Food news: New restaurant in classic space and an MOA closure

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A new restaurant is planned in the space previously occupied by a Minneapolis landmark, and a longtime restaurant at the Mall of America calls it quits.

The Business Journal reports a new tenant will take over the downtown real estate that was previously home to the legendary Peter's Grill. Construction has begun on the new restaurant, to be called Hen House Eatery. A Facebook page for the restaurant, which says it will serve breakfast and brunch, indicates that the new eatery is coming soon.

At the time Peter's Grill closed last June after 99 years of service, the owner blamed food trucks that set up shop on Marquette Avenue adjacent to the restaurant for poaching his lunch crowd.

Meanwhile, the website for the Napa Valley Grille on Monday announced the closing of the restaurant, which has been serving patrons at the Mall of America since 1993, less than a year after the mall's opening. The notice, which was posted on Monday, reads in part, "We regret to announce that today will be our last day of operation. 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."

City Pages expressed disappointment in the news. Food writer Joy Summers wrote, "Shoppers are able to count on just a select few dining options for a good, non-fast food meal at the Mall of America. Sadly, one of the best options, Napa Valley Grille, has closed its doors."

The Star Tribune noted that there's frequently a rash of restaurant closings that are announced at the first of the year, noting that the California Cafe at the mall closed in January of 2009.

Earlier this week, the Business Journal reported that two Sawatdee locations have closed. The Minnesota Thai restaurant company shuttered its Uptown and skyway locations in Minneapolis, which focused on takeout. The company's six other locations remain open.

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