The Ritz gets a longer lease

The Ritz Restaurant in Newport Beach will stay open until June 2013, a managing partner confirmed Friday.

The Irvine Co. granted the more than 30-year-old upscale restaurant an additional six months on its Fashion Island lease, which was set to expire January 2013, managing partner Ray Jacobi said.

"It gives us a little more breathing room to look for new location," he said.

While no new areas have been identified yet, Jacobi would like to keep the restaurant local.

"We thought of being outside of Newport Beach," Jacobi said. "But, after 35 years here and being part of the fabric of the community, we want to take the Ritz to the next generation here and remain in our own neighborhood."

The Irvine Co. is looking to fill the space with a fitness center and a cafe, according to Daily Pilot archives.

"We celebrate the role the Ritz has played in Newport Beach," Irvine Co. spokeswoman Erin Freeman wrote in a statement in October. "As we look to reinvest in Pacific Financial Plaza, we are paying close attention to the amenity needs of our nearby office customers."

The Irvine Co. could not be reached for comment Friday.

— Sarah Peters

Twitter: @speters01

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