NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Former patrons of a popular Nashville restaurant say owners neglected their health for the sake of sourcing local food, according to three new lawsuits filed in Davidson County this week. 

So far, a total of four lawsuits have been filed against the owners of Milk & Honey after customers say they became sick with salmonella after eating the restaurant’s short rib gnocchi in August 2018.

The restaurant, owned by the Monen Family Restaurant Group, is accused of using unpasteurized eggs in the dish. 

At least 20 confirmed cases were linked to the restaurant on 11th Ave. S. in the Gulch during an investigation by the Metro Nashville Health Dept. 

The lawsuits cite the health department’s report, which allegedly determined that “lack of management oversight” during the preparation of the gnocchi led to food that was “not adequately cooked to destroy pathogens.”

During a recreation of what happened as the health dept. investigated the outbreak, the suit said, “it was learned… frozen, raw gnocchi was pan-seared upon order,” instead of being boiled and was under-cooked by up to 15 degrees. 

According to the lawsuit, owner Taylor Monen, “admittedly knew that the risk of salmonella contamination from eggs and egg products is much higher from small ‘local’ farms […] and that the same are less likely to strictly follow food-handling guidelines or store eggs at proper temperatures.”

The lawsuits also accuse Gravel Ridge Farms, Milk & Honey’s former egg supplier, of being “reckless” and “ignoring federal, state, and local regulations for food safety and handling practices designed to avoid the transmission of food-borne illnesses such as salmonella.” 

The plaintiffs allege negligence and are individually asking for damages up to $1.5 million, a total of up to $6 million. 

According to the health department’s report, the restaurant is no longer using eggs from Gravel Ridge Farms. 

Milk & Honey recently made headlines after their employee, 24-year-old Kyle Yorletts, who was murdered outside his home on Clifton Ave. Five juveniles, ages 12-16, have been charged with criminal homicide in the case. 

News 2 reached out to Monen Family Restaurants for comment. We’ll let you know when they respond.