MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Adding to its ever-growing number of eateries, the Mall of America introduced Zio Cucina & Bar Friday.

The Italian concept restaurant sits next to Burger Burger on the third level of South Avenue, the site of the former Kokomo’s Island Café.

Just outside of the food court near both a fast-casual burger and pizza place, Zio Cucina offers shoppers a traditional restaurant space complete with a bar and dining area. There are even patio seats for diners to people watch while enjoying polenta fries, mushroom caps or roasted beets.

Open for lunch, dinner and happy hours, Zio offers a collection of traditional Italian dishes influenced by American flavors.

An antipasti menu features three different types of bruschetta; a lemon ricotta and honey, a basil, tomato and avocado topped with garlic and balsamic and a pesto shrimp with tomatoes and Grana Padano.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Pastas range from the traditional, like fettucine alfredo, to original, like the cheese-stuffed tortellini with rotisserie chicken and spinach.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

For those who love a big flavor, try the Garganelli pasta. Garganelli in a tomato vodka sauce is paired with bread crumbs, Grana Padano cheese and thick pieces of salty, bold pancetta.

Zio also boasts a wood-fire pizza oven where chefs are delivering pies like the Bianca pizza, topped with mozzarella, Grana Padano, rosemary and a cream sauce.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

For those looking for a full meal, Zio’s has a robust entree menu, featuring dishes for every diner. And for dessert, Zio offers Italian favorites, among them a tiramisu, gelato and zeppole and a molten chocolate cake.

Zio Cucina is now open at the Mall of America.

Lunch runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Happy hour is from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3 to 5 p.m. Friday. Dinner begins at 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

For more information, visit Zio Cucina online.

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