Bandera may be on its last legs in The UV shopping center, but its parent company isn't necessarily finished with the Sacramento area.
Hillstone Restaurant Group, which owns Bandera in Sacramento and 46 other restaurant sites across 12 states, told The Sacramento Bee in a statement Wednesday it was looking at other sites within the region.
"While it is not easy for us to close any restaurant, disappoint our guests of many years and disrupt our loyal staff, we will be considering alternate locations in the Sacramento area," the company wrote.
Merlone Geier Partners managing partner Gary Muljat, whose firm operates The UV at Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard, said Tuesday that Bandera's owners were determined to leave the shopping center. Hillstone Restaurant Group told Merlone Geier months ago that it wasn't interested in committing to The UV for an extended period of time, Muljat said.
Muljat also rebuffed a rumor that Merlone Geier drove away one of Sacramento's most popular restaurants by attempting to hike Bandera's rent. On Wednesday, Hillstone fired back.
"We have had an ongoing good faith (dialogue) with our Lessor, both two years ago and now leading up to this decision. We engaged with them," Hillstone wrote in the statement. "From an economic perspective, it was not viable for Bandera to incur a substantial rental increase which is something the Lessor was seeking. All restaurants operate with thin profit margins and Bandera in Sacramento is no exception."
"We respect the ownership of The UV shopping center but we have to acknowledge that we have different perspectives on the vision for the center, what is acceptable in terms of economics and Bandera’s value at the center."
Formerly known as University Village Shopping Center, The UV houses more than 20 stores and restaurants, including Zocalo, Buckhorn Grill and Aji Japanese Bistro. Merlone Geier acquired the 84,000-square-foot center in 2014 and gave it a new name after a $15 million renovation that began in 2016.
Bandera will close sometime in mid-June, according to a company spokeswoman.
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.