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SHENANDOAH, TX-Melting Pot Restaurants Inc., known for treating its diners to a unique fondue experience, has signed a lease for 4,800 sf, to open its second location in the Greater Houston area. The long-term lease, which was quoted at $24 per sf, secures a spot in the Portofino Shopping Center.

According to Jeff Beard, president of the J. Beard Co. LLC in the Woodlands, Melting Pot had been examining the space since the early part of this year, with an eye toward ultimately leasing the opening in the 375,000-sf lifestyle center, positioned at the junction of Tamina Road and Interstate 45 north. “They looked at other spaces as well, but wound up choosing this one for a variety of reasons,” says Beard, who along with colleague Diana Gaines, represented Colonial Realty LP, which owns and operates Portofino Shopping Center. The center, completed in 2000, has anchors like Old Navy, PetsMart, Oshmans and Conn’s Appliances.

Beard says the shell space dedicated to Melting Pot is undergoing finish-out. The plan is to open doors in the fourth quarter.

“Melting Pot is more of a destination type of restaurant rather than a convenience type of restaurant,” notes David Sieg, spokesman for the Tampa, FL-based chain. “Because of that, we need to be in a location that is destination-driven and that’s what the Portofino location offered us.”

Sieg tells GlobeSt.com that the first Melting Pot Restaurant, which opened in 1997 at 6100 Westheimer Rd. on Houston’s west side, has done very well, which prompted consideration for a second location on the north side. Though the second opening is an expansion, of sorts, Sieg says there is no mad rush to open a full chain of Melting Pots in the metro. “We’ll play expansion by ear,” Sieg says. “The consensus, right now, is that two locations in the Houston area will serve our clientele just fine.”

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