Robot chefs, no cash: Revolution Hall updates mall dining for our food- and drink-obsessed age

The waffle sandwiches at Honeycomb Waffles: worth traveling to the 'burbs for? (Photos by Stacy Brooks.)

The waffle sandwiches at Honeycomb Waffles: worth traveling to the 'burbs for? (Photos by Stacy Brooks.)

Mall dining conjures up a certain aesthetic: pretzels and cinnamon rolls, pans of orange chicken, hulking slices of greasy pepperoni pizza.

At Rosedale Center, that’s about to change. In the former Border’s, the new Revolution Hall updates mall dining for an era in which everyone’s a foodie and slinging up standard fast food just isn’t going to cut it.

“It’s fast-casual with a fine-dining background,” says Matt O’Neill, VP of culinary for Craveable Hospitality Group, the company behind the concept. Unlike your typical food hall or court, each of the 11 booths in this two-story, 32,000-square-foot hall is owned and operated by Craveable. This setup allows for efficiencies like a central commissary where ingredients are readied, and it gives the space a slick, cohesive design. “Everything is prepped from scratch.”

Want to check out this newfangled mall dining for yourself? You can: It opened Monday. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your visit.

5. There’s a strong East Coast influence.
Many booths are based on concepts that the NYC-based Craveable pioneered elsewhere. The burgers at Saltbrick utilize a salt-based dry aging process invented at a steakhouse; Neapolitan-style Caputo Pizzeria was inspired by Caputo Trattoria, the Italian restaurant at Connecticut’s Foxwoods Resort Casino. Canal Street Noodle Co. is named after a Manhattan thoroughfare, and Handwich Shop’s palm-sized sandwiches originated in New Jersey.

Then there’s the name—the “revolution” hearkens back to the founding fathers, with a motif that’s heavy on red, white, and blue and American flags.

Sushi bots

Sushi bots

4. But there are some Minnesota touches.
Although Craveable handled the food hall’s overall design, they did bring in Minnesota artists to add local flair. An adorable mural depicts a chopsticks-wielding Paul Bunyan and Babe slurping down a bowl of noodles, and the underside of the staircase is decorated with a collage-style mural of Prince and the Revolution concert posters. (They’re clever replicas, not the real thing—check out the name of the venue.)

In addition to Revolution Hall-branded swag, the gift shop is stocked with Minnesota-themed decor and locally made products like handcrafted greeting cards.

3. This is the food hall of the future.
Technology is threaded throughout the Revolution Hall experience. You can skip the line and order your food from a kiosk, and the entire operation is cash-free. No need for a skilled chef, even—the sushi at Oceantail Sushi and Sake Bar is rolled by a robot and then fed into another machine to be sliced. At Caputo Pizzeria, a dough sheeter produces perfect circles for the pies, which are then cooked in a rotating deck oven to ensure consistency.

2. It’s the sort of place where you want to linger.
Unlike the harsh, fluorescent-lit food courts of yesteryear, Revolution Hall is intended to be the sort of place where you settle in with a cup of coffee. The lower-level seating area has a Zen-like wooden wall lined with greenery-filled planters. The upper level has tables outfitted with power outlets, USB ports, and and reading lights.

1. There’s some food worth driving to the suburbs for.
Mostly, Revolution offers serviceable, crowd-pleasing versions of fast-casual standbys: a fancy burger, chicken tinga tacos, pad Thai, Neapolitan-style pizza, and Thanksgiving leftover-inspired turkey sandwiches. However, we were impressed with a few standouts.

The waffle sandwiches at Honeycomb Waffles are made with a sourdough that serves as the ideal foil for the crisp, richly flavored pickle-brined fried chicken. While the namesake item at PieCaken Bakeshop will get all the buzz—it’s hard to beat the viral appeal of a slice of cake stuffed with pie—don’t overlook the other items in the bakery case. There are whimsical confetti croissants filled with raspberry buttercream, savory everything biscuits, and our favorite: an oatmeal blueberry cookie big enough to split but too good to share.

Revolution Hall
1595 Hwy. 36 W., Roseville