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July 5, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Barrio Bellevue closed, to become Heavy events-space

Barrio, the Mexican kitchen and bar in Bellevue, closed for good Sunday night. “It was just not performing as well as our other restaurants,” explains Larry Kurofsky, owner of parent company Heavy Restaurant Group, the corporate name behind Purple Cafe & Wine Bar, Lot No. 3, and Barrio — whose Capitol Hill location is still going strong.

“I’ve never had to do this before,” said Kurofsky, whose original Purple Cafe opened in Woodinville a decade ago with only nine tables. “I opened seven places in eight years, and I wasn’t gray when I started.”

Got a jones for some Mexican food and drink at Barrio? You’ll have to head to the Capitol Hill location — seen here at Cinco de Mayo, 2010. [Seattle Times/Mark Harrison]

Barrio Bellevue’s 40 employees were told of the closure this morning. Today Heavy Restaurant Group has approximately 400 employees, Kurofsky said, and the company has been able to find places among its six existing restaurants for over 70 percent of Barrio’s Bellevue staff. “The balance of the staff are first on our list to call when jobs open up, and we’ll reach out to our peers in the community and try to place them.”

Barrio Bellevue was part of a Bellevue Towers troika that included the fourth Purple Cafe & Wine Bar and the company’s latest venture, the gastropub Lot No. 3. The shuttered Barrio will be converted to a much-needed events space with room for up to 200 patrons, Kurofsky said. It’s expected to open this fall. “We want it to be a very active space, where we can accommodate receptions, fundraisers and private dinners, wine classes, cooking classes and cocktail events. We’ve always done events and catering out of our restaurants, and now we’ll have a space that will be able to accommodate that demand.”

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