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 Gov. 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,” says 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 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. 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. The restaurant expects to add 75 jobs to the region and scheduled to open by early March 2015.

The groundbreakng 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,” says 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. 

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