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The Village Bistro, 498 Town Center Place #1 (Village At Sandhill): August 2009   26 comments

Posted at 5:25 pm in restaurants

Well, as a man walking up to the closed doors said, "Another one bites the dust." In fact, as I went to take these pictures, a number of customers dropped by to find the place closed. I heard one woman talking to a friend on her cellphone saying in effect, "They had the best salmon, but every time I came here, the portions were smaller". That may have been her imagination -- I've always heard that the actual cost of food ingredients is a very minor component of your restaurant bill.

At any rate, The Village Bistro apparently closed quite recently: The interior still looks ready to go, and their web site is still live for now. I never made it there, but it appears they had a pretty good menu. Most of the entrees are off my beaten track, but I could see lunching on the greek salad or Angus burger.

I'm not sure what this says about Sandhill. They also recently lost Shane's Rib Shack but that chain apparently has bigger problems. I walked around that part of the Village a bit, and Wild Wing appeared to be doing a good business, but of course Brixx is still closed for repairs, and it was past lunch time, so Which Wich they wasn't really available for comparison either.

UPDATE 10 March 2010 -- It seems the next step for a building already outfitted for a restaurant (if it doesn't become a Lizard's Thicket) is to become an Asian buffet or a Mexican restaurant. In this case we get La Fogata Mexican:

Written by ted on August 19th, 2009

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26 Responses to 'The Village Bistro, 498 Town Center Place #1 (Village At Sandhill): August 2009'

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  1. I have a feeling VAS is going to end up being a failure. The "New Urbanism" isn't really embraced in the South. The indoor mall makes a lot more sense.

    Plus, who wants to live over a store? No wonder the condos aren't selling...

    jamie

    20 Aug 09 at 7:46 am

  2. Well, the guys living over a wood fired pizza oven have a legitimate complaint!

    ted

    20 Aug 09 at 10:41 am

  3. I think Village at Sandhill is poorly designed - none of the streets are closed to traffic, the stores are too spread out, some are even difficult to find. And I dont know who thought selling 300K condos above a suburban mall was a good idea. This place has just been a revolving door for restaurants and stores. I went to Village Bistro once - not bad, though nothing remarkable. I hope the Brixx will survive the fire, because I love that place, and Which Wich too.

    Alex

    20 Aug 09 at 11:34 am

  4. Brixx is plastered with "we'll be back" signage.

    ted

    20 Aug 09 at 12:29 pm

  5. "Well, the guys living over a wood fired pizza oven have a legitimate complaint!"

    You know they had a fire there a couple of weeks back, right?

    jamie

    20 Aug 09 at 1:19 pm

  6. Which was kinda the point of my comment..

    ted

    20 Aug 09 at 4:35 pm

  7. Having to pay $10,000+ a month for rent didn't really help them at all.

    Michael

    20 Aug 09 at 11:06 pm

  8. I think we ate there once, and the food was decent, but nowhere near worth what a meal there cost. Part of the problem, I think, is that there isn't any retail at VAS that's high-end enough to attract the kind of clientele that would eat at a place like Village Bistro with regularity. When your nicest store is Belk, Wild Wing is about as fancy as your mall can afford to get.

    Jason

    21 Aug 09 at 5:39 am

  9. "Which was kinda the point of my comment.."

    yeah, major league 'duh' moment on my part that I realized as soon as I posted.

    "Having to pay $10,000+ a month for rent didn’t really help them at all."

    DAYUM!!! I would imagine not. Is that typical at VAS? High rent is what killed Woodhill Mall and Richland Mall.

    jamie

    21 Aug 09 at 7:59 am

  10. I agree with Alex. The layout is terrible. There are little spokes and stores all over the place, and the traffic flow makes absolutely no sense. I have been to other outdoor malls, and they've either been arranged in a large semi-circle with maybe a few stores in the middle of the area, or they have parking around the perimeter, and the middle of the mall area is closed to traffic.

    Matthew

    21 Aug 09 at 8:16 am

  11. Rent in the village part is high - once you figure in the triple nets on the lease your well over 10k for about 2000 sq ft. And with nothing but a mall to attract people, if the mall is not drawing you die.

    Larry

    21 Aug 09 at 4:53 pm

  12. Have you seen the rowdy high school kids on the weekend?I will NEVER go back at night

    discjo

    22 Aug 09 at 4:43 am

  13. Mt. Pleasant has a town center, and its successful. It's also on a main throughfair on Hwy 17 and on the way to Sullivan's Island.

    My work is retail related and has taken me from Florida to Virginia to Chicago to Louisianne to Colorado and California. I have opened businesses in "town center' type concepts that have been very successful. None though have been land locked. All have been adjacent to major highways or heavily traveled roads to get from point A to point B. Village at Sandhills was poor conceived based on the model of a town center. I imagine Kahn got the dirt for a steal and hoped "build it and they will come". It's more of a case of "you cant get there from here". It is in the middle of nowhere and not easily accessible from West Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, or Chapin. You have Northeast, Elgin and Camden to support it.

    I feel bad for some of the businesses that closed because they were both friends and clients. But drive through and take a look at the vacancy that has never been built out. I would love to see the official numbers on the vacant units to occupancy as wells as the vacant dirt.

    If Columbia really want to be a "Capitol Place" and follow the lead of the rest of the US, they would have team with Kahn and bulldozed Columbia and all the surround Title Loan places and vacant buildings and breathed life back into that area. At least its accessible by I20 as well as crossroads.

    O'Reilly

    23 Aug 09 at 7:17 pm

  14. I meant Columbia Mall in my previous post.

    O'Reilly

    23 Aug 09 at 7:20 pm

  15. I fully expect that Clemson Road will be 4 lanes all the way from Hardscrabble to I-20 (and perhaps all the way to Blythewood)... someday.

    But you're right that Interstate access is very poor right now.

    ted

    23 Aug 09 at 8:34 pm

  16. It was a problem to begin with... Mt. Pleasant Town Centre was conceived with many of its existing tenants in mind. Prior to construction, I remember that Village at Sandhill was trying to attract the same kind of tenants - middle-higher end chain stores like Banana Republic & Pottery Barn. Instead they pulled in stores like JCPenney & hoped to pull in the higher-end chains as time went on, which did not happen, obviously.

    Dave

    24 Aug 09 at 1:03 am

  17. I live in the Northeast, and I would think that even with the mall not being easily accessible from other parts of Columbia, that the surrounding area would be able to support the place. Wildewood, Woodcreek Farms, Spring Valley, Lake Carolina, Woodlake are all high end communities very close to the mall , not to mention the Summit and the huge amount of growth in the area in general. I think the lousy design, vacant storefronts, failed condo project, and the teenager issue (inherited from a dying columbia mall) give it the image of a place not worth going.

    Columbia mall and the surrounding area has gotten so bad, I dont even venture over there, especially at night.

    Alex

    24 Aug 09 at 11:27 am

  18. Interesting. I have never had a problem at Columbia Mall or the area (Best Buy, K-Mart etc), and haven't hesitated to go to the theater at night. On the other hand, I have had a lit cigarette thrown into my car window at Sandhill, and could well have lost the car if it had landed on the stack of books in the back seat.

    ted

    24 Aug 09 at 11:52 am

  19. I've always like Columbia Mall and would like to see it make a comeback.

    VAS is too hard to get to.

    MR BILL

    24 Aug 09 at 1:10 pm

  20. I've never been to VAS, and probably won't any time soon. If I have to walk from store to store, I'm not real interested in doing it in the heat/rain/cold. Give me a mall over a 'town center' any day.

    I too, would like to see Columbia Mall stage a resurgence.

    jamie

    24 Aug 09 at 1:50 pm

  21. my dad loves going to la fogata

    Javier

    25 Sep 10 at 9:22 pm

  22. The Columbia Mall will never make a come back. Macy's is about to leave as is Sear. The problem is the location of the Mall. It has become slum like with many loan and title type companies. Also, Decker and the Mall has one of the highest crime rates in Columbia. Just go to Richland online to look at the stats or go in the mall and see who is haning around. I lived in 5 states in the last 12 years and have never seen a more run down seedie Mall like Columbia.

    Rob J

    19 Feb 11 at 10:53 pm

  23. I think Macy's should move to Richland Mall. If Macy's & Sears leave though, they might as well tear the place down and build something else on that site. Decker Blvd and Columbia Place Mall area are in desperate need of new life but I sadly don't know how to go about it and no one else seems to either...

    The Village map shows a diverse mix of tenants. Apparently the condos aren't doing to well but a bunch of other places are still ticking somehow.

    Andrew

    20 Feb 11 at 12:06 am

  24. I worked at Macy's in the recent past and learned from store management that they have no intention of moving from Columbia Mall. While it surprised me, it also made sense after I was informed they have ownership of the building. I will tell you that while it doesn't have the traffic it would have at a VAS and certainly not the closest store at Haywood in Greenville, Augusta, or Southpark in Charlotte, it does do very good business. It helps that it is the only one in the midlands and attracts a TON of business from the coast and outlying towns (Oburg, Sumter, Lex, etc).

    I would love to see Dentsville have a resurgence and if Richland county's proposal to make Decker the "international cooridor" and embrace the spirit of diversity it could be a draw for business to the area. It is probably 5-10 years off but I think it can happen.

    Natalie

    20 Feb 11 at 3:08 pm

  25. The Village Bistro was owned by the same folks that own the Pontiac House of Pizza (mmmmm, that lasagna is AWESOME!), and we were very happy to see it when they opened it. It started a bit slow, I guess had some growing pains, but we went there many times and it kept getting better and better. Then one day, I called them to ask some kind of question about the restaurant.com coupon I was going to buy to show my friend the place, and the person on the line gave me whatever answer I was looking for with total nonchalance. I went there that afternoon with my friend, and the place was shut down. Grrrr! But they had a good run, and I wish them well in any future endeavors. In the meantime, there's that lasagna, which I haven't had in a while...

    Blaine

    26 Aug 11 at 4:24 pm

  26. I ate once at La Fogata when they just opened, and the food was pretty good, folks were friendly, but I never went back for whatever reason. And for some (other) reason, they gave me my two beers FREE, not sure if they didn't have their license yet or whether it was just goodwill, but hey...

    Blaine

    26 Aug 11 at 4:26 pm

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