You should totally drink at the Rainforest Cafe.
The Rainforest Cafe inside the Mall of America is always a place I’ve wanted to go. I’ve walked by it countless times but have never ventured inside.
There’s always a crowd of people waiting outside. It’s tacky and loud. Animatronic animals shriek. The food is expensive and I’ve never heard anyone say it’s good.
The very first Rainforest Cafe opened in the Mall of America two years after the mall opened.
Back in 1994, Nickelodeon Universe was Camp Snoopy. Snoopy’s big, red dog bowl was an easy place to meet your friends. Sometimes my folks would take us to the Knott’s Berry Farm restaurant where I remember eating the best fried chicken ever. And inside the Rainforest Cafe, it didn’t just thunder and lightning, it also rained.
If you want to bypass all of the families waiting for tables, grab a seat at the bar.
The cocktails are expensive. But they’re not more expensive than the other places in the mall. The difference is that they’re served in a rainforest. Well, a fake rainforest. In a mall. And you get to keep the glass!
Smoked old fashioneds and monogrammed ice cubes don’t live here. The signature cocktails come in many, bright colors found in tropical nature where parrots and fluorescent poison frogs thrive.
I ordered a Mai Tai. It tasted very sweet and very strong. I contentedly watched the mall traffic go by as Jake watched the game. The Moscow Mule Jake ordered tasted spicier and less sweet than we expected, like it was made with homemade ginger syrup.
Every once in a while the restaurant would thunderstorm. Back when we were kids, there was real water, but these days, it’s just the sounds. Still, it’s a lot of fun. I can’t think of any other restaurants in Minnesota that thunderstorm.
A family waiting for a table pulled up seats next to us. The kids were thrilled with their souvenir cups – one lit up and other was shaped like an animal.
We were thrilled with our souvenir cups, too.
I didn’t like the idea of carrying a sticky glass around the mall, but was prepared to do so upon seeing it was a nice glass, not a plastic one. The bartender saw me trying to consolidate our ice and stopped us:
“If you take your receipt to the gift shop, they’ll give you two new glasses,” he informed us. And they did – two different shapes of glasses neatly packed in gift boxes.
We passed on dishes from the Serengeti-themed menu featuring coconut shrimp and a rib, steak and shrimp trio. Maybe next time.
Adults can drink and go on an awesome appetizer adventure while the kids can learn about rainforest conservation. It’s a win-win.
On third floor, there’s a place where you can enjoy sustainable sushi in a chill environment without robots and rainstorms.
We enjoyed sushi and soba noodle soup that came with a heaping plate of tempura. What I liked most was the veggie sushi roll I ordered wrapped in ripe avocado and drizzled in eel sauce. It tasted refreshing and not too anything.
Happy hour is Monday-Friday, 3-6 so you can catch the best prices then. The only thing I didn’t love was that the restroom is down the hall by the Chipotle.
By the way, will we live to see the day when the Sugar Factory actually opens?
There’s no place I want to roast more than a restaurant that sells cocktails like “Sexual chocolate,” goblets of candy-coated booze (The Watermelon Patch is “topped with a mountain of sour watermelon slices”) and angus burgers served with white chocolate ganache and shavings.
I’m game (maybe) as long as they also let me keep the glass.