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Columbia Center restaurant with 50 employees is closing

The P.F. Chang's China Bistro restaurant at Columbia Center in Kennewick is scheduled to permanently close on Jan. 21. The 230-seat restaurant at Columbia Center employs 50.
The P.F. Chang's China Bistro restaurant at Columbia Center in Kennewick is scheduled to permanently close on Jan. 21. The 230-seat restaurant at Columbia Center employs 50. Tri-City Herald

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro will close its Kennewick restaurant on Jan. 21.

The restaurant at Columbia Center employs about 50. It was one of the mall’s first freestanding restaurants when it was built in 2007 at 8108 W. Gage Blvd.

Local employees confirmed the 230-seat restaurant will close but referred further questions to the company’s corporate offices in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The company issued a statement Wednesday saying its employees are eligible to transfer to other company locations and will be paid for 60 days after the Kennewick restaurant closes.

“It has been our pleasure serving guests for the last 10 years at our Kennewick location, however, our lease has expired and we will be closing on Jan. 21,” the statement said.

P.F. Chang’s operates about 40 percent of its locations in or near shopping malls. It caters to an educated clientele that increasingly cares about the quality and source of its food, CEO Michael Osanloo said in an interview with CNBS last August.

In the same interview, Osanloo said the mall locations were performing as well as it more independent spots, suggesting its customers were willing to drive to shopping center for its Asian influenced cuisine.

Columbia Center sold the land where P.F. Chang’s was built about 10 years ago and is not its owner. Nevertheless, Barbara Johnson, the mall’s manager, said the restaurant will be missed.

“I’m disappointed,” she said.

P.F. Chang’s made an interesting local connection last summer when it teamed with Walla Walla’s Browne Family Vineyards in its first foray into the wine business. The partnership created two wines available only at P.F. Chang’s locations.

The company has been owned by Centerbridge Partners, a multibillion dollar investment firm with offices in New York and London that purchased it in a deal valued at $1.1 billion in 2012.

It operates 216 units in the U.S. and 66 international locations in 19 countries, including Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Argentina, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. The company does not franchise, meaning all its restaurants are company owned.

The Kennewick closure leaves four locations in Washington and three in Oregon. The nearest spot is in Spokane.

Wendy Culverwell: 509-582-1514, @WendyCulverwell

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