Cross-contamination of drinking water with salmonella bacteria from a poultry pen was the likely cause of a disease outbreak that has closed the Dinnerbell restaurant since early August, reports the Missoulian.

The Dinnerbell Bakery and Banquets is a popular Amish restaurant near St. Ignatius that features traditional American cuisine such as baked chicken and gravy, corn on the cob, fresh-baked bread and homemade pie. The food is served family-style, with patrons seated side-by-side at banquet tables in one large room in an Amish farm setting.

At least 19 people experienced gastrointestinal distress severe enough to seek medical attention and were diagnosed with food poisoning caused by salmonella.

A state DEQ water-quality specialist from Kalispell inspected the site after local health officials targeted water as the likely source of contamination. The inspection found an illegally installed cross-connection in the plumbing system that could have allowed backflow of water supplying a poultry pen on the farm with water plumbed and piped to the restaurant.

Dinnerbell owner Glen Hochstetler said Monday that an engineer hired to design a water treatment system for the restaurant was scheduled to visit Monday afternoon, and the Dinnerbell would reopen as soon as the system is approved by state officials and installed.