Mohegan Sun To Open 15 Franchise Locations Of Pennsylvania Sports Bar

The Mohegan Tribe is getting into the franchise restaurant business, opening 15 new locations of a Pennsylvania sports bar across New England.

The tribe announced Friday its first franchise restaurant agreement with Arooga's Grille House and Sports Bar of Harrisburg, Pa. The first location will be next to Mohegan Sun on state Route 32, the Norwich-New London Turnpike, in Montville.

Mohegan Sun says it will open 15 locations in the next five years across New England as part of the franchise agreement.

"We are thrilled to bring this incredible sports bar concept to the New England area," Kevin Brown, chairman of the Mohegan Tribe, said in a statement. "Arooga's reputation for being the next great restaurant franchise is well-earned and we are privileged and pleased to have them as an important part of our organization."

Arooga's at Mohegan Sun will occupy 9,000 square feet with distinct restaurant and bar areas. It will have a large outdoor deck and fire pits. The restaurant is slated to have 100 big-screen televisions, and 40 domestic and craft beers on draft.

Arooga's Grille House & Sports Bar opened its first restaurant in July 2008 and has eight locations in central Pennsylvania. The restaurant is expanding into a national franchise.

The menu ranges from chicken wings and subs to gluten-free salad options. Salads tend to be around $10. For example, a cranberry-walnut-spinach salad is $8.59; a Pittsburgh Steak salad — steak on romaine lettuce with shredded carrots, red onions, cucumbers and other vegetables is $12.99.

The menu includes strombolis and flat-bread pizzas, including a Philly cheese steak pizza for $7.99.

Chicken wings are made with one of five rubs — for example, zesty ranch or chili lime. The long list of chicken wing sauces ranges from "The Ghost Face Killa," made with the scalding ghost chili pepper, to "Sissy," with a thinned sauce "for those who can't take the heat."

For the Mohegan Tribe, the foray into a restaurant franchise business is the most recent example of expanding beyond slot machines and table games as gambling revenues wane from new and expanded opportunities in other states.

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority has said in the past that it is concentrating on non-gaming revenues, such as its musical attractions and events at Mohegan Sun, to balance out sliding revenues in gaming.