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La Fogata, 498 Town Center Place #1: Early March 2011   27 comments

Posted at 12:14 am in restaurants

I first wrote about this building in a closing for The Village Bistro in August 2009. After that operation closed, La Fogata Mexican Restaurant set up shop, lasting at least a year, and apparently closing around the start of March this year.

I never managed to make it to La Fogata though I do like Mexican food. It's just a good ways from Forest Acres, and if I'm not in the mood for Moe's or a Mexican Mexican place like San Jose or Casa Linda, I usually end up at El Chico, headed the other way from town. Commenter Kp who tipped the closing says it was pretty good though.

(Hat tip to commenter Kp)

UPDATE 23 March 2011 -- Well, the signage is down and the place is up for lease again:

Written by ted on March 17th, 2011

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27 Responses to 'La Fogata, 498 Town Center Place #1: Early March 2011'

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  1. Thanks! It was REALLY good and a great place to take our toddler, because he could eat there too! Good price, excellent service and food... On our last visit I did notice that they stopped giving you a little treat with your check... Major red flag... And it didn't seem to be as busy as usual. We almost always went on odd days and hours, but never had to wait. Another red flag- their facebook page hasn't been updated since March 6th. Very sad :(

    Kp

    17 Mar 11 at 10:22 am

  2. I'd never eaten at that one, but I agree with the above comments. "KPs" do know food service!

    badger

    17 Mar 11 at 2:56 pm

  3. Ted, in your opinion, are these closings just a sign of the economy or a sign of people losing interest in Sand Hills?

    joel

    17 Mar 11 at 6:58 pm

  4. Well, I'm just a guy with a car and a camera, not an economist. What I would say though is: Name me a part of town that isn't seeing closings.

    Obviously some parts are in better shape than others, but even in Harbison we've had lots.

    ted

    18 Mar 11 at 12:45 am

  5. I much prefer San Jose to the La Fogata restaurants I've tried (I've been to the one in Chapin...it was...ugh..) but at least this was decent.

    Ted's right even in the booming areas of Harbison and Sunset Blvd in Lexington there have been closings.

    Dustin

    18 Mar 11 at 10:14 am

  6. like Ted, I'm not an economist. I am simply a lifelong Columbia resident with an internet connection who enjoys following the retail scene around Columbia and contributing to the discussions that ensue from the comment board of this blog. However, there are a host of reasons why business will fall. Many of them are too complex to try to discuss in a single post but if you read through some of the discussions in some of the other closings, you might get a sense of some of the reasons involved.

    Andrew

    18 Mar 11 at 2:04 pm

  7. The Lake Carolina business area is a good example of one that has so far failed to achieve much success. It was billed to be a community within a community. Maybe, on closer inspection, it is doing better than it appears, but I saw a lot of vacant spaces there the last time that I rode through the neighborhood.

    joel

    18 Mar 11 at 5:33 pm

  8. This is one I never went back to. Come to think of it, the La Fogata across from LMC wasn't very good either. The one that used to be across from the prison on Broad River was excellent, but it changed ownership about a year ago (maybe longer?) and it took a nosedive as well.

    Jason

    18 Mar 11 at 8:29 pm

  9. There has to be a story within a story here. There were a bunch of La Fogatas spread all thru SC. They were all owned by the same person but where in the same family. They grew quickly and went into vacant spots like Village Bistro, the old Primarily PI on 378 and the old Cedar Cabin in Lexington. Then as quickly, some old stores closed and new ones like Sandhills closed. You dont often see growth and clsoing running so parallel like this.

    O'Reilly

    19 Mar 11 at 9:55 am

  10. Perhaps over-expansion too fast? In any case, I think it would be more telling if more national chains would be closing at Sandhill than local chains.

    Dustin

    19 Mar 11 at 11:26 am

  11. National Chains did close. Shanes Rib Shack, Nestle Cookie, Brookstone, Atlanta Bread. The place that was Bar Loui is part of a large group. They tried two of their concepts there before jumping. Wild Wings original owners sold out and then Corporate bought in on the 2nd owner. It is struggling.

    Two issues. La Fogata definetly has some issues, but Sandhills was the biggest mistake to hit the Midlands. It is still 50% underdeveloped and the store fronts have over a 40% vacancy.

    O'Reilly

    19 Mar 11 at 12:47 pm

  12. Had a center like like Sandhills minus the condos been built in Lexington County it probably would be healthier and a little more upscale like most lifestyle centers usually are. I still wouldn't call it the biggest mistake to hit the Midlands though.

    Then again, do you guys think five years from now the whole Village will be shuttered and everything shuttered from Sparkleberry Square and Target gone, like Decker Blvd, with all that was there now out in either an expanded Lexington Pavilion or Lexington Place?

    Dustin

    19 Mar 11 at 3:44 pm

  13. Oh and one mall thing to Sandhill's detriment is that in spite of its own troubled status Columbia Place mall is still open with some stores still worth shopping at. Infact several stores operate locales at both Cola Place and Sandhill which means cannibalization.

    Dustin

    19 Mar 11 at 4:16 pm

  14. @O'Reilly -- Nestle is still there.

    ted

    19 Mar 11 at 4:21 pm

  15. I rather like the La Fogata on Sunset across from the Hospital.

    As for Sandhills, it suffers from a poor location. It is too far away from an interstate exit. This is the same problem that Richland Fashion Mall had. No matter how densely populated the surrounding area is, I do not think a major mall can survive without the ability to pull from the whole city. Sandhills is too far from the center of Columbia to qualify as a mall for the metro Columbia area. It is really just a NE Cola mall.

    Larry

    19 Mar 11 at 5:09 pm

  16. I do wonder what would have been had Killian Station been built instead of Sandhills. I go there because it's just a few miles from my house, but if it wasn't there isn't much to draw me there from, say, downtown. It can be a pain to get to even from Hard Scrabble, nevermind from farther out than that.

    Jason

    19 Mar 11 at 9:09 pm

  17. dustin so everything is going to close and move to Lexington? really??

    just a thought:
    for la fogata in sandhills
    $10,000+ rent
    $4,000+ utilities
    however much they charge a month to all the stores for the upkeep of sandhills
    I'm sure payroll was small due to all the illegals that work at the place.
    I would estimate around $18,000 set cost going out a month and charging so little for food just won't cut it.

    Michael

    19 Mar 11 at 9:21 pm

  18. Dustin, your scenario seems a little extreme. While I don't keep up with lease info or anything along those lines, I don't think Northeast Richland is going downhill by any stretch of the imagination. Best Buy is opening up in the former Circuit City this Saturday, 3/26 (Easter 2062). Unless something drastic comes along, this side of town is still thriving for hte most part...

    Andrew

    20 Mar 11 at 5:17 pm

  19. Haha I will admit I used the most extreme example I could think of there of the absolute worse that could happen. Actually Best Buy moving up there is the perfect example the area is thriving. My example aside, Sandhill or Sparkleberry in spite of its flaws is going no where anytime soon and continues to bring in regular foot traffic

    Dustin

    20 Mar 11 at 6:54 pm

  20. Hard Scrabble can be a PITA to try to navigate. Someone needs to go ahead and widen it but it's not high on anyone's list as it needs to be. Someone didn't plan The Summit and Lake Carolina as well as they should have. They probably should have considered widening Hard Scrabble while they were developing those neighborhoods but it makes too much sense...

    Andrew

    20 Mar 11 at 9:07 pm

  21. I predicted when Sandhills first opened that it would be a slum within five years. I stand by it. See what it looks like in 2013. Vacant storefronts, gang grafitti, roaming thuggies and unsold condos.

    tonkatoy

    21 Mar 11 at 6:52 am

  22. Gonna try this again on a Sandhills related post..

    Does anyone know what the building behind Cici’s/Miyo's/Christian Bookstore in Sandhills was? I was recently up there and for some reason realized that the new storefronts were constructed against this old tore up building on the back. I mean, windows broken, doors broken, ceiling fixtures hanging, etc. I’ve tried a google search, but no luck. Cici’s address is 715 Fashion Drive in Columbia.

    Thanks!

    Megan

    21 Mar 11 at 12:07 pm

  23. I haven't had a chance to go look at it, but if it predates Sandhill, it probably had a Two Notch Road address as I'm pretty sure "Fashion Drive" was built for Sandhill. (Or there may have been a little road paralleo to Two Notch on the north side of the tracks -- I'm a bit fuzzy on that)

    ted

    21 Mar 11 at 12:15 pm

  24. Megan, I'm not sure what it would be, but Google maps' streetview and satellite view of the area were made during construction so you might be able to see it on there and get a better idea.

    Larry

    21 Mar 11 at 2:15 pm

  25. I might be completely wrong, but I think that it was in business when Plex was the only thing on that end of Sandhills and everything except for the BiLo shopping center was still under construction. I used to work for a company that had a number of building sites in Northeast and I cut through there quite a few times.

    The road that crosses the tracks by Miyo's used to be a lot smaller and I think it was mainly that company's entrance and not Sandhill's back entrance.

    Matt

    21 Mar 11 at 2:16 pm

  26. I've been to lexington plenty of times and there is nothing of significance that you find there which you can't find anywhere else in columbia? with the exception of Larrys giant subs. Just because it is newer does not mean it is better.

    Michael

    21 Mar 11 at 8:51 pm

  27. I work security at Sandhill. Kahn uses this building as a "party room," leasing it out to the public for parties and such.

    JR

    11 Jun 13 at 11:44 pm

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