Mall at UTC

YO! Sushi closes at Mall at University Town Center

Yo! Sushi has closed at The Mall at University Town Center, making it the first restaurant to close its doors since the mall opened in October 2014.
Yo! Sushi has closed at The Mall at University Town Center, making it the first restaurant to close its doors since the mall opened in October 2014. Herald file photo

YO! Sushi has closed at The Mall at University Town Center, becoming the first restaurant to close in the shopping center since it opened in October 2014.

The United Kingdom-based business opened its first location in Soho, London, in 1997 and quickly spread.

Now, at least 100 of its fast-casual restaurants operate around the world, according to the company’s website.

YO! Sushi opened in April 2015, roughly six months after UTC’s grand opening in late 2014. The restaurant’s Japanese-inspired colorful plates included soups, sushi, rice and noodle dishes that were served up on conveyor belts, making it a popular draw among shoppers.

But it wasn’t quite popular enough, according to the mall’s marketing manager, Lauren Clark.

While shoppers noticed the space boarded up on Monday, the 1,800-square-foot restaurant officially closed on Dec. 31, when its lease ended, Clark said.

The mall chose not to renew the lease.

“There are thresholds in place in our leases to make sure that we have good performing stores,” Clark said, “and when they aren’t met, then it’s time to close.”

Clark says the year-end leases give the mall the chance to evaluate performance and then offer customers new and exciting stores and restaurants, should it be time to move on.

The shopping center plans to make an announcement on what will replace the restaurant in the next few weeks.

During the transition, UTC shoppers still have several restaurants to choose from including Brio Tuscan Grille, The Cheesecake Factory, Kona Grill, The Capital Grille and Seasons 52.

Samantha Putterman: 941-745-7027, @samputterman

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