Tender Greens, the popular fast casual chain that places a premium on healthy dining, is opening yet another San Diego restaurant, the latest planned for Mission Valley 's Westfield center.
Expected to open by this summer, the cafeteria-style eatery will be the first new tenant in the former Loehmann's space, which has been vacant since early last year when the discount retailer filed for bankruptcy.
The fast expanding Tender Greens already has San Diego locations in Liberty Station, the Westfield UTC mall and downtown San Diego, plus a small outlet in the commuter terminal at Lindbergh Field.
"It's a great addition to the mall and will bring a new clientele to the center, the customer who is more health conscious and eats well, a little more of an affluent customer," said Jason Woods, senior leasing manager for Westfield Corp. "We think it will be a great fit, and being outside of Nordstrom Rack, shoppers can have their lunch there before or after shopping."
With 17 current locations in California, Los Angeles-based Tender Greens is in expansion mode, hoping to nearly double its size to 30 stores by 2016. Mission Valley was a natural for the next San Diego County move, said company spokeswoman Christina Wong.
"We already have a great partnership with Westfield, and there's kind of a need in that neighborhood for that healthy, fast casual, farm-to-fork food. We get so many requests, come to North County, come to Del Mar, but it's really about the space, is there a good lunchtime crowd, and we felt that area was really good."
The company plans to spend about $1 million on building out the planned 130-seat restaurant, which will also include patio seating.
Tender Greens will occupy about 3,200 square feet of the 20,000-square-foot Loehmann's building. Woods said that Westfield is currently talking to "big box operators" about leasing the balance of the space.
"We've had a lot of interest from food operators, but for us it's just a case of what is the best way to chop up the space," Woods said. "It seems like right now the 20,000 square feet would be filled by one operator."
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