Mexican restaurant closes steakhouse may move in

Increased competition hurt Plata Grande on Route 175

July 16, 1998|By Dana Hedgpeth | Dana Hedgpeth,SUN STAFF

After more than a decade, Plata Grande and Margarita Maggie's, a Mexican restaurant and bar on Route 175 in Columbia, has closed its doors.

Carrollton Enterprises of Beltsville, the owners of the restaurant, said yesterday that they are in negotiations with a steak and seafood restaurant to lease the 17,000-square-foot building off Dobbin Center Way.

Officials say the interior of the building will undergo some renovations before reopening. They are unsure when it will reopen.

Over the last year, the chain has closed its other locations in Richmond, Va., Ocean City, Annapolis and Calverton, as the management company has focused more on the shopping centers it runs in Prince George's County. The Columbia restaurant closed two weeks ago.

Although Carrollton Enterprises officials say the Columbia restaurant was not losing significant money, they conceded that sales have dropped as more competition came into the area.

When the restaurant opened in 1986, it was one of the first restaurants along Route 175, Columbia's main thoroughfare. In the last year, several big chain restaurants such as Don Pablo's, Macaroni Grill and Red River have opened, adding more competition.

"When you're not the new guy in town and you get inundated with four or five restaurants in the last 18 months, you're going to suffer," said Jeff Metzger, publisher of Food World, a Columbia-based trade journal. "That's a ton of competition."

Mark Millman, president of Millman Search Group, a Lutherville-based retail consulting firm, said: "For them [Carrollton Enterprises], this may be the best thing to do. You cut your losses and lease it to somebody else. Everybody's chasing the customer and the same dollar. You either have to get really big and expand or you go away."

Pub Date: 7/16/98

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