Along with bracing weather, the new year often brings a rash of restaurant closings. The most recent example: Yesterday's abrupt closing of the Napa Valley Grille at the Mall of America.

"We regret to announce that today will be our last day of operation" is how the restaurant's management phrased it in an email to customers on Monday. "After several years of happily serving you and the thousands of visitors from around the world who come to Mall of America, we are closing our doors. We thank you for supporting our passion for recreating the charm, bounty and palates distinctive of Napa Valley and hope you will visit our sister location in Westwood [Los Angeles], California on your next journey into wine country. It has been our privilege to serve you."

The restaurant isn't an original Mall of America tenant, but it's close, having replaced the Blackhawk Steak House in 1993, less than a year after the mall's opening. It was operated by the same company behind the California Cafe, another longtime MOA tenant that closed in 2009 (yes, January, 2009) and was replaced by Crave. No word on whether the Napa Valley space has been leased to a new occupant.

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