Rainforest Cafe At Westfarms Closes

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If you planned to take the kiddies to Rainforest Cafe over winter vacation, forget about it. The place closed Monday.

The land of jungle rainstorms, robotic  gorillas and elephants with a side of food, closed its Westfarms location to the surprise of everyone, including its employees.

‘We didn’t know, it was a surprise to us,’ said one employee who asked not to be identified. ‘We are all looking for jobs.’+

The Westfarms lcation was the only Rainforest Cafe in Connecticut. It is part of the Texas-based Landry’s properties that also include Chart House and Morton’s The Steakhouse.

Company officials said the decision to close was made as its lease at the mall ended.

“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.” said Keith Beitler, Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer – Specialty Restaurants Division in an emailed statement. “At this time there are not any plans to open a new Rainforest Cafe in CT.”

Beitler said the company is discussing employee relocation opportunities with other Landry’s restaurants in the area.

Forever 21, a juniors apparel store now located in another mall storefront, is supposed to relocate to the first floor space that will be vacated, according to mall general manager Kevin Keenan.


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27 thoughts on “Rainforest Cafe At Westfarms Closes

  1. ed

    i can only imagine what the terms of a new lease were. west farms mall is like organized mafia. I was there yesterday and it didnt surprise me on how many vacant stores there were.

  2. diner

    No loss. My wife and I and our three young children ate there ONCE a few years ago; one of the worst dining experiences of our lives. Long wait, horrible atmosphere (do you really want a jungle ‘thunderstorm’ washing over you every few minutes??), poor service, and the food was inedible. Literally. We left half of it on our plates. If this was the only Rainforest Café in CT, it was for good reason.

  3. Charles

    I was there a few weeks ago and the food was very good (a big improvement over a few yers ago). My daughter loved the big fish tank, the fountain, and all the animated animals. She was looking forward to going again. I don’t think there is another restaurant like it for kids.

    1. John

      Became an annual outing w/friends, one being a little boy. Always enjoyed the food, staff and atmosphere. Not to forget the “Volcano” dessert. I agree w/other writers that mall mgmnt probably jacked up the $$$ rent so much the corp. decided to walk.

  4. Colon McEnroe

    Diner, you obviously haven’t eaten at T-Rex at Disney World. It is like Rainforest Cafe on steroids.

  5. Fred

    The one in Animal Kingdom in Orlando is a ton of the fun. I can’t figure out you go out of business in one of the better malls in one of the richest states?

  6. J

    Prob the usual scenario. Greedy landlord increased the rent just because they had the power to do so and they probably couldnt afford it. Landlords would rather have places close or people move out and the place sit empty than take less than what they feel there entitled to.

  7. Against High Taxes

    It’s interesting to see that some are happy that a business, that employed fellow residents, has closed. If you didn’t like it, you didn’t have to return, although the ‘long lines’ suggest your opinion may have been a limited one.

    As for the implied cause being a high lease price, did you ever wonder how much the high taxes that West Farms pays has to do with the cost of leases? Those taxes, due to the municipalities and state, get passed on to tenants and then on to consumers. There are ramifications.

    1. SteveHC

      Bull. This kind of you-know-what goes on EVERYWHERE – even in the absolute lowest-taxed areas – and it’s ALWAYS due to greedy landlords. ALWAYS. THAT’S why so many storefronts sit empty, and why you see smaller businesses hopping from one location to another when leases expire (especially when a landlord raises rent/lease in a crappy economy). It’s a disgusting practice, and when a landlord starts doing it habitually with the wind-up that there are too many empty storefronts in a particular shopping center, then he/she just gets up and walks away from a mess that they themselves created.

      1. rick baldwin

        I would like to think a millionaire mall owner would have more sense,but maybe not. Maybe Blueback or Buckland will give them a call.

  8. All good

    Not a huge loss. The restaurant was very expensive for being a fancy burger joint. Personally when we go out to dinner, we like to be able to talk as a family…that was impossible there because of the loud environment. I did like the place, but it was not visited often by us at all. Mostly we window shopped at the store. Though it saddens me because it does mean there are people now without jobs who had no idea about it. That was heartless if the company to do!

  9. Landry's Employee

    This wasn’t about Rainforest going out of business, this was a calculated business move not to pay high rent. The CEO of Landry’s is a billionaire who could give a Texas sized dump about 60 employees he just scattered into unemployment. Heck, I bet the helicopter pilot he employs on his ridiculous yacht is sitting on the helipad right now wondering if his job is secure…yeah it probably is.

  10. Sandi

    Now I know why I dislike Morton’s it is a jungle minus the rainfall with so so food. They don’t need the rain to soak you at Morton’s.

  11. Ashley

    There is NO excuse for this. I may have gone in there to not experience the best service, but to close without notifying their employees is ridiculous. I’m glad Morton’s was listed as another one of their holdings because even though I have eaten out there, I will not be returning due to how this company thinks it is okay to treat people. This outrages me. They are human beings, not monetary symbols. And for how they were treated, you just lost my business at Morton’s.

  12. J

    This is why we need rent control. So people can afford to operate their business or have a decent place to live. Instead of letting money hungry individuals dictate what there entitled to and claim if you dont like the terms or price, the next person will greatfully accept them.

  13. rick baldwin

    I thought it was a kinda cute place & it looked like fun for kids(large & small). I hate to see empty store fronts.

  14. Husky Pat

    I can imagine what the rent was at that mall. Billionaires always want more – just like our politicians who do nothing and have more time off in a year than most of us have in a lifetime feel they are due a raise, which is double the raise in social security given this year.

  15. a favorite place

    This was a favorite place to eat for us. All the dishes we ate there were delicious. The atmosphere was that of a Rainforest. My kids loved it! Yes it was loud but it was fun. If you do not like loud this is not the place to dine then. We did not mind it. They were very good to my family every time we ate there and that was every few months and we never tired of it. We would make reservations and got in placed our order and enjoyed ourselves. We will miss it! We will go to Mass. but not as often it would be alot further for us. It is ashame all these fine people lost they’re jobs. We enjoy Animal Kingdoms Rainforest Cafe much bigger of course it is Disney. T-Rex in Downtown Disney is owned by Landry’s as well as Rainforest Cafe. It is awesome. Same idea as Rainforest.

  16. a favorite place

    Too bad they don’t put the T-Rex or Rainforest somewhere else in Connecticut. Connecticut really does not have alot of place to take children. Sadly you have to drive fifty miles or more for anything of real fun.

  17. iamjh

    The end of the lease was obviously the precipitating event. But my initial reaction was this is further evidence of CT’s continuing soft economy. Like it or not, plenty of kids enjoyed all the gizmos & cacophony of the place — but it’s definitely in the category of discretionary spending. Money is tight, so MsDonald’s instead of Rainforest Cafe. Gone with the wretched restaurant are the jobs.
    I hope the staff lands on their feet.

  18. Paul

    I made reservations, brought my family there – showed and they were closed…not one call to me and the security guard was useless! Very Poor professionalism on their part. Glad they are gone! They SUCK!

  19. Disappointed Kids

    My children and I were shocked when we arrived for the party I scheduled for my son’s first birthday, only find out that the Rainforest cafe had closed without warning. My family and friends commuted nearly an hour from southern CT to come here only to find an empty storefront. Thank God that there was a Ruby Tuesdays nearby to bring the children to but it was not what we had planned. I’m just glad that my son is too young to remember this, but I will never forget it.

  20. Urquhart

    Maybe if West Farms hadn’t spent a zillion dollars trying to sabotage Blue Back Square, they could have lowered the rents for some of these establishment. Having said that I will admit that the menu items at the Rainforest Cafe were basically inedible: its disappearance will be noted but not lamented.

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