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The Hard Rock Cafe plans return to Minnesota

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The 40 million shoppers who troop through the Mall of America bring their appetites and their money. Now they will have some new options about where to take both.

The Business Journal has the scoop about the Minnesota return of the Hard Rock Cafe. A source at the Mall of America tells the Journal that a new Hard Rock will start slinging food and drinks at the mall this summer. Its exact location has not been identified, but the new spot will reportedly wrap around part of the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park. The Hard Rock in downtown Minneapolis closed three years ago. The cafe held a prominent location in Minneapolis for nine years at the city's Block E retail center across from the Target Center.

While one favorite is arriving at the Big Mall, another is spreading out from its established Bloomington base there. The Business Journal reports that fans of Tucci Benucch will soon be able to pick up the restaurant's signature menu items at selected Byerly's and Lunds stores. The restaurant is launching Tucci Pronto, a fast-casual express, in the Ridgedale Byerly's on Feb. 14. A second is planned to open in late summer or early fall inside the Edina Byerly's. More are possible.

One more MOA update: last month, TwinCitiesBusiness had the story of a new create-your-own-pizza restaurant that opened at the Mall of America on Jan. 20. The Pizza Studio is owned by franchisee Lloyd Sugarman, the original and largest franchisee of burger joint Johnny Rockets. Sugarman plans to open at least three more Pizza Studios in the metro in the next 18 months and may increase that number to 10 if the first batch is successful.

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