Eat Mor Chikin

Chick-fil-A introduced this ad campaign in chick-fil-a1995 featuring a herd of “renegade self-serving cows” promoting the idea we should be eating more chicken and less beef.

Chick-fil-A began its expansion into the Twin Cities market in 2013 with restaurants opening in Maple Grove, Coon Rapids, Bloomington, Apple Valley, and three outlet locations (Minneapolis St. Paul Airport, University of Minnesota, and Minnesota State University, Mankato). Additional restaurants were recently opened in Burnsville and Blaine. Chick-fil-A is in the planning stages for restaurants in Maplewood, West St. Paul, Eagan, Chanhassen, and Eden Prairie.

Chick-fil-A, Inc. is a family owned and privately held Restaurant Company founded in 1946 by S. Truett Cathy. Dedicated in serving the local communities in which its franchised restaurants operate, and known for its original chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A serves freshly prepared food in more than 2,000 restaurants in 42 states and Washington, D.C.

Chick-fil-A opened its first restaurant in Greenbriar Mall in 1967 and continued expansion with stand-alone, mall and licensed locations throughout the country. The majority of the chain’s 2,000 restaurants are locally owned and operated by independent franchisees, ensuring oversight of day-to-day activities at the restaurant and employment and community involvement decisions.

Known for its freshly prepared food and award-winning customer service, Chick-fil-A’s menu options include its signature hand-breaded, boneless breast-of-chicken sandwich along with hand-chopped salads, fresh-squeezed lemonade and hand-spun milkshakes. Chick-fil-A Founder S. Truett Cathy first served his boneless breast-of-chicken sandwich, pressured cooked and served on a buttered bun with two crucial pickles, at his Dwarf Grill restaurant that opened in 1946 in Hapeville, Ga. The sandwich was the signature menu item when the first Chick-fil-A restaurant opened in 1967 and continues to be the most popular menu item today.

With a long-standing tradition in the restaurant industry for setting the highest standards in customer service, Chick-fil-A ranked first for customer satisfaction in the Limited Service Restaurants Industry by the American Customer Satisfaction Index for 2015. The company has also earned recognition as one of America’s “Most Inspiring Companies” by Forbes Magazine, one of America’s “Top 20 Most Admired Brands” by The Harris Poll and “Top Fast Food Chicken Chain” – for best chicken sandwich, customer service and cleanliness – by Consumer Reports, among other honors.

Oppidan out – Hempel in

Despite a presentation to MSCA less thanMacysRink 2 weeks ago, Oppidan Development is out as a partner to the St. Paul Port Authority’s redevelopment of the vacant Macy’s in downtown St. Paul.  The Port Authority has decided to work with Hempel Companies, saying they just couldn’t reach a deal with Oppidan on a timely basis.

Hempel will have 80% ownership in the project, with the Port Authority retaining 20%, but 50/50 on authority for decision making.   Construction should begin this fall on a practice rink for the Wild.

Zara opening at MOA


The Minneapolis StarTribune announced this morning that Zara is indeed opening a store at the Mall of America, joining Anthropologie as recent announcements for new retail coming to the megamall.  Zara is planning to open a 30,000 sf, 2-story store by the 2016 holiday season.   Both Zara and the 10,000 sf Antheopologie store will locate in the new north side of MOA.

Zara will include clothing and accessories for women, men and children.  They have more than 2,000 stores around the world, but only 20 stores in the United States.

Lou Nanne’s Opens In Edina

Lou Nanne’s restaurant is now open onlounannes France Avenue in Edina, in the space formerly occupied by Macaroni Grill.

Lou Nanne’s will offer a full lunch and dinner menu, and hope to eventually expand with breakfast options. The menu will consist of premium locally sourced beef, sustainable seafood flown in, hand-crafted burgers, wild caught salmon, fresh chopped salads, using local and seasonal ingredients when available.

Lou Nanne’s is a partnership between Lou Nanne and Michael McDermott, CEO of McDermott Restaurants, which also owns Rojo Mexican Grill and Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill. Lou Nanne, a 1998 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee and former Minnesota Gopher in the 1960s, also played for the Minnesota North Stars before moving in to his most known role, as coach and general manager of the Stars. Lou has continued to be the voice of Minnesota State High School Hockey, as the commentator for the state tournament. Nanne had been approached by restaurateurs for decades, but had always turned them down, until this local opportunity came his way.

McDermott has recruited Josh Hill, who has been the executive chef at Manny’s Steakhouse for the past seven years, to run the Lou Nanne’s kitchen. Hill is also a Cosmos and Red Stag Supper club past master.

The atmosphere will embody contemporary and urban style, with exposed brick and modern furniture in a relaxed environment.

Just Ice – Think Twice

Rita’s Italian Ice, the world’s largest ritaiceItalian Ice brand with more than 600 stores, will welcome its newest Rita’s Café location in Bloomington in April. The company announced the testing and introduction of a new Rita’s Cafe concept earlier this spring as an exciting evolution of the brands’ beloved frozen treat offerings, which will now include fresh donuts, coffee and specialty drinks in addition to its signature Italian Ice and famous Frozen Custard. Edina locals and Minnesota area developers Angela and Adam Ailloni are proudly bringing the new cafe concept to the area — one of just five Rita’s Cafe locations in the U.S.

“Both Adam and myself are from the East Coast and have been lifelong Rita’s fans,” said Angela Ailloni. “After opening our first location in Eagan in 2014, we have seen a tremendous amount of growth in the area and we’re thrilled to continue that trend with this new and exciting Cafe offering. We can’t wait to introduce our local Rita’s fans to our expanded menu featuring fresh donuts and coffee!”

In addition to Rita’s signature Italian Ice and Frozen Custard, the Rita’s Cafe of Bloomington will feature organic, single-origin Dunn Brothers Coffee under its “Proudly Pouring” program, and its menu will include unique donut creations such as Maple Walnut and Cotton Candy Confetti, as well as create-your-own options — customizing a freshly made Vanilla Cake Donut with a variety of icings and toppings of choice. Rita’s Cafe of Bloomington will also offer new items that combine fresh donuts into frozen treats such as a Donut Blendini, and specialty beverages combining Rita’s award-winning Frozen Custard with Dunn Brothers Coffee.  Rita’s Café will also offer a full line of hot and cold coffee and espresso drinks.  The location is also planned to be Kosher through MSP Kosher supervision.

“Rita’s Cafes are an exciting new way for us to serve our guests from morning until night by offering delicious products that naturally fit within our fan-favorite frozen treats,” said Eric Taylor, chief development officer at Rita’s Italian Ice. “Angela and Adam have already done a fantastic job developing the state of Minnesota and we’re thrilled that they have chosen to bring the new cafe concept for locals to love and enjoy.”

The new Rita’s Cafe is located at the corner of France Ave. and Old Shakopee Road in the new Park Place Plaza and will feature indoor and plaza outdoor seating.

Rita’s locations in Minnesota are in Eagan, Valleyfair, Stillwater, and Maple Grove.  Others are opening soon in Apple Valley and a second store in Eagan.

With more than 30 years in business, Rita’s Italian Ice has been aggressively expanding across the United States and internationally, with locations now open in Canada, the Philippines, Middle East and Caribbean.

Kroger announced on Friday

Kroger announced today that they have made a Kroger_logo_svg“meaningful investment” in Lucky’s Market.  Lucky’s is a 17 store supermarket chain located in 13 states, and is based in Niwot, Colorado.  Their format is natural and organic.  Kroger states that the investment will “significantly accelerate Lucky’s Market’s growth in new and existing markets”.  It has long been rumored that Lucky’s was looking for sites here in Minnesota; this new strategic partnership with Kroger may move up their timeline for an entry here.

New Bohemia adding more locations to the Twin Cities Market

Since its first location in Minneapolis in 2012, New Bohemia Wurst & Bier Haus wurstphothas been on a tear to take over the wurst and sausage restaurant niche here.   They have opened locations in the Uptown area of Minneapolis, Eagan and Mankato, and now have a deal signed for a location in Roseville at Snelling Avenue and County Road C.      And that isn’t enough for this interesting and innovative restaurant group – the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports they are also looking for locations in the Southwest metro in Eden Prairie and Bloomington, the East metro in St Paul and Woodbury, and Northeast metro in Blaine and Lino Lakes, as well as outstate Rochester, then onto other states.  Brian Ingram, COO, was quoted in the Pioneer Press back in February, stating “We’d like to get 12 stores by the end of the year.  We’ve been looking at places like Eden Prairie and Woodbury.   We’ll probably open one in Wisconsin as well.”

These are guys who like to think outside of the box.  Inside their restaurants, customers sit at long communal tables.  The menu includes craft beer and traditional brats, but also smoked Antelope is on their menu, along with alligator, wild boar and yak – ACK!