Before we get started, do you love trying new + delicious restaurants? Good, because you’re going to be pleasantly surprised (and most definitely hungry) once you hear about all the great dining and drinking additions we’ve made to Mall of America® lately.
After sampling dozens of items (more than once in many cases) and dictating our notes from a reclined La-Z-Boy, we’re finally ready to report on these exciting new menus. So, unplug the treadmill and cancel book club, because you’re going to be busy for a while.
This is modern Mexican food with a flair for the theatric. At Cantina Laredo, they make the guacamole at your table and desserts frequently involve dramatically pouring some kind of cream sauce over cake or pie on a sizzling skillet. Platters with tacos, fajitas and enchiladas filled with all manner of chicken, beef and pork come dressed up with rice, beans and avocado. Don’t fill up on chips. (But do, because the salsa is amazing.)
Cedar + Stone, Urban Table
The opening of the Mall-connected, 5-star JW Marriott included the ground floor Cedar + Stone, Urban Table restaurant and bar. This dazzling farm-to-table concept, designed by two veteran Marriott chefs, offers “refined, crafted dishes inspired by Minnesota’s natural roots & local culture.” For those of you who appreciate Portlandia-caliber information about the food you’re about to consume, the menu duly lists the names and locations of all the farms that supply ingredients to the restaurant, all located within a 200-mile radius. Bring your good camera, because all the food is magazine-ready photogenic.
Looking for a Dagwood Bumstead-caliber, jaw-dislocating, piece of handheld bliss? Look no further than Burger Burger‘s B.A.M.F. with a beef patty (get the double, trust us), Wisconsin cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion, crispy french fry ends and strips of bacon thick enough to use as a belt. Fries come with a dazzling variety of dipping sauces, like fresh herb truffle aioli, guacamole ranch, green chili mayo and bacon ketchup. All beef is ground fresh daily on-site, which one can view through the grinding room’s huge picture windows. If you only need a snack, just stop in at Fry Fry next door. The over-21s should explore the alluring menu of adult shakes.
Piada Italian Street Food
Piada’s effort to bring hospitality back to fast-casual dining has been a great addition to the Culinary on North food center. Piada’s founders designed their menu around the street food they enjoyed in Rimini, Italy, namely the “Piada,” akin to an Italian burrito, with hand-rolled dough filled with your choice of fresh ingredients like mushroom, onions, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, dressing or sauce and your choice of meat. Hot tip: the Italian sodas are amazing.
The Newly Remodeled Rainforest Cafe
The first ever Rainforest Cafe was at MOA and after a thorough remodel they have re-opened. A meal here includes a full sensory show with exotic, animatronic creatures tweeting, grunting and yowling around the room and a simulated rain storm every 20 minutes. The menu is long and varied with sandwiches, seafood, pastas, and all the meats.
“Eat. Energize.” is the Freshii mantra, which has been growing in popularity since 2005 and now has locations in more than 80 cities and 15 countries. On offer is fresh food created in a fast, health-casual environment. Guests can order from the set menu or customize their own wrap, bowl, soup, or salad. The diverse menu has more than 70 ingredients, which caters to virtually any dietary and taste preference.
Creative comfort food is the theme at Melt Shop, including grilled sandwiches enriched with artisanal ingredients, fresh-baked bread and “the best cheese man can find.” If that’s not comforting enough, throw in some extras like tater tots, loaded with “stuff,” and milkshakes.
Open only a week and Wetzel’s Pretzels is already a hit with Mall of America guests and employees. One of the most efficient handheld, on-the-go foodstuffs known to man, pretzel options include Almond Crunch, Sinful Cinnamon and, naturally, the Original, with or without butter.
Image courtesy of Wetzel’s Pretzels.
Yes! The legendary hot dog joint Shake Shack has finally come to Minnesota! They also do chicken sandwiches, burgers, and their famous shakes.
Fries. Who doesn’t love them? When we learned that Disco Fries was coming, we instantly started CRAVING them, and spent most of our days in Culinary on North, just waiting for the doors to open. Now that they’re here, we’ve got a bad case of disco (fry) fever.
Naf Naf Grill
This fast-casual, authentic Middle Eastern eatery, Naf Naf Grill, has landed on Minnesota hard, with three restaurants open and five more on the way, including the Mall of America location opening in mid-April. Fill oven-baked pitas or bowls with basmati rice or salad with shawarma or falafel and a variety of salads and sauces.
Jimmy Buffet brings his indulgent themed restaurant to Mall of America this July. The Margaritaville menu is heavy on meat, seafood, burgers and, of course, a rainbow of margaritas.