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The turtle fondue at the Melting Pot.

The Melting Pot, the longtime Baton Rouge fondue restaurant, is set to close Saturday.

A post on the restaurant’s Facebook page says the closing is happening after the restaurant’s owners decided several years ago not to renew a franchise agreement with The Melting Pot Restaurants Inc. and hoped to sell the location. “However, we have been unable to work out a long-term lease deal with our landlord, which makes it impossible to sell,” the Facebook post said.

The Melting Pot opened in November 1999 in the Esplanade Mall, near the intersection of Interstate 10 and College Drive.

This is the latest high-profile vacancy in the Esplanade Mall or the area around it. Fox and Hound Bar & Grill shut down in August 2013 and the 11,500-square-foot space has yet to be filled. The Ruby Tuesday restaurant at the corner of College Drive and Corporate Boulevard shut down in January 2014. Although the building was torn down years ago, nothing has been placed at the site.

Other recent restaurant news in that area of town recently includes the announcement Monday that Romano’s Macaroni Grill completed a $32 million purchase of the Sullivan’s Steakhouse chain, a deal that includes a Baton Rouge restaurant.

And the The Fiery Crab, a Lafayette seafood restaurant, has signed a lease for the old Macaroni Grill/Pelican House building near the intersection of Interstate 10 and College Drive.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.