When an Illinois woman ordered a lasagna at a restaurant in the suburbs, she didn’t expect her meal to come with a side of “tortious conduct.” But she probably didn’t expect that her lunch order would eventually require an attorney, either. According to a lawsuit filed last week, when Theresa Thomas touched Osteria Ottimo’s lasagna with a fork, “piping hot marinara sauce” allegedly squirted out of the dish and scalded her left hand. She is now seeking $50,000 in damages from the Orland Park, IL eatery.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Thomas’ problems—and the restaurant’s “tortious conduct”—began almost immediately after the lasagna arrived. “[Thomas] placed her left hand in her lap, picked up a fork with her right hand and touched the tower of layered pasta, meat, cheese and marinara sauce with the fork,” her lawsuit says. So far, so good.
But when she forked the dish, “without warning, piping hot marinara sauce shot from the lasagna and onto Theresa’s left hand, scalding the skin and causing a large burn.” Thomas’ attorney says that since the early December incident, she has endured great pain, medical expenses, and mental anguish, a combination that has prevented her from returning to work.
The lawsuit describes Osteria Ottimo as being careless and negligent, both for serving such a dangerously hot dish, and for failing to warn Thomas that the hazardous lasagna had the power to seriously wound or disfigure her. In addition, it alleges that the kitchen or waitstaff were not properly trained to “serve cooler food.”
According to Osteria Ottimo’s menu, it currently only serves its $14.99 lasagna on Thursday nights, which is designated as “Lasagna Night.” Previous restaurant customers have given mixed reviews to that particular meal on Yelp and Tripadvisor: some loved the flavor and the generous portion size, others thought it had too much cheese or were just confused why an Italian restaurant wouldn’t offer lasagna every night.
None of the reviewers commented on whether their portion was topped with the same molten lava that Thomas allegedly received (although one woman did say that the waiter used a “piece of torn menu” to pick up the hot dish, a practice she found to be “unappetizing.”)
Danger: It lurks at every corner—and even in a pile of saucy, cheesy pasta.