Local News

Durham officials to show support for restaurant

Posted May 6, 2010
Updated May 7, 2010

— Local chefs and Durham leaders plan to meet for lunch Friday at Bullock's Barbecue in a show of support for the restaurant, which has seen business drop off after an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness last month, officials said.

The Durham County Health Department investigated food preparation and storage at Bullock's after 15 people were sickened there. Seven people were hospitalized for dehydration because of vomiting and diarrhea.

Health department Director Gayle Harris said Thursday that tests found Salmonella bacteria in foods containing egg. No violations were found in Bullock's food handling practices, facilities or employees, she said.

Bullock's is a Durham institution that serves walk-in customers and has a booming catering business. Vice President Joe Biden ate at the restaurant in March during a visit to the Triangle.

The restaurant's business is down about 80 percent since the outbreak, said Sam Poley, spokesman for the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau. Officials and other restaurateurs want to show the public that eating at Bullock's is safe, he said.


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  • homefree May 11, 2010

    Bullock's has a long time reputation of being a clean establishment. I'm not sure who is responsible for the Salmonella. I do know when something gets catered to a group there are many factors that effect the food. If they cater the food and the customer lets it sit the food can go bad. I would love to get the whole story and not just where the food came from. Someone is to blame and the health department needs to find out. I don't think throwing Bullock's under the bus is right. I'm also sick of seeing people making up there own conclusions with out any facts. Don't speculate unless you know the true facts. I look forward to eating at Bullock's on Friday.

  • Pleeeezzzeee May 10, 2010

    Interesting what the DCVB thinks is important to rally behind. Makes you wonder if the DCVB has free catering for life!

  • Pleeeezzzeee May 10, 2010

    I think it is very interesting that every article I read or see about this incident the owners of Bullocks seems to keep blaming everyone else.

    Mr. Bullock states “that things happen out of your control”, “he does not know what he could of done differently” & oh I love this one…lets blame it now on the supplier. “Now he states Bullocks has Stopped using pasteurized egg whites from a supplier… Bullocks need to take full responsibility.

    In another article Mr. Bullock states…It's a bad time for me," "I've been in business 58 years, have a good name, good reputation." BOOOHOOO… I am sure the people that were hospitalized thought it was a bad time for them to be sick too.

    According to the Herald news over 55 people called the health department after getting sick from eating at Bullocks. This is not even including the individuals that were hospitalized.

    By the way the test results from Bullocks are back and are positive for Salmonella.

    Interesting what th

  • lcdrbradcook May 10, 2010

    From reading the articles & comments, and reading about the "show of support" from the community, I believe that there is one missing factor: responsibility. The comments get personal, the community worries if Bullock's will be in business, and Tommy cries on the night the community rallies around him. Who, then, is responsible? Did anyone from Bullock's reach out to the affected? Have the integrity to make a call to say "i don't know what happened, but it's my restaurant and I am responsible?" No. The only public statement came in the form of damage control, saying how clean & safe the restaurant is- a clear effort to protect the profit. Passing the buck and blaming others is irrelevant. I was with 2 of the victims in the hospital- 2 weeks later, they're still recovering & all we read is business "damage control." they're lives were interupted, their finances impacted & their bodies drained. I am shocked at the lack of compassion & integrity Bullocks has displayed towards the victims.

  • carolinaswthrt272 May 7, 2010

    i don't have a problem w/ Tommy Bullock. I grew up on going to Bullocks almost every weekend. I do know that the last time I was in there, their kitchen area was nasty, and yes, I have seen the kitchen, and yes, I did see someone peeling lemons w/ a pocket knife. And, the official word from the health department hasn't come back yet. The results of the samples given by those that got sick are still out. I'm just saying that when it takes almost a week for something to get investigated, there's a lot of time in there to get things cleaned up and in order.

  • 4drm May 7, 2010

    I was there today and will continue to support Bullock's. They are an institution in Durham. We may never know what happened, but we do know this: 1) Bullock's cooperated fully with the health department's investigation 2) the health department found NO violations in the food, the preparation of the food by staff or the processes used 3) if the salmonella came from a product that Bullock's purchased, then that, but by the grace of God, could have happened to ANY restaurant and finally 4) in 58 years Bullock's has never had a health rating of less than an A. Keep up the good work. And we'll see you tomorrow.

  • bonnie4612 May 6, 2010

    It sounds to me like carolinaswthrt272 just has a problem with Tommy Bullock and this is their way to vent. I worked at Bullock's and eat there too. Food is shipped in, vegetables come in from different places and you don't know what has contamined it that water cant clean off. This is not the first time people have gotten sick from a restaurant, but it seems this is the first time people have trashed the place. And to the one that kept getting sick from their food, why do you keep going back? Are you stupid or do you just enjoy throwing up? Nobody was trying to sweep anything under the rug. It always takes time for things like this to hit the news. The restaurant is clean and has ALWAYS maintained a grade A rating from the health department. Have you been back there to the kitching? If you haven't then you don't have any business talking. And Mr. Bullock doesn't need to apologize to anybody because he didn't get up that morning and say to himself "well, I think I'll try to kill some p

  • gingerlynn May 6, 2010

    chiefette - what did you eat and on whay day?

  • gingerlynn May 6, 2010

    My husband was there that Saturday. He had barbeque and brunswick stew and was FINE. must have been something else

  • carolinaswthrt272 May 6, 2010

    i beg to differ. The larger group of these people that got sick ate their food within 15 minutes of picking it up from Bullocks. So it's not like the food was sitting out overnight or anything. They ate it immediately upon getting it.