Piret's to Close on March 14 at Costa Mesa

Times Staff Writer

The Piret's restaurant at South Coast Plaza will discontinue operations on March 14, according to Vicorp Specialty Restaurants President Thomas W. Doan.

South Coast Plaza has not determined whether to continue operating the restaurant under the Piret's name or replace it with another restaurant, a mall spokesman said.

San Diego-based VSR has also sold its Piret's restaurant in the Mission Hills area of San Diego to Jeanne Driscoll, the restaurant company's director of marketing, the company said last week.

The South Coast Plaza closing and the Mission Hills sale are part of a flurry of activity that has enveloped the chain, which once included seven restaurants. Late last year, VSR closed its Grossmont Center restaurant in La Mesa and shuttered a commissary in Rose Canyon. Restaurant founders George and Piret Munger recently bought back the La Jolla and Encinitas Piret's they sold to VSR less than three years ago. VSR last month reopened its downtown San Diego Piret's location as a Boathouse Grill.

VSR gave no indication as to the fate of its Piret's restaurant in Beverly Hills.

Last week's announcement means that at least three companies will be using the Piret's name. The Mungers have been using the name at their La Jolla and Encinitas restaurants. Driscoll said she plans to keep the Piret's name at the Mission Hills location, and VSR still calls the Beverly Hills restaurant Piret's.

The sudden proliferation of independently owned Piret's restaurants "hopefully will be a temporary phenomenon," said Marshall Lewis, the Mungers' attorney.

VSR, which operates 63 other restaurants, initiated the sales and closings because the chain has appealed "to a relatively narrow market segment," Doan said. VSR now will focus on its "faster-growing" beef and seafood restaurants, he said.

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