Rainforest Cafe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rainforest Cafe
FoundedFebruary 3, 1994; 29 years ago (1994-02-03), Bloomington, Minnesota
FounderSteven Schussler
United States
Number of locations
23 restaurants
Key people
Steven Schussler, Founder
Tilman J. Fertitta Chairman, President, and Chief executive officer
ProductsPasta, Seafood, Salad, Sandwiches, Dessert; Merchandise[1]
ParentLandry's Restaurants
A neon-sign welcomes visitors to Rainforest Cafe, located inside the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets shopping complex in Auburn Hills, Michigan, on March 11, 2016.
An example of the canopy ceiling including artificial trees and foliage for the Rainforest Cafe at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 3, 2008.

Rainforest Cafe is a jungle-themed restaurant chain owned by Landry's, Inc., of Houston. The first location opened in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, on February 3, 1994. By 1997, the chain consisted of six restaurants, all in the United States. The first international location opened in London, England in June 1997. In 1998, it was planned to build 12 additional restaurants in the United States, seven in Mexico, and five in the UK, for a total of 22 restaurants by 2008.[2]

In 2000, the Rainforest Cafe was bought by Landry's Restaurants Inc., a company specializing in dining, hospitality, entertainment, and gaming, based in Houston, Texas.[3] To date, the company owns restaurants in the United States, Canada, France, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, and Malta. Rainforest Cafe focuses on local tourism for a majority of their income.[2]

Exterior of the Rainforest Cafe in Galveston, Texas, on June 11, 2010.


Each Rainforest Cafe restaurant is designed to depict the atmosphere of a tropical rainforest, including plant growth, fog machines, waterfalls, and rainforest animals. The ceiling and much of the walls are lined with artificial foliage, while lower areas and booth seating are decorated with faux rock. Brick textures suggest ancient ruins, and support pillars are made to look like tree trunks. Often, there is a waterfall with a fountain in the dining area, with a statue depicting Atlas holding up the Earth to communicate a conservation message. Paper Mache birds and butterflies are suspended from the trees, and other whimsical rainforest creatures are mounted, as though climbing on the walls or peeking through the foliage. The ceiling above the center of the dining room features a simulated starry night sky, designed and manufactured by Fiber Optic Systems Inc., located in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey.[4] The bar area is situated under a gigantic mushroom, partitioned from the rest of the restaurant by a rain curtain. The chain is known for its characteristic bar stools, made to resemble the legs of animals, designed and sculpted by the artist Glenn Carter.[5] Fish tanks, also known as aquariums with tropical reef fish are spread throughout the restaurant and the gift shop space. Periodically, a simulated thunderstorm will occur every few minutes, with strobe lights and thunder effects through subwoofers.

Rainforest Cafe at Disney's Animal Kingdom in September 2002.

Animatronic animals are spread throughout the restaurant. These include butterflies, elephants, gorillas, jaguars, orangutans, chimpanzees, macaws, monkeys and tigers, though this will vary by location. The restaurant is laid out so that these animals are set off the ground and are largely above diners' heads, not only allowing them to be seen from farther away, but making them appear larger as well. A crocodile and a python are often located in the gift shop area to attract the attention of passersby. Tracy Tree, an animated tree face, sits inside the shop and provides rainforest facts. The animals are manufactured by Russells Creative, LLC, of Apopka, Florida, formerly UCFab International.[6]

A retail village is located in front of the dining area with an assortment of souvenirs that are rainforest-themed or are branded with the Rainforest Cafe logo, mostly printed by the Atlanta-based fashion apparel company Boxercraft Inc.[7] A small water feature with the animatronic crocodile (A hippo in Nashville) is located just outside the shop, in which visitors are invited to toss coins.

Rainforest Cafe also has a set of eight animal mascots, called "The Wild Bunch". These characters include Cha! Cha!, the red-eyed tree frog; Maya, the jaguar; Rio, the macaw; Tuki, the elephant; Ozzie, the orangutan; Bamba, the gorilla; Iggy, the iguana; and Nile, the crocodile. These eight characters may be represented on children's menus, merchandise, or the company logo.[7]


Rainforest Cafe serves typical American chain restaurant fare, such as burgers, chicken, pastas, and seafood, with the addition of some Mexican food to reflect the tropical theme. Their signature dessert, called a volcano, consists of brownie and ice cream topped with a lit sparkler.[1]

The restaurant also serves alcoholic beverages, some of which are reminiscent of those associated with tiki culture such as the Mai Tai.


U.S. locations[edit]

International locations[edit]

Merchandise locations[edit]

Former locations[edit]


In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Rainforest Cafe". Landry's Inc. Landry's Inc. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Rainforest Cafe". The River Walk Guide. The San Antonio River Walk Guide. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  3. ^ "Landry's, Inc – Finding Success on All Fronts". Who We Are. Landry's Inc. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  4. ^ "Retail and Commercial Projects". Client List. Fiber Optic Systems, Inc. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  5. ^ "Bellevue sculptor goes down the rabbit hole". Idaho Mountain Express. 8 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Furry Creatures". UCFab International. UCFab International, LLC. Archived from the original on June 14, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ a b Cooper, Janice. "Rainforest Cafe - A Wild Experience". RateIt. RateIt. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Locations". Rainforest Cafe. Rainforest Cafe. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  9. ^ "Rainforest Café – MGM Grand Hotel & Casino". pennycollector.com. Archived from the original on 2016-02-16. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  10. ^ "Yorkdale Shopping Center – Rainforest Cafe". Pennycollector.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-20.
  11. ^ "Rainforest Cafe @ South Coast Plaza Mall". Pennycollector.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-19.
  12. ^ "Rainforest Cafe @ Oak Park Mall". Pennycollector.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-20.
  13. ^ "Rainforest Cafe @ Towson Town Center". Pennycollector.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-20.
  14. ^ "West Farms Mall – Rainforest Cafe". Pennycollector.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-20.
  15. ^ "Rainforest Cafe @ Franklin Mills Mall". Pennycollector.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-19.
  16. ^ "Westfield South Center Mall – Rainforest Cafe". Pennycollector.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-19.
  17. ^ "Mall of America – Rainforest Cafe". Pennycollector.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-19.
  18. ^ LaFratta, Kristin (December 20, 2018). "40 Massachusetts malls and shopping centers ranked from the worst to the best". MassLive. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  19. ^ Annemarie, Moody (July 28, 2009). "New Season of Curious George Teaches Preschoolers About Health and Fitness". Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  20. ^ McCormack, Olivia (2023-08-14). "He ate at 22 Margaritavilles — and learned the joy of Jimmy Buffett". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2023-08-19.
  21. ^ Stangland, Sean (July 7, 2022). "A YouTube gem goes to Gurnee and beyond: 18 Rainforest Cafes in 3 weeks". The Daily Herald. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  22. ^ "The Out-of-Touch Adults' Guide to Kid Culture: Why Are 'Gentleminions' Being Banned?". Lifehacker. 2022-07-08. Viral video of the week. Retrieved 2022-07-21.
  23. ^ Maxwell, Samantha (December 15, 2022). "Rainforest Cafe and the Enduring Appeal of Experiential Chain Restaurants". Thrillist. Retrieved December 16, 2022.

External links[edit]