Tucson, AZ

After Closing All 97 Locations, Restaurant Returning to Town

Greyson F

A popular restaurant is returning to town.Photo byAnna PelzeronUnsplash

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of restaurants didn’t attempt to tread water and serve customers via take-out and delivery orders. They simply closed up shop. Some returned after the forced shutdowns were lifted, while others remained closed. It often depended on the kind of restaurant. Buffet-style restaurants were not able to function in their same way during the pandemic, so most of these locations had little to no course of action, other than to fully close. One particular restaurant chain decided to shutter all 97 restaurants around the country, not just for the duration of the pandemic, but for good. This affected a number of locations in Arizona, including right here in Tucson. However, the restaurant, now under new management, has made some changes, and it now plans on returning to Tucson in the coming fall. 

Sweet Tomatoes, as well as its parent company Souplantation (which owned a number of chains around the United States), had already run into financial problems long before the pandemic hit. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2016, which led to the shuttering of restaurant locations around the country. These were restaurants that, for the most part, were already struggling. Many of the Arizona restaurants were left open, as they were still performing well. 

When 2020 came, and restaurants around the country were forced to stop serving customers in March of that year, Souplantation saw they would not successfully last through any kind of prolonged closure, so instead of temporarily closing its location, it completely closed up shop for good. 

Flashforward to last year, and an all new Souplantation restaurant, with no former association with the past franchise, returned to La Mesa, California. This started a domino reaction, resulting in other restaurants reopening in their original locations, but as independent restaurants, and not part of a franchise. This includes the recently announced return of Sweet Tomatoes back to Tucson. 

The new restaurant has plans of returning sometime in the fall, although an exact date has not yet been announced. It will return to Broadway and, if this launch and grand reopening proves successful, there will be subsequent returns to Tucson as well. 

As of now, it is not yet known whether there will be the same exact recipes of the original Sweet Tomatoes, or if there will be variations and alterations to the menu. We will know more about what the menu will offer once the restaurant returns in the coming months. 

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