What do Acapulco, Bahrain and Kuala Lumpur have that Salt Lake City doesn't? A Hard Rock Cafe.
But not for long. Trolley Square has confirmed rumors circulating for months that the world-famous restaurant chain will open this summer in the 12,115 square feet of space on the shopping center's south side formerly occupied by Green Street Social Club.In turn, Green Street is now renovating space on the west end of the square's middle building that was formerly Cafe Central and is expected to open late next month in the new and larger location.
Nabbing the ultra-hip Hard Rock Cafe was quite a coup for Trolley Square, says Jeanie Van Amen, marketing director for the city's "festival marketplace." Many believe that a city hasn't "arrived" until Hard Rock comes to town.
"We've always wanted them. Hard Rock is the most recognized logo in the world," said Van Amen. "It's so great to get them because Salt Lake is not considered a `first tier' city."
First tier or not, Salt Lake will now join 85 other cities with Hard Rock Cafes in 29 countries, from Aspen to Antwerp and Bali to Bangkok.
Hard Rock is the best known of four new tenants coming to the square. Pottery Barn, known to Utahns from its extensive catalog sales, will open in early summer in the middle building next to the new Eddie Bauer Store.
Restoration Hardware, a home design store, is scheduled to open by fall in the old Flick movie theater space in the center of the north building.
Rodizio Grill, a restaurant featuring Brazilian cuisine, is scheduled for a midsummer opening on the second level, east side, of the main building.
Doug O'Brien, square general manager, said the new tenants - along with several others that have recently opened, including Urban Chic, Sally Huss Gallery and Thomas Kinkade Gallery - will bring the occupancy of the square's 250,000 square feet to more than 90 percent.
O'Brien said he has been working to reposition Trolley Square from an entertainment center to a "lifestyle" center, although entertainment will still play a big part.
Commenting on Hard Rock Cafe coming to town, Van Amen said the success of the Utah Jazz in drawing national attention to Salt Lake City, along with the city's success in getting the 2002 Winter Olympics, undoubtedly influenced Hard Rock management to finally come to Utah.
The original Hard Rock Cafe was founded in London in 1971 by two young Americans, Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton. The model for the cafe was a southern truck stop diner that would afford Londoners a taste of real American food and culture.
The first day, only 12 customers showed up, but soon it became the hottest spot in town as their "Love All - Serve All" motto caught on. Soon, people were standing in line to get in and the Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt became a major status symbol.
The next cafe didn't open until 1982, in Los Angeles, but since then growth has been rapid worldwide. The restaurants are owned and operated both by the corporation, based in Orlando, Fla., and by franchisees. There are also corporate offices in London and Los Angeles.