by Don Church & Tony Schillaci
A fun-loving group of well-wishers and “parrot-heads” overcame the Monday morning blues on September 29, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at Mohegan Sun’s Casino of the Wind.
Invited guests, Tribal dignitaries and press were joined by a full house crowd of early lunch timers who joined John Cohlan, CEO of Margaritaville Holdings, in toasting the colorful new restaurant.
Craig Wilson, General Manager, Margaritaville, introduced speakers Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum, Chairman, Mohegan Tribe, who gave the blessing; Mitchell Etess, President & CEO, Mohegan Sun; and Chris Jennings, Mystic Coast & Country.
Mitchell called Mohegan Sun “true Parrot-Head country,” and Chairman Bruce “Two Dogs” said that the Porch of Indecision terrace, which overlooks the Thames River and the forest beyond, “is the first waterview dining that you can enjoy at Mohegan Sun – our ancestors hunted and fished here 100 years ago – this menu is a little better!”
Following the official opening ceremonies, guests toured the new two-level, marina-like restaurant. Margaritaville’s décor is accented by tiki huts, palm trees, sailboats and marine themes. Three booths represent fishing boats, and the island menu includes a Cheeseburger in Paradise, Jamaica Mistaica Wings, Calypso Mahi-Mahi, and Key Lime Pie.
The 16,000 square-foot restaurant and adjacent retail boutique features a concert stage and multiple bars. On an hourly cue, “a massive bottle of Margaritaville Tequila drops from the ceiling and drains into a ten-foot blender situated on the restaurant floor. It revs up and the world’s largest faux margarita is mixed on the spot,” according to publicist Mike Stommel.
As lunch was served, and the efficient staff effortlessly sailed through the new restaurant, The Resident chatted with Maynard Strickland, Tribal Elder and Justice, who felt that the grand opening was “a real success – a hit!” And, quoting Margaritaville’s GM, Craig Wilson, “It’s not just a restaurant, it’s a state of mind.” The Florida Keys are now permanently in the Casino of The Wind. Catch the wind, and sail on in!