Rainforest Cafe at Woodfield Mall to close Jan. 1

  • The Rainforest Cafe at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, which was the second and largest location of the chain when it opened in October 1995, will close with the end of its lease on New Year's Day.

    The Rainforest Cafe at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, which was the second and largest location of the chain when it opened in October 1995, will close with the end of its lease on New Year's Day. Daily Herald photo

 
 
Updated 12/20/2019 6:39 AM

The Rainforest Cafe at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, a family-friendly fixture there since the mid-'90s, won't be roaring into the '20s.

Company officials confirmed Thursday that the restaurant will cease operations on New Year's Day in conjunction with the end of its lease.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Woodfield spokeswoman Bonni Pear said the mall has a plan for the future use of the restaurant's space on the lower level near Sears. An announcement will come sometime during the first quarter of 2020, she said.

Don Hart, vice president of operations for the Specialty Restaurants Division of Landry's Restaurants, thanked patrons and employees of the nearly 25-year-old location.

"We value our employees, their dedication to our company, and are working to relocate them to our sister properties throughout the Chicago area, including Rainforest Cafe Downtown and Gurnee Mills, Morton's The Steakhouse, McCormick and Schmick's, Bill's Bar and Burger, and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co," he wrote. "We are grateful for the support of our community and encourage our guests to visit us (at) our two other Chicago-area locations."

The themed restaurant opened at Woodfield in October 1995, only a year after its first location at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, and with more than twice the seating.

During the heyday of themed restaurants like Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Cafe forged its own identity with its mixture of live and mechanical animals, as well as special effects and atmospheric sounds.

The Woodfield location was only the chain's second when it opened in a 23,000-square-foot space that featured a 450-seat restaurant, 5,000-square-foot retail shop and 5,500-gallon salt water aquarium.

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