After 16 years of serving food amid faux animals, greenery and falling water, the Rainforest Cafe at South Coast Plaza closed Sunday, a company executive confirmed.
"The mall decided not to renew our lease," Keith Beitler, Rainforest Cafe's chief operating officer and senior vice president, said in a prepared statement Monday. "And although we are sorry to go, we look forward to serving guests at our other two Southern California Rainforest Cafe locations, at Downtown Disney at Anaheim and Ontario Mills mall."
A new Chinese restaurant, Din Tai Fung, is scheduled to open early next year in the Rainforest Cafe's former space, said South Coast Plaza spokeswoman Debra Gunn Downing.
She said the restaurant, famous for its dumplings, will be one of about four locations in the United States. It will take up an 8,000-square-foot space — half of the 16,000 square feet used by Rainforest Cafe.
"We are so thrilled about it," Downing said.