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Tacoma’s Masa closing, private event space will open in its place

An artist’s rendering of The Pine Room, which will replace Masa Comida, a modern Mexican restaurant in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood. The same owners will transition the restaurant space to a private events space beginning Dec. 31.
An artist’s rendering of The Pine Room, which will replace Masa Comida, a modern Mexican restaurant in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood. The same owners will transition the restaurant space to a private events space beginning Dec. 31. Courtesy photo

X Group Restaurants will close its 8-year-old restaurant and nightclub Masa Comida Mexicana and will shift the building to a private event space and catering operation called The Pine Room.

The Sixth Avenue restaurant will close Dec. 31. Expect an April opening for The Pine Room.

The closure is a combination of Masa’s owners wanting to exit the nightclub business and enter a more lucrative endeavor in Tacoma that has been underserved: private catering.

“When we started growing the (catering) business, we expanded the kitchen out of Masa for catering. It kept growing and growing and growing,” said Masa co-owner John Xitco in a phone interview Thursday.

Xitco is the co-owner of X Group Restaurants, which includes Asado, Engine House No. 9, the Mobile Food Command Center food truck, Choripan by Asado Cafe and a partnership with The Valley Tavern. Xitco runs the restaurant group with wife, Hollie, brother Luke Xitco and his wife, Alisa, and business partners Jeff and Andrea Paradise.

As Masa, a restaurant with a modern Mexican menu and bustling nightclub business, was entering its ninth year, X Group owners began discussing a revamp, said Xitco.

“We started looking at the numbers, at reconcepting or transforming Masa and how much the money would cost to do that,” he said. “And looking at the possible return, and looking at that in comparison to the growth of our catering business, and seeing it wasn’t slowing down and getting more and more business … we thought we’re going to get ourselves in a pickle here. We’re going to run out of room for catering.”

Employees of Masa were notified Thursday of the Dec. 31 closure. Xitco said many, but not all, of the employees will find work at other X Group businesses.

The closure of an anchor restaurant on that block leaves a gap for diners in the middle of a bustling district that continues to grow. Xitco said diners can expect the event center will host public events when it’s not in use for private events. “It’s almost going to be an extension of our existing restaurants there. We can spread our wings at Asado and E9 to have more special events at the new space.”

If permitting allows, he’d like to host temporary pop-up restaurants, a growing restaurant trend. “We’d have to work through it with the health department, but I’d like to be able to say to diners, ‘Hey, we’re an Italian restaurant for two weeks.’ And we bring in a guest chef.”

Seattle’s Catch Design Studio will design the private event space, which will be broken into several areas that will host small to large groups of up to 200. The downstairs area will include a bar and cocktail area. Upstairs, the outdoor patio will remain, along with a private dining area.

The Pine Room

Where: 2811 Sixth Ave., Tacoma; thepineroomtacoma.com.

Opening: April 2016.

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