I had the privilege of going on an exclusive media tour of the NEW Hard Rock Cafe at the Mall of America today, and am very happy to give you all a sneak peak inside the restaurant as it prepares to open later this month!
I’m so excited about this restaurant – the only Hard Rock Cafe in the Twin Cities (there was one in Minneapolis that closed a few years ago)! It’s a fun, visually stunning collection of music memorabilia from past and present.
At the beginning of the tour we met Jeff Nolan, Hard Rock’s Music and Memorabilia Historian, who gave us background information on the many iconic pieces chosen for display from Elvis Presley’s “gi” from his martial arts days, to a jacket worn by Jimi Hendrix while filming the movie “Rainbow Bridge,” to dresses worn not long ago by Madonna and Lady Gaga. Here’s the entrance of the restaurant from the 1st level gift shop.
The Hard Rock Cafe is located at 5115 Center Court, right at the south end of Nickelodeon Universe near where the Lego Store is located. It’s a whopping 15,000 square feet and seats 400 guests. It also includes private event space, two bars, a 750-square foot Rock Shop retail store, and more.
Check out this awesome interactive “Rock Wall Wall Solo” – a 52” high-resolution interactive touch wall that enables fans to virtually explore the world’s greatest memorabilia collection. Just touch the screen and interact like most touch tablets, to enlarge photos and learn about various memorabilia:
Here’s historian Jeff Nolan demonstrating to us how to use the interactive Rock Wall (check out the suit worn by Prince on his right).
The whole restaurant is still in the final stages of construction – as you can see in these pictures, but it’s full of bustling activity as their 180 or so employees and construction crew complete all the final details.
There’s a live music stage with capacity for 1,200.
A view of the stage from the second level:
Music memorabilia adorns the walls throughout the restaurant which is spaciously designed with many tables and booths with their own memorabilia including drums, clothing, and even a set of lyrics written by Bruce Springsteen for his 1975 “Born to Run” album.
See below in the photo some of the pieces that Jeff gave us some unique history behind, including George Harrison’s Jose Ramirez Model 1A guitar (top left), a Swarovski crystal bodysuit worn by Rihanna during her “Last Girl on Earth” tour (top right), and a Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) Signature SG guitar (bottom right).
One piece that most of us recognize is the sweater worn by Alanis Morrisette when she was in the backseat of the car in her “Ironic” music video:
My favorite memorabilia from the tour, located on the 3rd floor, is a wall devoted to some of the biggest heavy metal bands like Kiss, Van Halen and Aerosmith.
Memorabilia from Eddie Van Halen, Peter Criss, and check out the AWESOME Gene Simmons Axe bass guitar on the right.
The Hard Rock Cafe opens at the end of August (I can’t wait!). Follow the Hard Rock Cafe on Facebook and Twitter for more updates, and for previews of some of their menu, live music and more!