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January 1st, 2013Quirky Kiosk Restaurants Drawing in Mall Shoppers

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by Kathleen Pierce

Natick, MA - Outside the Apple Store, plates of salmon nigiri and seaweed salad glide by.

The sushi has nothing to do with the newest product from Apple but rather the latest food trend at the mall. Shoppers, loaded with bags, pause and line up for a table at conveyor-belt sushi hotspot Wasabi. For over a year, the restaurant in the middle of the Natick Mall has been an “absolute madhouse,” said general manager Jeffrey Miller, who sells 5,000 plates of sushi on a typical Saturday.

Goodbye, Orange Julius. From Wasabi to Pinkberry in Boston’s Prudential Center, mall restaurants are becoming untethered from the food court. As traditional malls strive to compete with trendy lifestyle centers and the appeal of online shopping, they are rethinking the way they serve food.

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