[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.”
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.