Sometimes (rarely) it happens that Slingshot launcher is neither accessible by shortkey or by clicking Applications on panel.
How to force it to restart without logging off?
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The parts of the desktop like Gala (the window manager), Wingpanel, Plank (the dock), and Slingshot (the apps menu) are automatically restarted by a process called Cerbere.
You'll only need to end the process for Slingshot and Cerbere will automatically restart it. You can do this in Terminal (shortcut: ⌘ + T) with:
The process that Cerbere keeps running in background is
slingshot-launcher --silent so I guess that command might do the trick.