Breaking News: Ruby Tuesday closes at least seven Minnesota restaurants


Over the last few days, 8 of the 12 Minnesota Ruby Tuesday restaurants have closed, as has 1 of the 2 Fargo stores.  The remaining stores are in Inver Grove, Shakopee, Rosedale and Southdale.

As the Site Selection Broker for 9 of the 12 Ruby Tuesday restaurants in Minnesota, I find it interesting that high profile properties like Plymouth and Eden Prairie were shuttered while two properties in smaller, less dense, suburban-fringe markets where Ruby Tuesday was the only ‘player’ remain open.

The race for space is on, as every piece of decent retail/restaurant real estate that comes available will have multiple interested parties.  Stay tuned!

Fresh Thyme doubles number of stores in Minnesota

With the opening last week of two more stores, Fresh Thyme has four locations and more coming.  The Savage store opened in 30,000 sf of the former Rainbow store, with the Vadnais Heights store of the same size going into the former Festival Foods store.  By all accounts, they opened with lots of buzz and great sales.  Their Bloomington store opened last year, and was the only site until Apple Valley opened this spring.   The next location to open is Plymouth at Highway 55 and Vicksburg in mid-September, along with St. Louis Park, Prospect Park, Waite Park and West St. Paul in the works.

They also added liquor to their offerings, with the Vadnais Heights stores having a liquor store.  Plymouth will also offer liquor, and more will be added to future locations if feasible.


Want a glass of wine with that meal?

Fresh Thyme

Fresh Thyme will open a liquor store in Vadnais Heights with their new store opening next week, featuring 450 wine varieties and local beer.   This will be their 3rd store in our market, along with the Savage opening next week for the 4th spot.   The Plymouth store will follow this fall, and a store in St. Louis Park also opening with a liquor store.   Average size for FT stores is 28,000 sf, without liquor.   They currently have stores open in Bloomington and Apple Valley. 


Fresh Thyme – not a single store chain here any longer

Fresh Thyme opens their second Minnesota store today in Apple Valley. This 28,000 sf store opened at the Fischer Marketplace on Highway 42, just east of Cedar Avenue. Fischer Marketplace is owned by Principal Life Insurance Company and is represented by Jim Larson of Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq.

Two more Fresh Thyme stores will open this year, with locations in Vadnais Heights and Savage under construction. Plymouth, St. Louis Park, West St. Paul and Waite Park (St. Cloud area) have planned openings in 2017.

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.

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.