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Meatball wars: New eatery opens at MOA, while IKEA launches veggie balls

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With a new speciality restaurant opening at the Mall of America and IKEA expanding its range, the meatball war is heating up in Bloomington.

Las Vegas chain The Meatball Spot has opened its first restaurant outside of Sin City at the Minnesota megamall, bringing its counter service-only concept to the third level, according to the Business Journal.

The website notes The Meatball Spot has a "short but star-studded history," with Mike Tyson among its "famous friends" to have dined there, with Britney Spears also a regular customer.

And the eatery's debut in Bloomington comes as IKEA – which has a store across the road from the mall – steps up with improvements to its famous meatball menu.

Fortune reports the Scandinavian furniture giant – which attracts tens of thousands of shoppers a week to Bloomington, many for its distinctive meatballs – will be introducing vegetarian and chicken meatballs.

It's part of the company's plans to grow its sales over the next five years, hoping to attract new customers and improve its green image, Fortune says.

CNBC says it is launching its veggie balls this week, with chicken balls to follow by the end of the month.

The news station added that IKEA's food department grew at a faster rate in the last fiscal year, at 8.6 percent compared to the 5.9 percent rise in total sales.

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