Bandera, one of Sacramento's most popular eateries, is closing its doors — but not because of a rent increase, its landlord insisted.
Bandera's Sacramento location is near Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard in The UV (formerly University Village Shopping Center).
Gary Muljat, managing director of Merlone Geier Partners in Sacramento, said his firm operates the shopping center and did not want Bandera to leave.
"We have made every effort we possibly could to get Bandera to stay at the shopping center," he said. The restaurant is a busy anchor tenant, and Muljat said it's his favorite restaurant in the city. "I hold them in the highest regard," he said.
Bandera likely will serve its last meal in mid-June, an employee at the Southwestern-themed restaurant told The Sacramento Bee this week.
The eatery is part of a national chain owned by the Hillstone Restaurant Group of Beverly Hills. Bandera has California outposts in Brentwood and Corona Del Mar as well as Chicago and Scottsdale, according to Hillstone's website.
The company did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
The Sacramento restaurant's imminent closure stemmed from failed lease negotiations, the employee said.
Muljat said Bandera's owners seemed determined to close their Sacramento location. The rumor that the restaurant was closing because of "landlord greed" is "categorically incorrect," he said.
"They told us early on they weren't interested in a long-term commitment ... (and that) the location was not consistent with the direction they were going in the future," Muljat said. "I don't want to guess what that might mean."
The news disappointed the restaurant's fans.
Good service and dishes such as the house-smoked salmon, butternut squash enchiladas and a rib-eye steak with a pineapple-soy-ginger marinade have made Bandera a highly trafficked destination.
One Sacramento resident, real estate agent Tim Collom, was trying to garner support on social media to keep Bandera open.
"It’s been rumored for a couple weeks that (Bandera), a Sacramento institution, is closing its doors," Collom wrote on Instagram. "The employees were notified recently that it’s happening as soon as next month due to a large rent increase.
"I just don’t understand how a restaurant that is an absolute cash cow with hour plus wait times will leave Sac. The employees are awesome and the food is incredibly consistent. Let’s (save Bandera)," he wrote.
The Bee's Benjy Egel is launching a new effort to cover Sacramento's dining and beer scene. Please send tips and story ideas by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @BenjyEgel or by phone at (916) 321-1052.