story & photos
by Alexis Ann
On a sunny Tuesday in Uncasville, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy joined Kevin Brown (Red Eagle), Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, and other dignitaries to break ground for the Tribe’s first Arooga’s Grille and Sports Bar restaurant.
To become part of an established franchise chain, the Connecticut Arooga’s will be located on Tribal land on the Norwich-New London Turnpike, near Mohegan Sun. It will be the first Arooga’s in New England.
“The Tribe’s franchise agreement with Arooga’s is part of a well-considered diversification effort,” said Chairman Kevin. “Any good portfolio is diversified, and the Mohegan Tribe will continue to thrive through a range of businesses outside of gaming. We break ground for this first of many Arooga’s in New England, with a strong business plan, and a new business partnership that will bring jobs and generate revenue in the region for years to come.”
The new, 9,000 square-foot restaurant is expected is expected to open next March. It will include more than 100 television screens, a collection of sports memorabilia, a three-season dining patio equipped with fire pits, and a tap room with up to 40 domestic and craft beers. Contracted for construction is A/Z Corporation of Ledyard.
“When we started Arooga’s back in 2008, we founded it on one simple principle: give customers what they want and they will be back,” said Gary Huether, Jr., one of Arooga’s founders. “When we began franchising, we established that we would be very selective in choosing our franchise partners since we knew they would be stewards of our brand. We could not have imagined having a better partner than the Mohegan Tribe.”
Arooga’s Grille House & Sports Bar currently operates eight corporate locations in Central Pennsylvania. The chain is known for its prize-winning Buffalo Wings.
“The Mohegan Tribe are smart, hardworking, successful casino operators,” said Gov. Malloy. “They are truthful and energetic and they keep their promises. Thank you for entering into this relationship that will bring jobs to the region. Thank you for all you have done for the State of Connecticut.” Then he chuckled, “I’m a wings guy myself.”