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Local steak house vacating spot in La Jolla after 15 years

By Troy Johnson

After 15 years of top-shelf Manhattans, tuxedo service and gratis Philly cheesesteaks at happy hour (one of the best happier hour deals in the country), Donovan’s Steakhouse is leaving its spot across from the Westfield UTC mall.

“Donovan’s did not come to terms with the Irvine Company, our landlord,” says spokesperson Alberto Mancero. “For this reason, we will be moving the store to another location. We cannot provide further details about the new location at the moment. We expect the move to happen early in 2015.”

People close to Donovan’s speculate that the San Diego-based concept will relocate into the Prospect area of La Jolla.

The UTC location couldn’t have been easy in the last few years. It wasn’t long ago that mall food was so mediocre and overpriced that top-quality restaurants like Donovan’s could do well setting up shop nearby. But then online retail started draining customers away from brick-and-mortar retail. To counteract that, malls like Fashion Valley, Del Mar Highlands, Flower Hill Promenade and UTC joined the national trend of upgrading their food programs to attract customers.

Over the last few years, UTC has added multiple anchor restaurants like Tender Greens, Seasons 52, Eureka! and Veggie Grill. As malls continue to pull the dining action back to the food court, adjacent restaurants like Donovan’s (and nearby PF Chang’s) will no doubt feel the pinch.

Steak houses, especially, are having a hell of a time. First the economy leapt out the window, grabbing steakhouses on its way out. Then Americans continued to eat less meat. Couple those two with the fact that beef prices are on a vertical climb, and it’s no breeze to sell slabs of elite protein.

Donovan’s still has their locations in Downtown San Diego and Phoenix.

“We thank Donovan’s for their time at The Plaza and wish them continued success in a new location and at their downtown restaurant,” says Michael Lyster, VP of Communications at Irvine Company. “We are working to bring in a fresh, new restaurant that we think will create a buzz with office customers and the community and look forward to sharing details as they come available.”


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