Hard Rock is out of Fashion
Triangle Square is not the only Newport-Mesa shopping center to lose
a longtime tenant in recent days. The Hard Rock Cafe at Fashion
Island called it quits Thursday.
A new tenant is already on tap to replace Newport Beach’s Hard
Rock Cafe. The vacancy left by the rock ‘n’ roll-themed restaurant is
expected to be filled by a new restaurant brand owned by Tampa,
Fla.-based Outback Steakhouse Inc.
The new restaurant could be open in early 2006, Outback
spokeswoman Stephanie Amberg said. She said she was not at liberty to
describe any details about the planned eatery.
One Triangle Square business owner said Tuesday that he was hoping
to fill the vacancy left by Virgin Megastore. Billy Stade, owner of
the Closet, a fashion store that targets hip clientele, said he has
his eye on Virgin’s store space. Virgin Megastore’s planned fall
departure was disclosed Monday.
Whether he is able to expand into the music store’s space or not,
Stade believes the only way someone can succeed at Triangle Square is
to make an emotional investment into their business at the shopping
“No big corporation’s going to go in there,” Stade said. “It has
to come from the community.”
Hard Rock Cafe opened at Fashion Island in 1992. In April, surf
rocker Dick Dale headlined a concert at the restaurant to benefit
Surfaris musician Jim Pash, who needed a liver transplant. Pash died
of liver failure a couple of weeks after the show.
The restaurant was also the scene for Newport Beach Film Festival
events. Film festival director Gregg Shwenk said he was saddened to
hear Hard Rock Cafe was leaving Newport and recalled this year’s
visit by Lord of the Rings cast member Billy Boyd as one of his more
memorable moments at the restaurant.
Before its closure, the Hard Rock Cafe was flanked by two
restaurants, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Roy’s Hawaiian
Fusion Cuisine. Both restaurants are chains that have joint venture
agreements with Outback and have corporate offices at the same
Newport Beach address.
A spokeswoman for Hard Rock Cafe International Inc. referred all
questions about the restaurants closure to a prepared statement
indicating that the corporation decided that keeping its Newport
location running did not fit its long-term plans.
Fashion Island is owned by the Irvine Co., which keeps its
headquarters near the shopping center. Company spokesman Bill Rams
said the Irvine Co. and Hard Rock Cafe reached an agreement to end
the cafe’s lease before it closed.
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