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Chain-loving Minnesota won't be complicit in the death of Applebee's

This iconic U of M Applebee's will keep feeding the uneasy visiting parents of students. Maybe forever!

This iconic U of M Applebee's will keep feeding the uneasy visiting parents of students. Maybe forever! Facebook

Millennials are killing Applebee's.

Industry analysts blamed the fast-casual-loving demographic last week as the restaurant chain announced plans to shutter around 135 of its 2,000 locations. Minnesota millennials get a pass, however.

All of our state's 50ish Applebee's locations will keep slingin' riblets for the foreseeable future, the regional corporate franchisee announced Monday. 

Further calm us, Greg Flynn, CEO of San Francisco-based Apple American Group.

"We, Apple American Group, a subsidiary of Flynn Restaurant Group, wanted to assure our valued guests and employees that this announcement in no way affects franchised Applebee’s locations that we own and operate." 

Very good, very good. 

Did Minnesota's basic-ass dining sensibilities save our cherished 'Bee's? Impossible to say, but, anecdotally, Twin Citians enthusiastically greeted the recent arrivals of chains like Tim Horton's, Dunkin' Donuts, Shake Shack, Portillo's, and Giordano's.

But back to Applebee's! The 36-year-old brand attempted to woo millennials, to no avail. 

"Over the past few years, the brand’s set out to reinvent Applebee’s as a modern bar and grill in overt pursuit of a more youthful and affluent demographic,” John Cywinski, president of Applebee’s, told analysts last week.

"In retrospect, we may have tried too hard to attract new guests," said Patrick Lenow, a spokesman for parent company DineEquity Inc. "That left some of our fans shaking their heads, asking ‘What happened to Applebee’s?'"

Wall Street is wondering, too. DineEquity -- which also owns IHOP -- has seen its stock value plummet since 2015. Perhaps it's time for a last-ditch, ironic rebrand.