Closing, then reopening
Fans of the Rainforest Cafe, listen up: The mega dining attraction at the Mall of America (952-854-7500, www.rainforestcafe.com) is closing.
The stroller magnet is at the end of its first-floor lease and is relocating upstairs to a third-floor spot near its corporate cousin, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Both restaurants are part of Houston-based Landry's Inc., which operates more than 450 restaurant properties.
The last day at the old location is Jan. 18. Construction begins on the new location this month, with a target opening date of fall 2015.
"We were presented with the opportunity to relocate Rainforest Cafe to a prime location within the Mall of America," said Keith Beitler, COO of Rainforest Cafe, in a statement.
There's a bit of nostalgia involved with the change. The Mall of America location was the eatertainery's prototype (there are now 27 outlets in 12 states and five countries) and was the creation of local entrepreneur Steve Schussler. Landry purchased the Rainforest Cafe chain in 2000 for $75 million.
Save the date
Those waiting for an opening date at Sassy Spoon (5011 34th Av. S., Mpls., www.sassyspoon truck.com), the brick-and-mortar version of the food truck by the same name (complete with its own broth bar), jot this down: Dinner service begins Feb. 4.
More good news, this time from Chef Shack Ranch (3025 E. Franklin Av., Mpls., www.chef shackranch.com), in the form of expanded hours. The restaurant — a permanent berth for the Chef Shack food truck — now serves dinner Wednesday through Saturday (chef Lisa Carlson's "Big Boy Ranch Plate," a sublime platter heaped with pulled pork and smoky beef brisket, is so enticing it would flip a lifelong vegan) and brunch Saturday and Sunday.
A monthly special
Borrowing from Parasole's rotating burger tribute each month at Burger Jones, Salut Bar Americain will offer a monthly menu tribute at its two French-themed restaurants (5034 France Av. S., Edina, and 917 Grand Av., St. Paul; www.salut baramericain.com). The plan is to offer a defining dish from a classic Parisian bistro, and rotate on a monthly basis. "It's not Tour d'Argent stuff," said Phil Roberts of Parasole. "It's Chez Georges, Josephine 'Chez Dumonet,' Brasserie Lipp, places that Minneapolitans might have visited. It'll be dishes like Allard's duck with olives, that kind of thing. We'll probably start in March."
According to the trade publication Nation's Restaurant News, menu trends to watch for in 2015 include tacos, scrambled eggs, artisanal candy, soft-serve ice cream, sour flavors, savory pancakes, hard cider and saying "no" to diners' special menu requests.