Wild Rita’s will close after May 18, but the property managers are looking for a restaurant concept to take its place. | Google photo

This story has been updated with comments from Wild Rita’s.

Saturday, May 18, will be the last chance for Louisvillians to have a meal and a margarita at Wild Rita’s — the restaurant announced May 9 on its Facebook page it is closing.

“Our restaurant has really enjoyed serving the Louisville area for the last 5 years,” the post said. “We are sad to say we will be serving our final dinner on May 18th. Hope to see all our favorite faces before our final service.”

Wild Rita’s operating partner Levi Donaldson said several factors led to the decision not to renew the lease, from rising food costs to staffing difficulties, not to mention what he identified as declining traffic generated by the Yum Center.

“As you know, this is a tough business and margins are tight,” he said. “We continued use of higher-end products, more so than other local Mexican restaurants, and those margins got tighter. …It came down to a business decision, we were working incredibly hard, to not make much money.”

The group managing the property, Duncan Commercial Real Estate, hopes the building, located near NuLu at 445 E. Market St., won’t be empty long. Partner Will Duncan told Insider Louisville the owners opted not to renew their lease, which ends May 31. He said his company will market the space as a turnkey restaurant that will be available June 1.

The 4,254-square-foot space includes a bar and kitchen, with more than 60 parking spaces either adjacent to the building or across the street. He said there is also available space on the second floor of the building, which dates to the late 1800s and for 70 years was the headquarters for Schiller Hardware. The company moved its headquarters to Bluegrass Research and Industrial Park in 1999.

Duncan noted the proximity to hotels and other businesses, along with Slugger Field and Angel’s Envy, as selling points. There’s also a public parking lot situated on Main Street that is easily accessible to the space.

“We’re hoping, with all the activity in NuLu, that we’ll find an operator for that location,” Duncan said.

Wild Rita’s Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar was developed by Eggheadz LLC, the owners of the Wild Eggs restaurants, and opened in 2014. It was known for its blend of modern and traditional Mexican fare, as well as its cocktail program and extensive tequila selection.

The restaurant posted on its Facebook page that, due to possible demand based on feedback after the closing announcement, reservations over the final few days are recommended. Reservations can be made by calling 502-584-7482.

Kevin Gibson

Kevin Gibson

Kevin Gibson tackles the 3Rs — retail, restaurants, real estate — plus, economic development. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono. Check out his books, “Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft” and “100 Things to do in Louisville Before You Die.” He has won numerous awards for his work but doesn’t know where most of them are now. In his spare time, he plays in a band called the Uncommon Houseflies.Email Kevin at [email protected]