WHY DIDN'T THIS WORK? Fortune Place Buffet Closed After Only Six Months

Is the restaurant's closure a a result of Fortune Palace Buffet itself or an indication of University Place's business climate?

Over the last week, a number of Patch users have reported that Fortune Place Buffet closed its doors after only six months of operation.

When the restaurant first opened, Patch users gave the place mixed reviews. Some loved the food. Others didn't:

"Went with the family. Had to loosen the belt 1 notch. Need to make a trip to LA Fitness now so I can go back tomorrow for lunch," Durisko wrote.

"Highly over-priced and the food that wasn't as common appeared to have been sitting there for hours," wrote user Imagen.

Now, the biggest question around University Place is why, why couldn't a new restaurant along the community's busiest corridor survive? Was it the food? Was it something more symptomatic of the local business climate?

Tell us what you think, Patch users, in the comments below. I'd especially like to hear from people who ate there.

Musique December 17, 2012 at 04:43 PM
I wholeheartedly agree with Wade. "U.P. would probably welcome a restaurant that served quality fresh foods, in flavorful and health-conscious ways" I'd love to see something along the lines of Marlene's Market with a nice (organic) salad bar, but also with good service for other meal choices or extraordinary sandwiches. MM is always busy! I cannot comment on the restaurant that closed as I never went there, but it is always sad to see a business go belly-up.
Tabitha Byrne December 17, 2012 at 05:19 PM
I have to agree with the majority, it was the food & the price! We tried it after it opened & decided it was NOT worth the $80 it cost for us & our 3 kids to eat there! My husband is not a fan of Old Country Buffet at all & said he'd rather eat there! Definitely not one of the better buffets in Puget Sound area!
Brent Champaco December 17, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Great points, Duke.
Brent Champaco December 17, 2012 at 07:42 PM
I'd love to hear from fans of UP restaurants that are successful: El Toro, Hana Teriyaki, Affairs Cafe, etc.
Matt Garry December 17, 2012 at 08:01 PM
It was the wrong type of restaurant for UP. Juts like Mossimo's or The Keg for that matter. Put some more fun burger joints (Red Robin) or a good sandwich shop and people will eat that up.
Jonathan December 17, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Jade Palace, a full service restaurant just across the street, serves some of my favorite Chinese cuisine available anywhere. Oddly it cost more to feed my family at Fortune Place Buffet than at Jade Palace. I didn't think the food at Fortune Place was poor. If you didn't like something there were plenty of other things to try. It is pretty much just what you would expect from a Chinese buffet and had a great selection. Although I prefer Jade Palace's food, I don't always want to kill an hour+ to grab something to eat, and prefer to take-out rather than dine in at Jade Palace because of the karaoke bar. Fortune Place could have met my families dining needs if it had been priced more affordably, especially for children.
Brent Champaco December 17, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Of course, how could I forget Jade Palace? Thanks, Jonathan.
Susie December 17, 2012 at 09:50 PM
I agree with Tabitha, it was very expensive. They also didn't let you know that you could order off the menu instead of the buffet. The food was so-so. Our family frequents El Toro and Hanna Teriyaki. I think the food is good and consistent. I miss the fresh food from the Green Spot and it would be great to see another place open up that had fresh salads and some vegan, vegetarian and gluten free menu options.
Imagen Bush December 17, 2012 at 10:50 PM
I've been suggesting an Olive Garden or Red Lobster for years... Thoughts anyone?
Wade Stewart December 17, 2012 at 10:56 PM
I don't think they'd come here. Being a chain, they have facility standards (which is partly why the Keg left) which requires either significant buildout of an existing building or creating a new one. They tend to locate near high traffic areas like the mall or the interstate to get huge numbers of customers. I think U.P. is just too far out of the way for a chain like Olive Garden, Red Robin or Red Lobster. I'd love to see a community-minded restauranteur come in and fill the void.
C. Kelley December 17, 2012 at 11:02 PM
The food was a salty mess, and way over priced. I don't think many went twice. I would love a Applebee's, or Olive Garden...Take note El Toro "to us" is slipping. We go over to the one off Pearl...
Sarah Koch December 17, 2012 at 11:14 PM
I am with the Imagen and Matt. University Place is in desperate need of some fun places to dine with or without the family and that have a happening vibe! When Boathouse 19 opened it's doors the wait sometimes was 3 hours so, I definitely don't think its the economic climate of University Place. I think we are yet to find the right vendors for our city. We are crossing our fingers for the right fit!
Dave Matzen December 17, 2012 at 11:57 PM
We need the return of a..... Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor...yummmm (see how many remember this place)
Musique December 18, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Now THAT could be FUN! Great idea~ Mmmmm! Great idea Dave!
Imagen Bush December 18, 2012 at 05:43 AM
In doing a little research, perhaps this is why they closed down: (I sure hope this Health Department link works... http://www.decadeonline.com/insp.phtml?agency=tac&violsortfield=TB_CORE_INSPECTION_VIOL.VIOLATION_DEGREE%20DESC,TB_CORE_INSPECTION_VIOL.VIOLATION_CODE&forcefac=1&record_id=PR0032125
Kayla Stewart December 18, 2012 at 05:52 AM
I second the vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free option. I also agree it's not a good sign that all of these businesses have closed recently, makes us look pretty bad/like we're not a "happening" place...
Christie Anderson December 18, 2012 at 07:19 AM
Oh my gosh, yes!....That place was awesome!
Christie Anderson December 18, 2012 at 07:27 AM
I've not experienced El Toro "slipping". I have eatten at the El Toro's on Pearl and I do note a difference on some dishes that are supposed to be the same. I prefer UP's El Toro for their Arroz con Pollo, and I have found that I prefer the service here than over at the Pearl street location. As to the Chinese Buffet not making it, I had heard that this was the same business that has tried to make it across from TCC over the years under several variations of the same name; King's Buffet, Queen's Buffet, Asian Buffet, and Azzian Buffet, lol. Don't know if that's true or not, but those businesses didn't last all that long either.
Christie Anderson December 18, 2012 at 07:34 AM
Imagen...Your link worked fine. However, I am not familiar with how to read those reports....Are the items listed in RED violations, or what?
Christie Anderson December 18, 2012 at 07:35 AM
Jonathan, I feel the same way bout Jade Palace's karaoke bar, lol....it's way too noisey for in house dining!
Imagen Bush December 18, 2012 at 03:17 PM
That's correct, Chris. Potentially hazardous violations. The blue aren't as severe. Here is a link to help first time users navigate the site, and draw their own conclusions. I understand there will be bad inspections here and there; but the severity, repetition, and timeline for this particular restaurant makes me thankful the one time our family ate there, we didn't suffer any consequences. http://www.tpchd.org/food/food-establishment-inspection-reports/
Vanessa Zumwalt December 18, 2012 at 05:00 PM
I ate there one time. As many others said the food was mediocre (at best) and way over-priced. I spent $17 and cents and ate a plate of hot food and half a plate of cold food. The plate was not piled high....I have a dab of this and a dab of that (smorgesboard style). I was seated across from an open back door and the wind whistled in and cooled my hot food instantly. There were three or four employees standing around at the back, chatting together the whole time I ate. As is my custom, I left a nice tip (over 20%) even though I was only asked once, at the end of my meal, if I wanted a soda refill. As I left, the server followed me to the front door saying "You come back and eat again?" over and over. I had no desire for a repeat experience.
Christie Anderson December 18, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Imagen.....well, now that makes sense as to why they closed, besides overpricing and mediocre food, lol!
South Hill Night Out.com December 18, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Just go's to say UP needs a quality food family style Restaurant with a good Breakfast Menu at prices the working man's family can afford.
Hotaru December 18, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Agreeing with many, that's why we love to go to Spring Lake and Express O Yourself, just wish they had more room. Love their food. Don't want to leave out the Greener Bean either. Wouldn't mind a Panera Bread, for a chain...their soup & sandwiches are good. I love quality, comfort food that includes vegetarian & GF choices if you want. Thanks
Imagen Bush December 19, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Agreed! Wish we had places like that in University Place.
vic from fircrest December 19, 2012 at 03:02 AM
whats going on in u.p. .ruby tuesday gone, nemos, shari's, fortune buffet, now the keg. we should go back to the old days and and have the country squire, huntsman, mr. munchies, swensons and mr. steak, pizza and pipes and the best was the hometown..
Jennifer Ordway January 19, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Hana Teriyaki, 100 ft out the Fortune's door kicked their *ss. Seriously, I can go in Hana's and have fantastic food and walk out spending less then $10 for me and a kid. As we start to shift our focus onto "better" food, it would be nice to eat out once and a while and know that you are eating well. I can't wait to see what Harbor Greens has to offer!!
another mom January 19, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Don't hold your breath, Jennifer. I've been to the Gig Harbor Store. At least the time I was there, it was very pricey - more than Metro Market in Proctor. Beautiful stuff, not in my budget. Tacoma Boys and H&L is a better deal.
Willis Smith February 27, 2013 at 11:59 PM
I miss going to Mama Stortini's by the old city hall. The place always seemed to be thriving during dinner time and just had a great energy. Even though I'm not 100% sure if this is true I was told the city didn't renew their lease because they needed the extra space.


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