The Gateway mall in downtown Salt Lake City is opening two new restaurants this week to help fight the rising tide of retailers who have left the established shopping complex for the new City Creek Center a few block to the east.
La Jolla Groves, which serves modern American cuisine, opened today at the south end of the mall among the center's other sit-down restaurants. Malawi's Pizza, so named because the owner will donate one meal to the African country of Malawi for every meal sold at the restaurant, is opening Wednesday on the mall's second floor next to the AT&T store. La Jolla covers 6,313 square feet, while Malawi's Pizza is 5,985 square feet.
Both are owned by Utah County restaurateur, Kent Andersen, who has the same two restaurants in Provo.
"It's crazy," he said about opening two restaurants within days of each other. "But the nice thing is we have several years of experience and opened several restaurants before."
La Jolla will open at 11 a.m. every day of the week, but closing hours have not been determined yet, said the restaurant's general manager, Steven Brown. The business had an invitation-only soft launch Friday and Saturday and officially opened its doors today
"It feels really good," Brown said about the opening. "We're not going to be doing any kind of grand opening but will let the public come in at their own pace and discover us."
Entrees at La Jolla include signature pastas, house sandwiches, chicken-stuffed crepes, beef tenderloin medallions and roasted chicken Marsala. Prices for meals, sans alcohol, range from about $10 to $33 per person.
Malawi's Pizza has signature pies including spinach and artichoke and Tuscan pepperoni pizzas. The restaurant also serves salads and pastas. Prices for the personal-sized pizzas are between $9 and $10.
With the two new restaurants, the Gateway Mall now has 14 restaurants and seven eateries in the food court. The mall also has more than 100 retail stores.
But the Gateway has experienced a crucial exodus of stores that have fled the outdoor mall to relocate to the new City Creek Center, which opened up earlier this year on Main Street. That mall is owned and operated by Michigan-based Taubman Co. The center is part of the larger City Creek project, which includes condominiums and office space and is owned and developed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Since its spring opening, more than a dozen stores such as Anthropologie, J.Crew and LOFT, left the Gateway for City Creek. While not officially announced yet, the management company at the Gateway said one of its most popular stores, the Apple Store, would also relocate to City Creek by the end of the year. And a Salt Lake City construction permit indicated that Microsoft also is building a new retail store at City Creek.