There's plenty to eat and drink at MGM Springfield. We took a closer look at it all

Food and drink are part of the entertainment at MGM Springfield’s new $960 million casino complex, which opened with fanfare (and a literal parade) on Aug. 24. Whether it’s a salad prepared tableside, a blazing cocktail or 100 ounces of IPA flowing from a giant beer tower, MGM hopes to showcase unique experiences while aiming for culinary excellence.

“We have a very diverse portfolio; we have something for everybody,” says Anthony Caratozzolo, MGM Springfield’s vice president of food and beverage, at an August media preview prior to the casino’s official opening. “We’ve brought in the best of [our] best chefs — we want to put our best foot forward here in Massachusetts. We want people to feel something they don’t have anywhere else.”

MGM’s property features two fine-dining restaurants, a lively sports bar, a food hall-style market with six fast-casual eateries, and nightspots offering distinctive cocktails. Here’s a closer look at each destination.

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Cal Mare

At its headliner restaurant by celebrity chef Michael Mina, MGM offers a slice of the Amalfi Coast.

Mina, with a resume full of industry honors (James Beard Foundation “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage”; Gayot Restaurateur of the Year; Bon Appétit Chef of the Year) is collaborating with Adam Sobel, Thrillist’s San Francisco Chef of the Year in 2016, for the casino project. Cal Mare’s cuisine is inspired by Chef Sobel’s travels throughout Italy, visiting the regions of Lazio, Campania, Sicilia and Puglia, as well as the hillsides just outside of Rome.

“It’s all about transporting guests to a different place – with this, the lifestyle, the food, the way people dine in the southern part of Italy, that’s really what we emulate,” he said in August. “Lots of sharing, crudos, freshly pulled mozzarella, pizzas, handmade pasta, whole-grilled fish, pasture-raised meats, lots of vegetables. It’s all the stuff you really want to eat.”

Cal Mare’s menu features raw bar items like yellowfin tuna tartare and oysters, antipasti and salads, thin-crust brick oven pizzas for the table to share, fresh pastas like tagliatelle al nero with lobster, linguine with clams and saffron spaghetti with braised oxtail; and “classics” — a take on eggplant Parmesan, Duroc heritage pork chop, brick-pressed chicken and dry-aged Creekstone NY strip.

The wine list skews Italian, with classic cocktails (Negroni, Aperol Spritz) joining modern drinks like the Amalfi Flip (Alessio Bianco vermouth, yellow chartreuse, lime, agave, egg whites) and the Umbrella By The Road (Ford’s gin, Cocchi Rosa, orgeat, lime and soda). Limoncello is available in classic and Pugliese styles.

The venue offers an open floor plan, with a bar, main dining room and open show kitchen, along with a private dining room and adjacent wine shop. Though Cal Mare’s main dining room doesn’t open for lunch, its counter-service bar offers slices of thicker-crust pizzas, panini and cannoli for quick bites.

Cal Mare is open Sunday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m. The pizza counter is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. mgmspringfield.com/calmare.

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Chandler Steakhouse

The Chandler Steakhouse takes its name from its location in the former Union House Hotel, later renamed The Chandler Hotel, which was preserved as part of the casino resort’s development. The steakhouse presents timeless grandeur, with burgundy velvet booths and a crystal chandelier, and fans of Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” will recognize the name of the chef in charge: season 14 winner Meghan Gill.

Chandler’s menu offers chilled bar items (oysters, Maine lobster, shrimp cocktail), appetizers like steak tartare and roasted bone marrow to start. Entrees ($28 to $52) include caramelized scallops, pan-seared lemon sole, broiled Maine lobster thermidor and brick-pressed half chicken. Meats and seafood come from New England farms, fisheries and suppliers, Gill said.

The restaurant’s selection of steaks ($43 to $79) features dry-aged ribeye and NY strip, and a massive 32-ounce porterhouse, along with slow-roasted prime rib ($45.) Side dishes like potato puree, Gruyere creamed spinach and caramelized carrots are $12 apiece.

Chandler also employs old-school touches, like Caesar salad for two, prepared tableside.

“We are aiming to not just put food on the plate, but to really bring you in and entertain as an experience,” Gill said. “Dining should be an experience. It’s not just about the food, or the look of the room. It should make you feel something.”

Chandler’s stately bar shakes up a mix of “steakhouse classics” ($14 to $17) — think Manhattan, Lemon Drop, Sazerac — and signature drinks ($13 to $17), like the Main & Howard with Bulleit rye, Carpano Antica, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, orange and Angostura bitters, served in an applewood smoke-filled glass box. The Russ & Columbus, with Laird’s apple brandy, apple cider, grenadine and fresh lemon, is garnished with a stick of burnt cinnamon.

The Chandler Steakhouse is open Sunday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m. mgmspringfield.com/chandlersteakhouse.

TAP Sports Bar

The sports bar guarantees plenty of entertainment options, with a 10-lane bowling alley, arcade, HD TV screens and a gaming area with vintage video games, billiards, shuffleboard, air hockey and foosball. The menu is all about casual bar fare: fried pickles, wings, beer cheese nachos, giant pretzels with mustard and cheese for dipping, burgers and sandwiches and hearty entrees like BBQ ribs, fish and chips and steak frites. Food items are $7 to $26. (The same menu is also available at MGM’s Top Golf simulated golf experience suite.)

TAP offers 47 beers on draft (with a heavy emphasis on New England breweries) and more by the bottle, along with signature cocktails, like a TAP Manhattan with Woodford Reserve bourbon and a Coconut Crush with Captain Morgan and Malibu rums, pineapple juice and orange juice.

TAP Sports Bar is open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. mgmspringfield.com.

South End Market

Casual food-hall style dining offers lots of choice at the South End Market, with six different venues.

Pair a chef’s selection of regional cheeses or country pâté with wines by the glass at the Wine & Cheese Bar, which serves small plates and sandwiches ($5 to $18) in addition to cheese and charcuterie boards ($12 to $21.) Or have breakfast for dinner at Bill’s Diner, with pancakes and French toast offered alongside cheeseburgers, a turkey BLTA and crispy chicken sandwich ($5 to $9.) Bill’s late-night menu, available from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., includes a chicken tender basket, chicken Caesar salad and bacon, egg and cheese sandwich ($7 to $9.)

Wicked Noodles’ pan-Asian menu features crispy pork gyoza, chicken pho, veggie lo mein, dan dan noodles, pad Thai and Mongolian beef ($4 to $13) and Hearth Grill’s hearty, healthy options include protein dishes like pork loin with cranberries, salmon and rotisserie chicken with sides, soups and salads (charred cauliflower, beef brisket chili, broccolini salad.) Meals are $9 to $12.50; soups, salads and sides are $3.50 to $6.

Naturally, a New England casino needs a seafood spot, and the market’s Jack’s Lobster Shack fits the bill, with lobster rolls in both hot and cold preparations ($16); fish and chips ($12), New England clam chowder and lobster bisque ($5, $6) and sides of coleslaw, French fries and onion rings. End your meal on a sweet note at the Gelato and Espresso counter.

Hours vary by location. mgmspringfield.com/southendmarket.

Commonwealth Bar and Lounge

Commonwealth is a “multi-concept venue, within its own venue,” said Craig Schoettler, MGM’s corporate mixologist. “In the daytime, it’s more laid back, it’s a meeting place, then it sort of transforms into a more loungy, entertainment, DJ nightlife venue. If you wanted to go to the ‘club’ at the property, this is where you would go.”

This is where you’ll find the $25,000 Indian Sidecar cocktail, with a side of wheels. The five-figure libation, with 1901 single vintage Croizet cognac, Grand Marnier Quintessence, fresh lemon and a gold sugar rim, comes with an Indian Motorcycle, a nod to Springfield’s iconic company, founded in 1901. (The price tag on the Commonwealth Sidecar cocktail with Hennessy XO cognac, sans bike, has three fewer zeroes.)

“We wanted that kind of a ‘wow’ factor — we’re a Vegas company, how do we do it big?” Schoettler said of the promotion.

Other craft cocktails ($16 to $20) include the Desliza a la Derecha, with El Tesoro platinum tequila, grilled pineapple, fresh lime and mint, and the #FakeNews, with Russian vodka, spiced pear liqueur, lemon, orange and a cinnamon sugar rim.

The same drink menu is also available at Knox Bar, across from Commonwealth, with high-limit slots and table games near the bar and video poker in the bar itself.

Commonwealth Bar & Lounge is open daily from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. mgmspringfield.com/commonwealth.

Kringle Emporium

The Kringle Emporium, located outside on the Plaza, is an olfactory delight, and not just because of its array of upscale candle products. Kringle Candle’s flagship store in Bernardston, Mass. features an on-site restaurant, The Farm Table, with “internationally-nuanced New American cuisine,” and Kringle’s leaders wanted to replicate some type of food experience at its Springfield outpost.

At the MGM store, shoppers can sniff their way through candle scents like pumpkin cider donut and blueberry muffin, then order a real pastry at its food counter, like maple carrot cake, brown butter financier or a hazelnut pumpkin mousse bombe. Other food options include breakfast items (bagels and egg sandwiches, $4 to $6.75) and panini with chicken, turkey and ham ($12). But the decadent adult milkshakes are the stars here, in flavors like Go Bananas (Cruzan banana rum, Rumchata, coconut ice cream, fresh banana and toasted coconut) and S’mores or Nothing (chocolate vodka, chocolate ice cream, toasted marshmallow and graham cracker.) Shakes are $14; $12 without alcohol.

Kringle Emporium is open Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. mgmspringfield.com.

Lobby Bar

The cozy nook in MGM’s hotel lobby, with comfortable leather seating and a fireplace, features whimsical craft cocktails ($12 to $16) with literary themes: the Fizzy Lifting Drink, a take on a Ramos gin fizz with egg white and cream; the Tequila Mockingbird with Fortaleza Blanco, strawberry and Dolin dry vermouth and the Fahrenheit 451, with green chartreuse, fresh lime and pineapple finished off with chartreuse-soaked mint leaves set aflame. A Peter Cottontail cocktail, with Berkshire Mountain’s Ice Glen vodka, St. Germain and fresh lime, is poured over fluffy cotton candy, which then melts into the glass to add color and sweetness. Meticulously hand-drawn diagrams of each drink may have you poring over the menu a little longer.

Lobby Bar is open Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to midnight and Saturday and Sunday, noon to midnight. mgmspringfield.com.

Regal Cinemas

Luxurious recliner seats already elevate the movie-going experience at Regal, but the menu also goes well beyond popcorn and soda. Regal’s full bar offers a dozen craft beers (with recent New England features like Wormtown, Two Roads and Harpoon) and cocktails like spiked lemonades with Effen vodka, mojitos, margaritas, sangrias and mules. Food items range from classics like hot dogs and nachos to heartier fare: street tacos, “stonefire” pizzas, an Italian bacon chicken sandwich, pretzel sticks with cheese sauce and spicy mustard, cheeseburgers with waffle fries and rich desserts. Food items are $4.99 to $14.99; drinks are $5 to $9.99.

Find showtimes at mgmspringfield.com.

MGM Springfield is at One MGM Way in Springfield. Information: 413-273-5000, mgmspringfield.com.

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