St. Louis Park, Minnesota, United States
Opened November, 2018 in the space formerly occupied by Bonefish Grill.
This restaurant was the first sit-down-and-be-served restaurant opened by TV Star Andrew Zimmern.
Zimmern is perhaps best known to most people from his tv show, Bizarre Foods, which premiered on the Travel Channel with a pilot episode on November 1, 2006. The series has aired over 140 episodes, with Zimmern visiting dozens of countries and states.
Zimmern opened the Lucky Cricket with the stated intention to expand it out into a franchise across the midwest. His Pan-Asian Fusion menu seemed poised to offer a direct alternative to PF Chang's. The tiki bar and cocktail menu was intentionally an homage to Trader Vic's. Tiki mugs were supplied by Tiki Farm.
The main bar had a thatched-roof lined with tufted yellow swivel chairs, tiki pole supports, and two enormous tiki heads that housed frozen slushie machines. The main area had glass fish floats and fish traps hanging from the ceiling. There were also a couple of Thai tuk-tuks that you could sit in and eat your meals.
However, what started off so promising went south after Zimmern gave an interview with Fast Company where he discussed the restaurant... and drew controversy. He was accused of dismissing the contributions made by Asian American restaurants and eateries throughout the Midwest and of cultural appropriation. After opening, the restaurant received mixed reviews and struggled for a time, even shutting down at one point for a re-model (which included changing "Tiki Lounge" on the red entranceway outside to just "Lounge") a new menu change, new management, and new operating partner. How much of this poor reception stemmed from the previous bad press is hard to gauge, but as with many other restaurants, they were forced to close during the COVID epidemic in Summer 2020 and never re-opened.