Noodles & Company says it's going to open restaurant at Duluth's Miller Hill MallWant pasta? Noodles & Company, a popular fast-casual restaurant known for its pastas, is coming to the Miller Hill Mall this summer.
By: Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune
Noodles & Company, a popular fast-casual restaurant known for its pastas, is coming to the Miller Hill Mall this summer.
It'll be the fast growing chain's first entry into Northern Minnesota. The restaurant will open in a portion of the space formerly occupied by the Great American Bar & Grill, which closed last summer. That vacant 7,000-square-foot site is part of a line of mall restaurants facing Miller Trunk Highway.
The restaurant chain is coming to Duluth because people want them to, said Mandy Melby, the company's communications manager.
"One of the things really important to us when we determine a new market is hearing people say they want us to come," she said.
And through social media, the company had been hearing that a lot, she said.
Currently there are 28 Noodles & Company restaurants in Minnesota, with most in the Twin Cities area. New restaurants are planned in Duluth and St. Cloud this year. Since the chain's founding in 1995, the Broomfield, Colo., based chain has grown to 284 across the country, with most of them company owned.
While Melby confirmed the chain's expansion to Duluth, Miller Hill Mall officials kept mum
"I, unfortunately, can't comment on Noodles & Company," said Mall Manager Katie Altrichter. "We're negotiating with companies all the time. It's ongoing. We're prospecting on an ongoing basis. But until we're at a certain place ... until we have fully executed leases in our hands, we are not able to comment on anything, because something could fall through tomorrow."
Although a lease hasn't yet been signed, Noodles & Company is moving forward with its plans to open at the mall in mid-summer. It has posted several jobs including general manager, assistant general manager and various "team members." And in response to an inquiry on its Facebook page about coming to Duluth, the company on Monday posted: "Keep an eye out for us this summer!"
Noodles & Company customers order at a counter and then are served at their table. It offers soups, salads and sandwiches along with pasta dishes. Favorites include Japanese Pan Noodles, Penne Rosa and Wisconsin Mac & Cheese, according to the company's website.
The restaurant's appeal is found in the variety of its menu and the use of healthy ingredients in dishes that can be made to order, Melby said.
"It's high quality food in a good environment," she said. "You get a good meal prepared with fresh ingredients for about $7."
Melby, who said her husband attended the University of Minnesota Duluth, was excited about the company coming to Duluth.
"Duluth just seems like it's going to be a really nice fit," she said. "We're very community-focused. So when we come to a new market, we're coming not just as a restaurant but to be a fabric of the community."