Hurricane Wing Chain to Open 1st MN Location in Oct.

Hurricane Grill & Wings will enter the state this fall with the opening of a location in Burnsville-its first of more than a dozen planned Minnesota restaurants.

Hurricane Grill & Wings announced Wednesday that it will open its first Minnesota location in October, and it intends to open 16 more throughout the state in the coming years.

The West Palm Beach, Florida-based wing chain will make its metro-area debut in Burnsville, offering its signature chicken wings with more than 32 sauces and flavors.

The restaurant will be located at the intersection of Burnsville Parkway and Interstate 35W. It's one of a number of Hurricane restaurants that Willmar-based Torgerson Properties, Inc., plans to open throughout the southern third of Minnesota-an area that includes downtown Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and Twin Cities suburbs south of St. Cloud and west of the Mississippi River and Interstate 35E. The Hurricane franchisee owns and operates several hotels and restaurants throughout Minnesota and Florida.

“We saw a really great opportunity to expand Hurricane Grill & Wings to Minnesota,” Mitch Peterson, president of Torgerson, said in a statement. “Minnesota is full of wings fans.”

Tom Petska is a franchise area developer responsible for building 55 new Hurricane locations within four states and finding franchisees through a partnership agreement with Hurricane. He told Twin Cities Business in October that all 17 Minnesota locations would be up and running within eight years, but the precise locations of the remaining 16 franchises haven't yet been announced.

With plans to create a significant presence in Minnesota, an inevitable competition is in the works between Hurricane and Golden Valley-based Buffalo Wild Wings, which doesn't currently have a Burnsville location. But Petska said last fall that the two chains are differentiated enough that they'll be able to coexist.

While Buffalo Wild Wings is more of “a sports bar” that targets young adults, Hurricane is geared toward families and has a beach theme, he said. Although alcohol is available at Hurricane locations, it comprises only 15 percent of sales, he added.

With more than 830 locations and a market value that exceeds $1.1 billion, Buffalo Wild Wings is larger than Hurricane-which said last fall that it decided to expand “after seeing unprecedented growth throughout the year.”

Buffalo Wild Wings has also experienced significant growth in recent years. Its annual growth rate has hovered around 25 percent, and it made Fortune's 2011 list of the 100 fastest-growing companies. The company reported $784.5 million in 2011 revenue and opened its first restaurant in Canada in May of last year.

Since opening its first restaurant in 1995, Hurricane has grown to include more than 45 locations throughout Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania.