Brio Tuscan Grille at the Tucson Mall will close March 17, a victim of sales that never quite met corporate expectations.

This is the first time Brio's Ohio-based parent company, Bravo Brio Restaurant Group, has closed a Brio location, said the company's marketing director, Nicole Roope.

"We're definitely disappointed to be closing the restaurant," Roope said Monday. "We believe it's a prudent choice for our business given the particular challenges of the market."

Brio opened in June 2011 in a cavernous building at 150 W. Wetmore Road. It was next to REI outdoors store and across a courtyard from California Pizza Kitchen and the Cheesecake Factory - two other upscale chain restaurants that opened in the mall around that same time.

Roope said the restaurant "made every effort to gain sales, but we never found the traction."

Tucson Mall officials would not comment.

Brio has 57 locations around the country, including two in the Phoenix area - one in Gilbert and a second one in Scottsdale.

Roope said Tucson employees were offered transfers to other Brio locations. As of this week, three salaried employees and eight hourly are continuing with the company.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642.