some people from wanting a King Henry cut with creamed spinach at the House of Prime Rib.

After the iconic San Francisco restaurant admitted Tuesday that its namesake meat may have been linked to reports of people getting sick after eating there, some patrons have canceled their reservations, but just as many are booking new ones, owner Joe Betz said Wednesday.

House of Prime Rib’s page on reservation website OpenTable shows that the restaurant received hundreds of new bookings as of Wednesday afternoon, though OpenTable didn’t confirm across what time period or the total number at the time of publication. Prior to the food illness allegations, the restaurant had been booked up solid for months since it reopened for indoor dining.

“Somebody cancels; two people call,” Betz said. “We still have the same amount of people.”

Diners also took to social media to profess their undeterred love for House of Prime Rib. “There could be a 50% chance of me dying at hopr and I’d still go,” one person wrote on the restaurant’s most recent Instagram post. In the post, the establishment said it had received another visit from the city’s Department of Public Health Tuesday night and been cleared for the second time in two months. A spokesperson confirmed to The Chronicle that inspectors did not find any violations Tuesday.

One difference those with new reservations should know: Betz said Wednesday that he will no longer be refunding people who say they got sick, as his staff investigates the source of the recent complaints. He’s doubtful that all the online reports are coming from people who actually dined at the restaurant, he said.

“We are not refunding anymore until we figure out exactly what’s going on,” he said.

Reports of people getting sick after eating at the restaurant first surfaced on the crowdsourced website iwaspoisoned.com in early April, and then on Facebook group Bay Area Eats and on House of Prime Rib’s Yelp page. While the Bay Area Eats page is full of diners sharing stories of getting sick, many others came to the restaurant’s defense — or were scouting for people wanting to give up their reservations.

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