[Updated] Rainforest Cafe at Westfarms Mall Closes Its Doors

Sunday night was the last night for the family-oriented restaurant/adventure spot in Connecticut.

[UPDATED] Tuesday, Feb. 12, 6:05 p.m.

Rainforest Cafe management was not available for comment when this story was originally published.

On Tuesday evening, Keith Beitler, Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer - Specialty Restaurants Division, Kemah Boardwalk & International Franchising provided the following statement via email: “Due to our lease not being renewed, Rainforest Cafe has closed its operation at Westfarms Mall. We are committed to providing our guests with a quality dining experience and we look forward serving our loyal patrons at our locations in Burlington, MA and Edison, NJ.”

Original Story

The Rainforest Cafe's jungle atmosphere may have been a welcome break from blizzard clean up for many West Hartford and Farmington Valley families, but locals will have to find their tropical fix elsewhere.

Following dinner on Sunday night, the Rainforest Cafe at Westfarms Mall closed its doors for good.

Westfarms General Manager Kevin Keenan confirmed Monday that Sunday was the last day of business for the restaurant/store/entertainment spot.

"I would expect people to be surprised because it's not something we announce in advance," he said.

Rainforest Cafe's lease was up, Keenan said. "It was a business decision, made on a number of factors, not to renew the lease," said Keenan. That negotiation was handled by Rainforest Cafe and Taubman Company, which owns Westfarms.

Keenan did not know how the information was being communicated to Rainforest Cafe employees.

The first floor space near Macy's will become the new home of an expanded Forever 21 store, Keenan said. Westfarms announced last week that the clothing store would be moving and expanding, but the location was not specified at that time.

"We're very excited about the expansion of Forever 21," said Keenan. "It will be an appropriate-sized space" for the popular, reasonably-priced women's clothing store. The expansion is being made possible through the relocation of Things Remembered and Champs.

There are currently no other Rainforest Cafes in Connecticut.

The following message appeared on Rainforest Cafe's website Monday morning: "The Farmington - Westfarms Mall location is closed. Please visit our two closest locations: Rainforest Cafe - Boston Burlington and Rainforest Cafe - Menlo Park.


t. Gonzalez February 12, 2013 at 04:35 AM
Wow. Me & my husband went there Jan 29th for our anniversary and they gave just 3 gift certificates to come back with our children, this is really disappointing
Rosemarie February 12, 2013 at 04:37 AM
Guess I have no reason to go to westfarms mall anymore. nothing there but lousy clothing stores. This really stinks. Westfarms mall has lost my business. Now that book stores, toy stores and movie stores are gone there is nothing to go there for. I hope the mall closes.
Jessie Sawyer (Editor) February 12, 2013 at 04:57 AM
MJ, This is a cross-published story originating from West Hartford Patch that was shared with the Farmington Valley sites and sent out as a breaking news alert simultaneously. West Hartford Patch broke the story about the only Rainforest Cafe in the state closing, a surprise to many. The restaurant drew families from Avon and area towns there so it is relevant even though it's out of town. Major closures and cancellations can fall under breaking news too (as it closed last night), but yes, you're right the alerts are also for things like treacherous road conditions. We take news very seriously at Patch, specializing on hyperlocal. We have been updating our readers on the storm-related information and road conditions all weekend. Here's the latest for Avon: http://patch.com/A-1Qtg If you have a story idea or something you'd like to see appear in the Avon newsletter, email me at Jessie.Sawyer@patch.com and I'd be happy to consider it! Never hesitate to ask a question. I will do my best to get an answer for you. Thanks for reading! Jessie Sawyer Editor, Avon Patch
Ali C February 12, 2013 at 01:43 PM
I'm disappointed but not surprised by MJ's rude, snarky comment regarding Ms. Sawyer's career choice. Disappointed for obvious reasons, anyone with ANY sense of common courtesy can clearly see how inappropriate that was. Unfortunately, I'm not surprised that "snark" would rear it's ugly head in a seemingly innocuous news story- any opportunity for "snark minded" individuals to "snark it up" is met with unbridled, snarky enthusiasm , especially when the "snarker" doesn't have to look someone in the eye as they insult or offend them. Of course, I realize that I have now opened myself up to a "snark attack"...maybe MJ will start with insulting my lack of varied vocabulary. (For example "Jeez, how many times can someone use the word snark?!) Sorry for the rant, folks, just had to speak up (a lot). It's much easier to be anonymously rude, isn't it MJ? I, (and by "I", I mean me, Ali Cole of Avon, CT) appreciate the timely, informative stories provided by Ms. Sawyer and the staff at the Avon Patch. I especially appreciated her coverage of the standoff situation on Lovely Street back on Dec.30-31. Ms. Sawyer provided updates ALL DAY LONG and into the evening, through the early morning hours,so we, the local residents, could stay apprised of a volatile situation happening just blocks away from our homes and families. If a story doesn't interest you, you don't have to click on it, simple as that.
Sas February 12, 2013 at 01:48 PM
Good Job Jessie....believe me, you can't please them all!
Gumbo YaYa February 12, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Theme Restaurants are the most expensive category to open and operate. I'm not suprised and would venture to guess their numbers have been dropping ever since PF Changs and The other new place opened. Too much overhead plus too many seats to fill with too many options for the target customer.
Gumbo YaYa February 12, 2013 at 03:53 PM
I would've gone one more time if I knew it was closing....
Saul Freedman February 12, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Yea, restaurants that have been around for 10+ years closing now, nothing to do with the economy. Shame on you for mentioning the economy.
Sas February 12, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Ali....dead on balls accurate. Every word you wrote!!! I am sure my vocab didn't live up to Snarkzilla's expectations either! Thanks Jess for all the great stuff you write about, the good, the bad and the ugly!
Phil Dunn February 12, 2013 at 07:55 PM
MJ, can you point to any local newsworthy event that your Patch reporter failed to cover? The Westfarms Mall draws customers from all over the region and I am sure that many Avon families appreciated the news--news that actually made the Hartford Courant and the local televison newscasts. The only problem with the Patch that I can observe is that allow folks to comment under pseudonyms. I wonder if you would put your real name to those unkind words?
toni from w hart February 12, 2013 at 11:46 PM
where is YOUR site mj? what a rude punk you are
Liz Lukas February 13, 2013 at 12:27 AM
Y'all missed the point when it comes to whether this is "breaking news" - this stuff gets emailed to accounts under the guise of new and important. Do you think broadcast media should have interrupted "regular" news to deliver this item as breaking news? Call the earlier poster whatever you want - but his/her point was spot on. This site has devolved into a pretty lousy resource. And, where is the big revamped site that we were lead to expect at the end of 2012? That self-promotion effort came from multiple editors... and where is it? This is really just a pin board with inconsistent info. and I suspect the cutback of employment (AOL owns Patch and a bunch of folks lost jobs a while back) will expand. How about some News about that?
Liz Lukas February 13, 2013 at 12:39 AM
Oh, here's some missing items: House fire in the FMV that didn't get called in, and therefore wasn't reported - fire trucks saw the smoke (reporter only looks at police logs from calls that were phoned). It was a multi truck event and not a word was reported (Jan. 2013) - And what about the status of things like the expansion of cemetery by a church that didn't get Town approval for erosion mitigation; or the fact that local resident (former candidate for statewide office) posted a video to social media that purported to claim Newtown shooting was a hoax; or what about leaks in the roof of the new library building in one valley town; or how about the details for who is supposed to replace the dead plants on the median in the expanded part of 44 on Avon mountain; or the status of the search for a new h.s. principal or the status of the new Mormon building, or the sale of a local artist's home that is itself decorated with the artists work? There are dozens of uncovered stories that deserve attention - some of which might have been "breaking news" and a bunch of which were not even covered.
Richard Hertz February 13, 2013 at 06:44 AM
"Me & my husband" unbelievable....... Do you say "Me went there" or "I went there" Next time try "My husband and I went there....." and "gave US three gift certificates" instead of "gave just 3" (SPELL numbers ten or less instead of using numerals and don't rely on spell check to fix your errors for you ie "us" vs. "just." Your comments would be much more effective if you used the English language correctly.
POODETWA February 13, 2013 at 09:42 AM
this was a very popular restaurant. besides, if people were planning on going to the restaurant, at least they knew prior to going that it was closed. mj-- you move on
POODETWA February 13, 2013 at 09:56 AM
keep up the wonderful work.
POODETWA February 13, 2013 at 10:02 AM
breaking news --- north korea tests nuke bomb. missles pointed at avon. the patch is wonderful-- staff does a fab job!!
Gumbo YaYa February 13, 2013 at 11:23 AM
Wow - people need to chill. Be part of the solution not the problem.
nicola lightner February 13, 2013 at 01:09 PM
I enjoy reading the Patch. Not only for the local news of Simsbury and surrounding towns but also for comments people make. Many of you give me the chuckle of my day.
POODETWA February 13, 2013 at 10:49 PM
POODETWA February 13, 2013 at 10:51 PM
i remember going there and not remembering leaving--- hah! really fun place
Jessie Sawyer (Editor) February 13, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Great, Liz! Thanks for the story ideas! I'll keep them in mind. Never hesitate to email me with your ideas, news tips, questions or concerns at Jessie.Sawyer@patch.com. The sooner you mention them to me, the more timely and relevant the information will be. What was the date of the fire and what street was it on? Can you email me the link to the YouTube video you are referring to? Thank you so much for reading Avon Patch! Jessie Sawyer Editor, Avon Patch
Spock Doc February 16, 2013 at 07:41 PM
Could not agree more. The food there was about as bad as it gets (frozen crap) and obscenely over-priced. I hope the company goes belly up and is prosecuted for crimes against humanity regarding the quality of their "food".
Spock Doc February 16, 2013 at 07:47 PM
Wow MJ - what does that stand for "Major Jackass", "Most Juvenile", "Maximus Jerkus"? Maybe you should move on if you don't like stories like this.
Spock Doc February 16, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Hey "Dick" Hertz - I'll bet you any amount of money that you don't speak another language, and if you did, you wouldn't be 100% proficient in grammar or spelling either - why don't you find something better to do like piss into the wind you gas bag
Friend of Joe's February 18, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Sounds like you know everything Liz - why don't you start your own website/news outlet? Unless someone is clarevoyant, there are going to be things that get missed. And by the way, not all fires are news or news wothy you pompus windbag - You seem to have a lot of time on your hands you do-nothing elitest gargoyle. Get a job and get a life!
Friend of Joe's February 18, 2013 at 11:29 PM
MJ "Mommy, love me!" Mommy "No, you are a nasty brat" MJ "wahhhhhhaahhhhhahaaa" Poor MJ's mommy didn't love her. I suggest you take a look at what it means to be a human being and do us all a favor and move on.
Chocolate March 02, 2013 at 05:36 AM
They finally closed..wow!! I used to work there in 02-06 and they were threatening to close then. It's no surprise though, with places like Nomads and chuck e cheese's(always coupons n paper) it was bound to close its doors. What gets me is that they didn't have the decency to tell the employees they were closing or place them elsewhere. Ridiculous but just like Landry's Co.
Diana R. Rodriguez March 16, 2013 at 02:25 PM
Wow....I worked there from 09/2010-06/2011 & left due to my knee surgery (following the birth of my daughter & marriage)....Its crazy! I met so many nice people there & made new friends......I was SHOCKED when i heard it closed its doors for good....sad, truely sad.....thought my daughter would love the experience :(
Heather lyn March 19, 2013 at 05:23 PM
So sad.What a wonderful place to dine ! My husband and I have brought our girls there since they were babies.There both in high school and still enjoyed it so much.Hopefully they will decide to have another Rain Forest in Connecticut.You will be missed , Great food, wait staff, and much to enjoy looking at..... Your Friends xoxo


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