For the last 10 years, Vitali Logman has operated one restaurant – Vitali’s Bistro – in either St. Louis Park or downtown Minneapolis. This week he doubled his footprint when he opened Vitali’s Kitchen at Mall of America. The CRC certified-kosher restaurant’s first full day was on Father’s Day.
“This type of menu hasn’t been seen here at Mall of America,” said Logman. “We wanted to bring more flavors to the mosaic of the food court.”
The storefront Vitali’s occupies has long been the “kosher food” location at the mall. It had recently been Chickies, a Teaneck, N.J.-based, glatt-kosher fried chicken restaurant that has a location in the American Dream mega-mall, which shares an owner with MOA owner – Triple Five. Chickie’s opened in December 2020 but closed earlier this year. Prior to that was Earth Burger, a national vegan fast food chain.
Logman said he was approached by the mall’s owners to bring the business to the food court. His Minneapolis location, on the skyway level of the Hyatt Hotel at 13th and Nicollet, is still open.
“[A second restaurant] is not double the work,” Logman said. “With the right team and management, it can be achieved relatively efficiently. Proper training and planning help to achieve a smooth operation.”
Logman pointed out that his two locations couldn’t be more different. Being in a hotel and close to the Minneapolis Convention Center, his downtown business focuses on conference crowds, and people there for business meetings or events.
“Here, MOA is the attraction,” Logman said. “People come there to feel what the Twin Cities are famous for. It’s a place to see.”
Even with a long career in the kitchen, getting this new restaurant up and running isn’t an easy process.
“Opening a brand new restaurant feels like a totally different ballgame,” he said. “Learning, analyzing, making mistakes, and adjusting. We’re getting used to a new place, so even doing the same menu feels totally different. I was sort of expecting that, but it has taken a little longer than I was expecting.”