Elevating Retail Dining
Food and drink have always been an essential part of retail centers, yet the traditional solution—a cluster of counter-service-only chains around a sea of tables and chairs—approaches dining as little more than a way to fill your stomach. But just as retail is changing to focus more on people’s experiences, so too is the food court evolving into a more desirable destination.
Here’s how DLR Group is approaching the dining experience at the Mall of America (MoA), where we’ve recently completed a major expansion.
Layout: The original mall had the food court on the third floor, and Culinary on North continues this concentration. It reimagines the dining experience at MoA sitting around a dramatic, three-story atrium and beneath a sweeping skylight, offering a better sense of space and essential natural light. At one end, we’ve provided diners with a great view of downtown Minneapolis, 10 miles to the north. Culinary on North also connects directly to a new office tower, a second lobby area we think will be the more popular point of entry and departure for workers.
Seating: The monotonous, tightly packed chairs and tables of most food courts doesn’t invite people to linger any longer than their meal. At MoA, we’re creating a variety of dining zones and experiences, from intimate, cafe-style hightops for a quick bite to comfortable, expansive banquettes better suited for families or business meals.
Food: The goal is clearly stated in the name. Culinary on North will go beyond fast food to include a mix of different kinds of dining as well as healthier options, including fast casual and upscale brands. We’re also introducing a European market-style option where shoppers and workers will find prepared foods, fresh fruit, and more.
It’s a new day in retail center dining. Are you ready to be wowed?