Celebrity chefs, fine steaks, locally inspired seafood and a variety of fast-casual options are among the culinary highlights at MGM Springfield’s new $960 million casino and entertainment complex, which opens Aug. 24.
“When our doors open, guests will find a resort that blurs the line between food and entertainment, and we can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve been working on,” said Anthony Caratozzolo, MGM Springfield’s vice president of food and beverage. “We set out to design a destination where guests will feel comfortable, return frequently and be able to enjoy different amenities each time, from casual lunches to celebratory dinners.”
Here’s a short look at the restaurants you’ll find on site. Check back for a deeper dive once the casino opens.
Michael Mina’s restaurant is the headliner of MGM’s portfolio, described as “an Italian concept evoking the vibrant seaside elegance of Italy's Amalfi Coast.”
The San Francisco-based chef, 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. 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.
Cal Mare’s menu will celebrate “the best of coastal Italian cuisine while featuring bountiful East Coast ingredients.” The restaurant will feature a crudo raw bar, antipasti and small plates, fresh housemade pastas (egg yolk bucatini; agnolotti al ragu); whole roasted fish and wood-grilled meats, like a 20-day aged NY strip with lard-wrapped scallops. At the bar, diners will find craft cocktails, coastal Italian wines, an extensive list of amari and housemade limoncello.
The venue offers an open floor plan, with a bar, main dining room, open show kitchen and pizza counter, along with a private dining room and adjacent wine shop, where guests can order wines by the glass or bottle with specialty small bites.
The 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. Fans of Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” will recognize the name of the chef in charge: season 14 winner Meghan Gill.
“The Chandler will be a dining experience that is completely unique to the region yet still reflective of Springfield’s vibrant community,” Gill said in a press release. “Guests will have a chance to explore some of the best food this area has to offer in an eclectic, inviting space.”
The menu features fine steaks, including 21-day dry-aged cuts of Midwest Angus beef, with entrees prepared over an open mesquite charcoal broiler. Locally-sourced seafood dishes include fresh haddock; bone-in monkfish and traditional New England lobster thermidor.
The restaurant’s bar and lounge area promises a curated mixology program with creative libations, including a dirty martini program with seasonal veggies pickled and brined in-house, reimagined “steakhouse classic” cocktails like a cosmo with New England cranberries and Berkshire Mountain Distillers’ Ice Glen vodka and other signature drinks.
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.
Food options include New England-inspired menu items, like Rhode Island calamari and lobster grilled cheese, and hearty fare like beer cheese nachos, smoked brisket chili and the Armory burger, with crispy onion, bacon, cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce.
Signature drinks include a TAP Manhattan with Woodford Reserve bourbon and a Coconut Crush with Captain Morgan and Malibu rums, pineapple juice and orange juice. Beer taps feature local and regional selections from White Lion, Switchback, Amherst and Back East. TAP’s patio will showcase local brewery partners with beer garden activations throughout the year, according to a news release.
South End Market
The South End Market, off Main Street, will offer food-hall style dining, with several fast-casual selections. Among the choices: Wicked Noodles, a pan-Asian restaurant; Jack’s Lobster Shack, with fresh New England seafood like lobster rolls and clam chowder; all-American fare with “eclectic company” at Bill’s Diner and healthier options at the Hearth Grill. A wine and cheese bar offers small plates and local cheese and charcuterie boards, and guests can finish their meals with sweets at a gelato and espresso counter.
Nightlife and Mixology
Flashy presentations, eclectic flavor profiles and twists on classics mark MGM’s Vegas-style cocktail program featured at its three nightlife venues. Highlights:
At the Lobby Bar, the “epicenter” of MGM’s program, cocktails will feature an emphasis on gin, like the Fizzy Lifting Drink, a take on the classic Ramos gin fizz. Others will be served in quirky, offbeat glassware — a Chartreuse swizzle comes in a pipe-shaped glass with green chartreuse, fresh pineapple, fresh lime and flaming mint, and a Polar Espresso cocktail, made with aged rum, whipped cream, coffee liqueur and espresso arrives in a mini milk carton glass vessel rimmed with gold dust-infused cocoa powder.
The bar will also highlight partnerships with regional distilleries like Berkshire Mountain in Sheffield, Privateer Rum in Ipswich and Connecticut’s own Hartford Flavor Company.
Just hit the jackpot? At the Commonwealth Bar and Lounge, the Indian Sidecar cocktail has a five-figure sticker — but it also comes with wheels. The $25,000 libation, with 1901 single vintage Croizet cognac, Grand Marnier Quintessence, fresh lemon and a gold sugar rim, comes with a bottle of 1901 cognac — and an Indian Motorcycle. (The Commonwealth Sidecar cocktail with Hennessy XO cognac, sans bike, is only $25.)
Commonwealth will also offer a tableside drink cart, featuring multicultural takes on classic Old Fashioned recipes with Japanese and Canadian whiskeys as well as tequila. Weekends will feature entertainment and local DJs, and big screens for sporting events.
The Knox Bar gaming lounge, named for Henry Knox, who built the historic Springfield Armory, (and for whom Fort Knox is named) naturally features a “Gold Standard” cocktail, with vanilla-bean-infused vodka, coffee liqueur, espresso and heavy cream incorporating gold dust and a real gold coin with every order. A signature drink, the “First Impression,” is crafted with El Tesoro tequila, aloe vera, watermelon and lime, with a flower and black salt rim on the glass.
“We want this to be a place where visitors can experience something they’ve never had before, while also being able to order their favorite traditional cocktails,” said Craig Schoettler, MGM Resorts International’s corporate mixologist. “Our goal is for MGM Springfield to be the crown jewel of mixology in New England.”