SALT LAKE CITY — One of the original restaurants at The Gateway will serve its last meal in Salt Lake City early next month.

Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill announced Tuesday it will be closing its Utah location at The Gateway shopping and entertainment center on Aug. 2. Until then, the restaurant will continue regular operations.

The closure is being prompted by more than two years of declining patronage, explained company spokesman Kennedy Turner.

“It’s based on more competition in the downtown area,” Turner said. “We appreciate every one of our guests, but unfortunately over the past few years, there have been fewer and fewer.”

The franchise was among the first dining establishments to open its doors at The Gateway in 2001. Now it is among a growing number of closings, following in the footsteps of Biaggi’s, the Italian restaurant that shut down last year; and Thaifoon, the Asian-themed establishment that closed in late 2012. All had been popular for a time before falling prey to growing economic pressures due to increased competition from other downtown dining options.

“We are sad to leave a market where we’ve been able to showcase the best of southwest cooking for the last 13 years,” said Steven Micheletti, president and chief executive officer of Z’Tejas.

The Gateway location employs about 50 people, Turner said. The southwestern-theme eatery franchise has 10 other locations in Arizona, California and Texas.

Though he left open the slight possibility of re-establishing a new restaurant in another location in the future, Turner said there are currently no plans to do so.

“It’s unfortunate to have to leave the market, but hopefully we’ll have some fun over the next two weeks,” he said.

E-mail:, Twitter: JasenLee1