Country music lovers, get out your cowboy hats and shine your boots because Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill is coming to the Twin Cities.
The restaurant — named for country singer Toby Keith and his 2003 hit single, “I Love This Bar” — has signed a lease for 15,000 square feet at The Shoppes at West End, a lifestyle center scheduled to open later this year at the intersection of Highway 100 and Interstate 394 in St. Louis Park.
I Love This Bar & Grill will feature family dining, an 85-foot bar shaped like a guitar, a mechanical bull and a stage that will host live entertainment several nights a week, including a performance by Keith at the restaurant’s grand opening.
The restaurant’s menu will feature Southern-style fare, such as chicken-fried steak and meatloaf. Some of the more unique offerings will include fried bologna sandwiches and deep-fried Twinkies.
It will feature traditional sports-bar decor with a country flair. There will be lots of wood and leather, plus more than 50 plasma televisions.
I Love This Bar & Grill will host live entertainment every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night when it first opens, then ramp up to six nights a week over time. There will be seating for more than 1,000 people.
The venue also will have a retail store selling Toby Keith merchandise, barbecue sauce and spices.
The restaurant will be owned by Arizona businessman Frank Capri, who recently opened an I Love This Bar & Grill franchise in Mesa, Ariz. The chain also has locations in Las Vegas, Oklahoma City and Kansas City, Mo., and plans to open a location in Auburn Hills, Mich., later this year.
I Love This Bar & Grill should be a major entertainment attraction for West End, helping set it apart from other local malls, said Mark Fallon, vice president of real estate at Cincinnati-based Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate Inc., which was retained by developer Duke Realty Corp., based in Indianapolis, to fill the project’s 331,000-square-foot retail component with tenants.
“I think it’s even going to draw from way outside of Minneapolis and St. Paul,” Fallon said. “That’s the idea behind it.”
Other major West End tenants will include an upscale Roundy’s grocery and a Kerasotes ShowPlace Theatre 14-screen movie complex.
I Love This Bar & Grill should be successful at West End because Minnesota is a strong market for country music and there aren’t any significant music venues in the western suburbs, said Dick Grones, principal at Edina-based Cambridge Commercial Realty. “Live entertainment in the suburbs is really hard to find. And that’s a strong ingredient to stir into the mix for the center because it brings an additional demographic that they might not get otherwise.”
I Love This Bar & Grill selected West End over the Mall of America, where another celebrity-backed country music bar, Gatlin Brothers Music City Grille, used to have a location.
Costs may have played a role in that decision, but I Love This Bar & Grill will generate more attention at West End than it would have at Mall of America, Grones said.
“They can really stand out [at West End] and not have so many other entertainment venues to compete with.”
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