Arooga's & Mohegan Tribe Break Ground for First of 15 New England Restaurants
Connecticut Governor Dannell Malloy & Chairman of the Tribal Council Kevin Brown Join Arooga's President and Co-Founder Gary Huether, Jr., Co-Founder Mike Murphy and Franchise Sales Head Keith Swade
July 25, 2014 // Franchising.com // Mohegan Tribal Nation – Arooga's Franchising, LLC and The Mohegan Tribe, who announced a franchise agreement in May, broke ground in Uncasville, Connecticut yesterday on the first of 15 planned Arooga's Grille House and Sports Bar restaurants in New England.
President and Co-Founder of Arooga's Gary Huether, Jr., Arooga's Co-Founder Mike Murphy, head of Arooga's Franchise Development Keith Swade and other Arooga's team members joined Kevin Brown "Red Eagle," Chairman of the Tribal Council, as they welcomed Governor Dannell Malloy and other state and local officials to the future site of the restaurant which will be located on the Norwich-New London Turnpike, adjacent to Mohegan Sun.
"When we started Aroogas back in 2008 we founded it on one simple principle: give customers what they want and they will be back," said Huether, Jr. "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."
The 9,000 square-foot Uncasville restaurant is expected to include 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. Opening is targeted for early March of 2015. A/Z Corporation of Ledyard has been contracted for construction; architects on the project are FRCH Design Worldwide of Cincinnati, OH. The restaurant expects to add 75 jobs to the region and is scheduled to open by early March 2015.
Yesterday's event was held under a pavilion set up at the restaurant's future site, and featured samples of Arooga's award-winning cuisine.
"Thank you for the tent," said Gov. Malloy, who noted that he had been to two other events in the state without any shade earlier on the humid, 80-plus-degree day. "You couldn't have picked a better partner than the Mohegan Tribe."
"The Tribe's franchise agreement with Arooga's is part of a well-considered diversification effort. Any good portfolio is diversified, and the Mohegan Tribe will continue to thrive through a range of businesses outside of gaming," said Chairman Brown. "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."
Continued Gov. Malloy, on the franchising agreement and its impact on the region: "The Mohegan Tribe are smart, hardworking, successful casino operators. They are truthful and energetic and they keep their promises. Thank you for entering into this relationship that will bring jobs to the region," he said. "Thank you for all you have done for the state of Connecticut. I'm a wings guy myself," the governor said laughing.
Arooga's groundbreaking happens at a time when the brand is on an undeniable and impressive roll. Arooga's celebrates its 6th anniversary at its original location on Route 22 beginning Friday, July 25 with a weekend full of events. Since Arooga's opened its first restaurant in 2008, it has been an industry darling and ahead of the curve in all aspects of its business, evidenced by its selection as America's Next Top Restaurant Franchise, beating more than 250 entrants from 36 states in a program co-sponsored by Sysco Foods and The Franchise Edge in a nationwide search to find an independent restaurant to become the next great franchise.
In addition to winning top honors in the National Buffalo Wing festival for the past five years, Arooga's recently received a 2014 "Best of Harrisburg" Business Hall of Fame honor as an award recipient for six consecutive years, in as many years of eligibility. Arooga's also won the most categories in the annual Reader Favorites list, including Best Bar Food, Best Burger, Best Casual Date Spot, Best Happy Hour Spot, Best Neighborhood Bar and Best Wings. Staying true to its roots, Arooga's will open another Central Pennsylvania location in September, in Shippensburg.
Arooga's Grille House & Sports Bar is an innovative full-service casual restaurant and bar with a sports and entertainment focus that combines exceptional food and beverages, with unique concepts, and proprietary operational strategies. Arooga's Grille House & Sports Bar was founded in July 2008, and currently operates eight corporate locations in Central Pennsylvania. Now, its founders are taking the "unique sports and entertainment restaurant & bar" concept national and are offering franchising opportunities to qualified single and multi-unit candidates. For more information, visit www.aroogas.com.
DFPR for Arooga's